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2010.10.11

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Pete

I don't know why this hawker called his ware "Char" (meaning fried) Hor Fun - usually, Penang hawkers for this dish called it Sar Hor Fun, "Sar Hor" being the region in Guangdong province where the wide rice noodles originate from. Anyway, the thin bee hoon noodles are usually mixed in for the blend of textures which I found absolutely addictive for this dish.
One of the best purveyors of this dish in Georgetown is (surprisingly) a stall located in the New World Park food centre. Done well, Sar Hor Fun (and its accompanying Yee Fu Mee) are the best noodle dishes in the world :-)

Mr Noodles

I'm loving the double noodle combo in the hor fun dish!

Jenny @ Musings and Morsels

Isn't that the most brilliant thing? When travelling in a nonchalance trance and accidently stumbling across delicious grub! This happened to me quite a few times during my trip to NYC - it's moments like these that truly capture "pleasant surprise".
Your 3rd photograph is beautiful; its vividness and capture of a time in place, the soul of Asia. Thank you for another excellent post.

Jenny

Grew up on Sah Hoh Fun (don't quite remember it being char hoh fun either) and these wonderful photos are making me drool. Alas, no decent way to satisfy this sudden craving here in NorCal......the Malaysian restaurants here don't do the dish justice. *sigh*
Say, when you're driving up north the next time, consider stopping at the mainland Seberang Perai before crossing over to the island; plenty of food gems there as well!

Katy

I am guessing the hawker called it ‘Char Hor Fun’ to pair with ‘Ho Kkien Char’ – it chimes but obviously didn’t ‘ring’ for none-Chinese readers!

So does Hokkien mee refer to what type of yellow noodles? Like what we call in Taiwan You Mian (greased noodle 油麵, processed with sodium bicarbonate) or do you mean Cantoness egg noodles (Yi Mee/Yi Fu Mee)? Or just random?

Char Hor fun in Taiwan is often found in Vietnamese eats – they seemed to have kept the Cantonese name of this wide rice noodle, whereas in Singapore, Thailand and in some SEA regions kept the name in Hokkien 粿条 Kue Teo.(Kue as in food made of rice). I’ve not known rice vermicelli and wide rice noodles stir-fried together back home , but bean sprout is usually mixed in with stir-fried hor fun (or noodles in general) to prevent it sticking to the pan. I wonder if the rice vermicelli serves the same purpose too, apart from the blending of the texture.


Chris

Grew up in Pg and this is exactly what I miss! I can't believe that you folks went way off the beaten track for this hidden gem. Haven't seen the combo of beehoon and hor-fun anywhere except in Malaysia.

Account Deleted

I've always asked for hor fun alone, not a big fan of vermicelli but this rendition's so lustrous that it somehow seems spiteful to leave one or the other out here.

foodbin

really fresh ingredients-a must to compliment those noodles.

Cumi

An alternative way to ordering the freied vermicelli and broad rice noodles dish in KL is "ying-yong". As a non native chinese speaker, i presume it is derived from "yin-yang".
The dish to an American would probably be pouring 'egg drop soup' over a plate of crispy fried noodles.
Very few hawker stalls make good fried noodles nowadays - KL or Penang or Ipoh. Glad you found one.
I liked the corridor pic.

Robyn

Folks, mystery solved - 'sar' = 'char' = 'chau' (Mandarin). They're all the same Chinese character, meaning 'fried'. Following on this Pete -- I have my doubts about Sar Hor Fun being named for a region in Guangdong called Sar Hor. We visited a hawker this morning specializing in Sar Hor Fun -- the character on his sign for 'sar' was none other than 'chau'!

Chris - didn't know this was a Penang specialty.

Min - me as well (not a big rice vermicelli fan, always prefer bigger, fatter noodles) but the combo is something special.

