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Ow Ho Fun: Beef Fried Rice Noodles

Delicious noodle stir fry infused with the smokiness of a red hot wok

Our family is quite fond of travelling together. We always have fun, even if there are a few arguments along the way!

Most recently, the rest of the family travelled to the other side of the world to attend Amy’s PhD graduation in Cambridge. Then we took Mum and Dad to see some famous European sites, the kind of iconic scenes that had always just been the stuff of TV and books for us.

Without doubt, the Coliseum, Eiffel Tower, and Notre Dame were awesome sights. Nevertheless, one thing became very clear throughout our trip: when the Zhangs travel, they travel for food.

It didn’t matter how stunning a place was (read: the Hall of Mirrors!), it just wasn’t a *great* day until we had a great feed too!

Luckily we had plenty of Portuguese tarts, pastas, and crepês to keep us pretty happy 🙂

We love experiencing new places through food, because food is a special part of many cultures.

We definitely consider food to be one of the defining characteristics of the Chinese culture. Whenever we spend time in Guangzhou, it is *all* about the food. If you don’t come back from GZ a few kilos heavier, you’re just not doing GZ right!

It was during one of these family trips to GZ in 1998 that Ho Fun was cemented in our minds as a straight-off-the-wok classic.

In GZ the (Cantonese) culinary world is at your feet, with enough Yum Cha, bakeries, and famous hotel restaurants to make us giddy. Yet it is a tiny ramshackle restaurant near our uncle’s old apartment that wins our custom time and time again. There’s absolutely nothing fancy about this place, just a few mismatched tables and chairs along the street with a roaring hot kitchen inside. Their signature dish is ho fun: flat rice noodles wok fried with bean sprouts and spring onions. Add tender beef strips and you’ve got Ow Ho, where ‘ow’ literally means cow.

And what about the ‘Ho’?

Ho Fun, aka Shahe Fun are the noodles themselves, named for the region in Guangdong where they originate from. ‘Fun’ refers to rice noodles, while Shahe/Ho is the region. In contrast, egg and gluten-based noodles are called ‘mein’, as in chow mein, where chow means wok-fried.

Although we can’t promise you that our ow ho dish will taste quite as spectacular as the noodles produced in the ramshackle restaurant, we reckon that this recipe still makes for a very tasty and quick supper.

Serves
2
Ingredients

100g sirloin beef, sliced
300g dried shahe/ho fun rice noodles
2 cups bean sprouts
6 spring onions, sliced into 3cm pieces

For the marinade
1 tsp diced ginger
1/8 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/4 tsp cornflour
1 tsp water
1/4 tsp light soy sauce
1/8 tsp salt
1/4 tsp sugar
1/8 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp oil

Pre-mix seasoning
1 tbsp dark soy sauce
1 tbsp water
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp white pepper

 

Our family is quite fond of travelling together. We always have fun, even if there are a few arguments along the way!

Most recently, the rest of the family travelled to the other side of the world to attend Amy’s PhD graduation in Cambridge. Then we took Mum and Dad to see some famous European sites, the kind of iconic scenes that had always just been the stuff of TV and books for us.

Without doubt, the Coliseum, Eiffel Tower, and Notre Dame were awesome sights. Nevertheless, one thing became very clear throughout our trip: when the Zhangs travel, they travel for food.

It didn’t matter how stunning a place was (read: the Hall of Mirrors!), it just wasn’t a *great* day until we had a great feed too!

Luckily we had plenty of Portuguese tarts, pastas, and crepês to keep us pretty happy 🙂

We love experiencing new places through food, because food is a special part of many cultures.

We definitely consider food to be one of the defining characteristics of the Chinese culture. Whenever we spend time in Guangzhou, it is *all* about the food. If you don’t come back from GZ a few kilos heavier, you’re just not doing GZ right!

It was during one of these family trips to GZ in 1998 that Ho Fun was cemented in our minds as a straight-off-the-wok classic.

In GZ the (Cantonese) culinary world is at your feet, with enough Yum Cha, bakeries, and famous hotel restaurants to make us giddy. Yet it is a tiny ramshackle restaurant near our uncle’s old apartment that wins our custom time and time again. There’s absolutely nothing fancy about this place, just a few mismatched tables and chairs along the street with a roaring hot kitchen inside. Their signature dish is ho fun: flat rice noodles wok fried with bean sprouts and spring onions. Add tender beef strips and you’ve got Ow Ho, where ‘ow’ literally means cow.

