Penang Char Hor Fun Recipe (炒河粉)
May 29th, 2007 67 Comments

Penang Char Hor Fun Recipe (炒河粉)

Penang Char Ho Fun (炒河粉)
Penang Char Ho Fun (炒河粉) pictures (3 of 9)

There is a saying or myth in Penang about Char Hor Fun (炒河粉)–one that is only Penang’s I am sure–if you are a bachelor and would like to win the heart of your girlfriend, you would seek out the best Char Hor Fun in town and make sure you take your girlfriend there, if possible, frequently. And if you wanted to win the hearts of your future parents-in-laws, you would be smart enough to “ta pau” (take out) for them, too.

When I was little, my sisters’ boyfriends (now my brothers-in-law) would religiously pack Char Hor Fun for my parents. Being the youngest in the family, my parents would share the “bribe” with me, and that was how I started my love affair with this delicacy…

Char Hor Fun is traditionally Chinese, but there are many variations to this ubiquitous dish. When I was attending college in Kuala Lumpur (KL), I found out that the dish is called “Wat Tan Hor” there. The concept of the dish is the same, but it has a slightly different presentation and eggs are used in the gravy, hence the words “wat tan” which literally means “smooth eggs” in Cantonese…

In Thai cuisine, there is a similar dish called Rad Na and I believe Vietnamese have their own adaptation. The ingredients and toppings might be different but they are all delicious. Call me biased, but the best ones in my opinion is still Penang Char Hor Fun.

If you are a bachelor, perhaps you might want to try my recipe and make this dish for your girlfriend. And while you are at it, make some extras for your future parents-in-law, too.

Click Page 2 for the Penang Char Hor Fun Recipe (炒河粉) Recipe
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67 comments... read them below or add one

  1. Sheyna says:


    Thanks for the recipe. I am looking forward to trying it. Out of curiosity however, how come you use kecap manis and fish sauce? Both don’t seem like ingredients that Penang hawker users would use…



  2. Teong ONG says:

    I find it unusual to serve Sar Hor Fun with sambal belacan in Penang. It is traditionally Cantonese and served with green pickled chillies and soya sauce.

    • You are right Char ho fun is served with pickled green chilies but as a personal preference I would also ask for Sambal belacan from the vendor for an extra kick!

  3. That dish was one of my favorites growing up in Kedah/Penang. Now that I am in USA for the last 30 years, I miss it very much, which is why I visit Nyonya (Little Italy in NYC) restaurant. In any case, I have a question for you…. How come there is no egg in the sauce recipe? I was under the impression that eggs were used in the sauce. Please clarify.

  4. Davidoon says:

    Oh yes, a dish I miss most from my early years in Penang and Sungai Petani. Haha and you are so right about the myth, that’s what I cooked although with crispy noodle instead of flat noodle, to win my ex-girl friend’s (now my dear wife) heart when we were 18. So long ago… Now want to share this with my 3 boys…

  5. genevieve says:

    You forgot the eggs. There are always eggs in Penang hawker stalls’ hor fun.

  6. Elizabeth says:

    please can you post up a picture or email me the picture of the chicken broth you use?? thanks

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