Sar hor fun or char hor fun literally translates to stir fried thick flat rice noodles. And while there is an abundance of stir-fried noodles in mind-boggling varieties and variations in Penang, Sar hor fun is indelibly a permanent and established fixture in the realm of hawker fare in the gastronomic capital.
It consists mainly of thick flat noodles accompanied by vermicelli seasoned and fried until slightly charred. Often with flames slightly catching the noodles adding to the taste and effect. This is then set aside.
A tasty, thick, comforting gravy is cooked separately along with the various other ingredients ranging from char siew to sliced fish balls, beautifully prepared cuttlefish, prawns and some green vegetables, typically chai sim. Egg is added on request and cooked to a stringy noodle-like consistency.
When the gravy is ready, the pre-cooked noodles are tipped back in to the wok and given a quick marriage. This is then dished out on to a large serving dish and every one tucks in greedily.
To make this at home
When making this at home, I too decided to do as the hawkers usually do and stir fried the noodles separately with some light seasoning of soya sauce. Apart from the sauces that make up the gravy and the corn flour to give it that thick, sticky texture, you can be as imaginative and adventurous with the rest of the ingredients.
Remember to let us know in the comments how your version turns out! Happy cooking!
Sar Hor Fun (Wat Tan Hor)
- 4 cakes Fresh hor fan (if available)
- 3 cakes vermicelli (bee hoon) if dried soak for recommended amount of time
- 2 cakes flat rice noodles (koay teow) if dried soak for recommended amount of time
- 5 tbsp vegetable oil
- 5 tsp light soya sauce
- 10 pieces assorted fish ball defrost if frozen
- 10 pieces raw tiger prawns halfed (tail-off or on optional)
- 2 pieces char siew BBQ pork thinly sliced
- other seafood or pork liver if preferred sliced fish cake is quite common
- 2 bunches pak choy, choi sum or kai lan cut into thick 2.5-inch lengths
- 3 tbsp minced garlic
- 3 tbsp vegetable oil
- 6 tbsp oyster sauce
- 2 tbsp dark soya sauce
- 2 tbsp light soya sauce
- 2 tbsp fish sauce
- 2 tsp salt
- 1/4 cup water
- 1.5 tbsp corn flour mixed thoroughly in 1/2 cup of cold water
- 2 eggs beaten lightly
- Soak dried bee hoon or Koay teow as recommended. If using fresh hor fun or noodles, skip this step
- Heat oil in a non-stick pan
- Add the noodles in to the pan loosely. Try to ensure the strands are loose and free flowing
- Drizzle the light soya sauce over the noodles
- Fry over medium to high heat for 5-8 minutes
- Heat oil and fry garlic until aromatic
- Add in seafood if using, prawns and fish balls and gently stir fry until partially cooked
- Add in vegetables and continue stir frying.
- When vegetable have just changed colour, add in all sauces - oyster sauce, dark and light soy and fish sauce and salt
- Mix well then add 1/4 cup water
- Bring to boil
- Prepare corn starch mixture and add in to boiling sauce
- As sauce thickens, gently add the eggs in to the boiling sauce, stirring well
- Add in cooked char siew just to heat through
- Remove sauce from heat as soon as consistency is thick and eggy strands are formed
- Carefully pour the sauce over the fried noodles
- Enjoy with pickled green chillies.