And what about the ‘Ho’?

Ho Fun, aka Shahe Fun are the noodles themselves, named for the region in Guangdong where they originate from. ‘Fun’ refers to rice noodles, while Shahe/Ho is the region. In contrast, egg and gluten-based noodles are called ‘mein’, as in chow mein, where chow means wok-fried.

Although we can’t promise you that our ow ho dish will taste quite as spectacular as the noodles produced in the ramshackle restaurant, we reckon that this recipe still makes for a very tasty and quick supper.

GET THE METHOD →

Combine the beef with the marinade ingredients. Cover and set aside to marinate for at least 20 minutes (half an hour is great!).
Prepare the noodles by rinsing in cold water to remove some of the starch. This will help stop the noodles from sticking together. Add boiling water and soak for 10 minutes, then drain. The noodles should have softened, but still have bite.
OUR
TIP!
You might be tempted to leave them for longer, but it is better to have slightly harder noodles at the outset. You can always add water to hard noodles during cooking, whereas overly soft noodles will break up in the wok.
Heat the work over a high heat and when it starts to smoke, add a small glug of oil. Add beef strips and toss. It should only take a minute or so for the the meat to cook through with a slightly golden crust on the outside. Remove the beef and set aside.
OUR
TIP!
There’s a key feature that makes ho fun so darn good. ‘Wok hei‘ is a special flavour that is imparted onto the dish by cooking at a very high heat, and very quickly. The result is a slightly smoky, slightly charred fragrance and taste.

To achieve wok hei, your wok needs to be non-coated. Woks with a non-stick coating won’t work as well, because part of the flavour comes from the metal of the wok. It’s even better if you have a wok that you’ve cooked on loads before. A properly seasoned wok won’t stick, you’ll get some rad tossing action, and you’ll impart that wok hei like a pro!

But fear not – you can still make a mean ho fun with a non-stick frying pan too. Just make sure the pan is screaming hot at each stage of the cooking.
Get the wok super-hot once again. Add oil and bean sprouts. Stir fry for 45s.
Add the softened ho fun and the premix seasoning. Toss for one minute. Check if the noodles are soft enough. If they’re a little hard for your liking, add a small splash of water and keep tossing.
When the colour of the dark soy has coated all of the lovely noodles, add in the cooked beef strips and chopped spring onions. Give the noodles one last toss…or a few more tosses if you like, because it’s rather fun ;) To serve, pile the noodles onto plates. Add soy chilli if you dare!
OUR
TIP!
To clean your wok, simply use a dish brush and warm water. Keep the detergent at bay, as it can remove the important layers of ‘seasoning’ that have built up over successive uses of the wok.

If you’re using a carbon steel wok like ours, you’ll want to dry it off quickly with a paper towel before adding a bit of oil and spreading it out across the entire inner surface. This will prevent it from getting all rusty!
  • Jim

    Please forget my prior comment, It was my own radio … sorry.

  • thanks for the recipe and the adorable video. You guys are so cute!

    • Hi Sunny, glad to hear that you like it! Let us know if you try it 🙂 A&Jx

  • Senan Lee

    Another brilliant recipes ladies. Do you know how to make the prawn Chow Ho Fun? It has that wet smokey translucent sauce with the ho fun,straw mushrooms, prawn and pak choi? It’s my family’s favourite dish and we’ve never been able to re-create the sauce.

    • Sorry for not getting back to you sooner! We don’t usually make a prawn version but the smokiness you describe sounds divine…we’ll have a look into it 🙂

  • Hey guys, love all your videos. Great recepies. Made a few already. This is a random question but whats the background music? Pls, let me know.
    Thank you
    Take care
    Regards natasha

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  • Beth

    Used the above recipe to make this tonight. Something was off but I follow the recipe with the correct ingredients. Are ginger and/garlic used in the video of this recipe but not in the ingredients list above? I was so disappointed, it is ok but something was off. In reviewing I see ginger is definitely not in the ingredients list above but it is shown in the video.

    • Hi Beth, you’re absolutely right – the written recipe was missing the ginger! So sorry for that. Thanks for bringing it to our attention and we’ve updated the recipe. Really hope you give it a go again! You can always add even more of the ginger if you like that flavour 🙂

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