Cumi - ying-yong ... interesting. I think the dish you're thinking of is what is often called "Cantonese noodles" here (the very crispy noodles with prawn-pork-choy sum and gravy). Americans know it as chop suey. Of course, American chop suey is nowhere as delicious as Malaysian "Cantonese noodles".

Katy

Brilliant!! Hawker's knowledge of Chinese characters! We are talking about stir fried 炒 (NOT fried, that’s different characters for either deep fried or shallow fried altogether in Chinese) and 沙 (Sar Hor 沙河 the region where this type of wide rice noodle originated from. It should be the same noodle as Kue Teow (or various spelling, that would be the Hokkien pronunciation)

Questions:
1.This character the Hawker used, the left part –is it fire or water? But maybe it didn’t matter, because Hawkers probably have their own dictionary! Just out of interest.
2.Specialising in Sar Hor Fun – is stir fried the only type he does, or does he do soupy bowl too? If someone says he specialise in Hor Fun, I would have thought he meant Hor Fun of all versions, boiled, stir fried or served it cold for example. But then, as Peter pointed out, Sar Hor Fun the mix of beefun and horfun is a dish of its own in Malaysia - so may be it's unique overthere.

Sar Hor Fun should be just another name of Hor Fun. I’ve never heard Sar Hor Fun used in Taiwan, but it is apparently used commonly in Malaysia and may possibly be in Guangdong. A ‘Sar Hor Fun’ dish, by the name, could be stir fried, or soupy or anything but a ‘Char Hor Fun’ dish should definitely be stir fried.

Ying-Yang noodle, don’t know what that is, but as the name suggests, it should include two ‘opposite’ types of the same/similar component – either a type of noodle that is fried (deep fried or shallow) and mix with the same noodle cooked in a different way, boiled or stir fried for example. But it’s very likely to be the Cantonese Yi-Mee derivations. Yang is possibly deep fried as it’s the sun, the heat if the character suggests anything to the name.

Hokkien mee, by the way, is what we called in Taiwan ‘You Mian’ (oiled noodle) – oiling at the last and it’s yellowy. Very common in Taiwanese type of noodle dish, not Niu Rou Mian.

Katy

The answer to Ying Yong -- it is 鸳鸯 yuen yong in Cantonese– The yuen yong (mandarin ducks – yuen male bird, yong female) is referring to the two different types of rice noodles used here beehoon and horfun that marry well. This combo is only found in Malaysia. You may also find 广府炒鸳鸯 pronounced kwong fu chao yuen yong in Cantonese and could also refer to the Yi-mee Cantonese noodles both you and Cumi described.

Basically if you found a Chinese (Cantonese) dish or plate (like a sauce) called something Yuen Yong – you get two types of a food that complement.

Jodi

Pete is correct. Sar Hor is a town in Guangdong (I've been there before...for about 2 hours) where the flat rice noodle was originated, and therefore the noodle is called "Sar Hor Fun" ("fun" means rice noodle). After some years the name for the noodle was shorten to "Hor Fun". Char is the Hokkien dialect for stir fry ("chow" in Cantonese). Sar does not means char. The Chinese character for these two word is by no means the same. If you study carefully, both word have 2 character combined in one, the right character is the same, but the left character is different! Tough, isn't it? Too bad that I don't have the Chinese software to explain.

"Koay" is the Hokkien dialect for rice cake, "teow" means strip. "Koay teow" is the Hokkien word for Hor fun. Why then in Penang they use both hor fun and koay teow? For this I guess I have to consult a Historian!

Joyce See

Hi there, we are running a homestay around there and just so happened to bump across your beautiful 3rd photo! Noted your question marks on their business hour, their stall, go all the way to 11pm at night usually, also depending on the weather sometimes. Their Char Hor Fun had been our weekly consumption. Char Hor Fun had never been my favorite dish until we bumped into this stall. You are so apt that it is the wok hei-infiltrated noodle (and it has to be together with rice vermicelli wrap around the wide noodles) that makes it so delicious!

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