Beef chow fun(pan-fried flat rice noodles) is one of my favorite Cantonese dishes. It is considered as a snack or sometimes a staple food and one of the most basic Cantonese he fun dishes. The ingredient–flat rice noodle is named as “河粉” HeFun in China. Sometimes you may find it spelled as Hor Fun, He Fen or Ho Fun. It is a kind of flat and wide rice noodles  in southern china especially in Guangdong province. Either served in stir fry recipes or soup recipes. I fall I love it when I firstly had a small bowl of ho fun soup. And this stir fry ho fun with beef, onion, bean sprout and Chinese chives.It belongs to those 15 minutes that can totally win my heart.

beef chow fun-pan fried rice noodles

Then for the beef chow fun, let’s take a look at the ingredients. As I am living in Guangdong province, I can purchase fresh ho fun easily at market. You can also used dried flat rice noodles and re-soak until soft before frying.

Beef chow fun

The most difficult part of this dish is to make a tender taste of the beef and make sure that you do not break the hefen during the process. After stir frying, there should be more extra sauce in the pan. That’s why this dish is called as 干炒牛河 in Chinese meaning dry fried rice noodles with beef. In order to keep the beef a tender taste, firstly after slicing, garnish some water or Chinese cooking wine with the beef and then grasp well, letting them absorb enough water and then add light soy sauce, salt, oyster sauce, and sesame oil and starch to marinade for around 15 minutes.

There are fresh rice noodles and dried ones. If you cannot find fresh ones, pre-soak the dried ones according to the instructions. Fresh wide rice noodle usually is available in package and sometimes they may stick with each other. Do separate them before frying.

Firstly heat up oil in wok and stir-fry the beef. Transfer it out as long as the color changes.

beef chow fun-pan fried rice noodles

Then all the oil should be poured out,clean your pan or wok. We need a clean and dry pan for later frying process.  Add oil and then add shredded onions and rice noodles to cook. Stir in stir fry sauce quickly.

Tips: do not use slice to fry the noodles, recommended tool should be chopsticks. Toss your pan with one hand and then use another hand to fold chopstickers and help turn over the rice noodles gently. 

beef chow fun-pan fried rice noodles

Return beef slices and add bean sprout to fry for around 30 seconds. Then add Chinese chive section or scallion to fry for another 30 seconds.

beef chow fun-pan fried rice noodles

Here we are! Enjoy!

beef chow fun-pan fried rice noodles

beef chow fun-pan fried rice noodles

Beef Chow Fun

Beef Chow Fun---Beef stir-fried with rice noodle, bean sprouts, spring onions and Chinese chives is a famous Cantonese dish.
4.72 from 14 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Breakfast, staple food
Cuisine: Cantonese
Keyword: Beef, Chow Fun
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 2
Calories: 1228kcal
Author: Elaine


  • 1/2 pound beef
  • 1 pound wide rice noodle , ho fen
  • 1 small bunch of Chinese chive or scallion , cut into sections around 10cm long
  • 1 small bunch of bean sprouts
  • 1/4 middle size white onion , shredded

Marinade sauce

  • 1 tablespoon Chinese cooking wine or water
  • 1 teaspoon light soy sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon starch

Stir fry sauce

  • 1/2 tablespoon light soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon dark soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar


  • Cut beef into thin slices, put into a bowl. And then add all of ingredients for marinade sauce. Stir until well combined and set aside for around 15 minutes.
  • Heat up cooking oil in wok. Add beef slices in to cook around half minute or just until the color of beef slices changes. Transfer the beef slices out and also pour the oil out. Clean your pan or wok.
  • Heat up around 1 and 1/2 tablespoons cooking oil, add rice noodle and onion shreds and straight after that stir in the stir fry sauce. Keep tossing your pan or wok until the noodles are well coated with the sauce.
  • Return beef slices and bean sprouts to fry for another half minutes. Keep tossing your pan.
  • Add Chinese chives or scallion to fry for another 30 seconds.
  • Serve hot!


I do not add salt in my stir fry sauce since my soy sauce contains salt. Do add some according to taste and the brand of soy sauce.
Newly updated recipe on Nov. 2014.


Calories: 1228kcal | Carbohydrates: 196g | Protein: 29g | Fat: 33g | Saturated Fat: 15g | Cholesterol: 80mg | Sodium: 1906mg | Potassium: 436mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 325IU | Vitamin C: 5.8mg | Calcium: 68mg | Iron: 4mg

beef chow fun-pan fried rice noodles

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  1. 5 stars
    Hi Elaine,

    With beef and soy bean sprouts in my fridge I was desperately looking for some recipe using those and not much else. Well I found this. And while it didn’t look as pretty as in your photos, but rather a bit brownish it sure tasted great.

    I used Vietnamese rice noodles of the kind that is used for Phở or Pad Thai, because that’s what I had available. It worked quite well even though the ones you use seem to be a little bit thicker.

    Thanks a lot for this recipe, I’ll make this again – with the right type of noodles if I manage to find them.

  2. Tried salmon filet chunks (not thin) instead of beef. Sauté the fish gently in the marinade until slightly done.
    Do not overcook the fish.
    Little or no salt necessary.

    Tasty and healthful.

    1. Alex,
      I meaning add some water to the beef and stir until the beef absorbs the water or rice wine. This step helps to make the beef slices juicy and tender after cooked.

  3. 5 stars
    This is one of the most traditional recipies I have found. The preparing of the beef and the smell of the cooking wine reminds me of when I was a kid watching my parents cook it.
    A must was to eat it with Chille Sauce, like Saracha but with out all those seasonings.

    1. Agree with the chili sauce opinion. In my hometown, this dish is customized with chili sauces and they are quite delicious too. But cantonese version do not call any types of chili sauces.

  4. Just got done making this recipe, and I used a dry wide rice noodle. I cooked per the package instructions (5-6 mins in boiling water and then rinse in cold water) and then added the noodles when called for in the recipe. The noodles seem really starchy and the flavor of the noodle is very bland. Also, there is no left over sauce as the write up described, The beef is great, just the noodles are off a bit. Any idea where I may have gone wrong?


    1. Mark,
      I believe that your rice noodles are of low quality. High quality rice noodles never get starchy. Starchy noodles cannot be well flavored. So the only solution is to try noodles from another brand.

    2. Mark,

      Elaine’s dish is the dry-fried chow fun. There shouldn’t be (much) sauce left after stir-frying. I think it’s a typo in Elaine’s text. N.B. When using dry noodles you normally add some water to the stir-fry sauce. Hope this helps (after more than a year….).

  5. Hi,

    I am looking forward to making this tonight. My husband loves noodles!

    One question, do you soak the noodles first to soften them or do they go in the pan as is? I have had trouble in the past with rice noodles and getting them to soften.

    Thank you!

    1. Allie,
      I use fresh ho fun noodles, so there is no need to soak it. If you use dried noodles, follow the instructions on the package.