cantonese stir-fried beef rice noodle, 乾炒牛河

 Cantonese stir-fried beef rice noodle, 乾炒牛河

On Sept 9, 2008, it really made my day as I found there was an incoming link from the LeftoverQueen’s Foodie Blogroll. I was wondering what it was and clicked the link, and I was so surprised that I am being featured as one of the Finest Foodie Friday (FFF). It does mean alot to me as getting recognition is a very useful motivational tool to keep the blog going. Thank you Jenn for featuring my blog, you are always friendly and supportive to all the foodbloggers.  

After blogging for a few months, I actually was asking myself how long would this interest stay with me. I am sure a lot of you would feel the same as me. As there are days when you are full of energy and inspiration to write something but there would also be days that you are occupied with other things like work, family, etc or there are just days that you feel a bit lazy and and not in a mood to write. For me, at the beginning, I was full of enthusiasm establishing my blog. I felt it was like setting up a new business from zero and whatsmore, this is a new area to me, I had to find my way out to reach my desired outcome. The frequency of blogging was higher in the first two months than now, but I think it’s better to focus on quality than quantity. I should not force myself doing something when I do not feel up to it, otherwise one day soon I would feel fed up and my blog would not be able to sustain.

During those day when I do not feel like writing, I would spend time surfing and reading other foodbloggers, and find recipes that I would like to try myself. There are so much good stuff out there to be discovered, I think it’s good to spend time looking around, learn from others, widen our horizon and contact other food bloggers for experience exchanges. 


So without further ado, I would like to share with you a typical cantonese dish we have in Hong Kong or the Guangdong region of China: Stir-fried beef rice noodle,  乾炒牛河, literal meaning is dry-fried beef rice noodle. You can ordered this noodle in almost every Chinese testaurant in Hong Kong. We usually order it when we go for dim sum lunch or as a main dish at Chinese tea restaurants: cha chaan teng 茶餐廳. Although this dish seems to be easy to prepare, it does not mean most places can master this good. I have seen a lot of places serving oily noodles which I will lose my appetite immediately.

However, being living abroad reminds me from time to time these typical hometown dishes and I begin to miss them and thought of try to make it myself. I must say I was very happy with the results and so did my guests, it was not oily at all. Normally, you are supposed to use fresh rice noodle (ho fan) but of course this is not easily accessible here, I used the Vietnamese Rice Noodle which was good enough.


Serves 3


  • 200g Beef fillet or rumpsteak, thinly sliced
  • half pack of ho fan or wide rice noodles
  • bean sprouts
  • chinese chives
  • 1/2 onion
  • cooking oil for stir-fry
  • 2 cloves garlic, sliced (optional)

Marinade for beef:

  • 2 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp corn flour
  • pinches of white pepper
  • 1 tbsp cooking oil
  • 1 tbsp chinese cooking wine (optional or substitute with mirin)
  • 1 tsp cooked cold water

Seasoning for the noodles:

  • 2 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp of water
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp chicken powder



  1. Partially hydrate your dried rice noodle by soaking the noodles in a big bowl of cold water for about 12 minutes, then discard the water and set aside. If you are in a rush, you can use hot water but the time should be shortened and not soaked for too long. The soaked noodles should only be softened but not completely hydated, it will feel a little hard. The reason why is that if the noodles are completely softened, they will stick together and very difficult to stir-fry and mix with other ingredients.
  2. Thinly sliced the beef fillet and marinate with the above described in a bowl and keep in the fridge for at least 30 mins.
  3. Wash the bean sprouts and keep in a sieve to get rid of the excess water.
  4. Wash the chinese chives and cut in pieces of about 4cm in length, cut the onion into thin slices.
  5. When the above is ready, you can either go to relax for a while before cooking or cook straight away.
  6. To cook, heat 3 tbsp in a wok using high heat, add in the garlic, this step is optional, because I like garlic very much. When the garlic turns a bit golden brown, add in the bean sprouts and stir fry for about 2 minutes until semi-cooked.
  7. You can now either moved the bean sprouts aside in the wok or remove them on a plate.
  8. Add a little cooking oil into the wok and stir fry the beef briskly, when the beef is almost cooked, add the bean sprouts back in and stir fry until they are mixed together. 
  9. You can now add in the soaked rice noodle and pour the seasoning into the wok at the same time. 
  10. This is a critical step, hold either two pair of chopsticks or 2 spatulas on both of hands and mix all ingredients and sauce throughoutly together.  You can see the rice noodles are gradually softened and absorbed the sauce, lastly add in the chinese chives and stir until they are cooked.
  11. Serve immediately. You can served with a bit of chili sauce if desired.

If you are interested for more background information of this dish, please click here.


6 thoughts on “cantonese stir-fried beef rice noodle, 乾炒牛河

  1. I love this dish, but never knew how to make it. Now that this is on my favorite’s list, I’ll be trying it sometime soon. Thanks for sharing.

    I hope you will like it. Let me know how it goes.

  2. Hi Janet,

    I discovered fresh rice noodle in an Asian supermarket here on Spalenring (line 1, stop Hegenheimerstrasse) which, I think best resembles horfun. It’s sold in a one-kilo bag. In case you’re interested 😀

    Hi Venny, this is great, I would love to check it out. Thanks very much for the info.

  3. Janet,

    Congratulations! I’m very glad that you are inspired to keep on blogging. Your posts are always interesting.

    I also wish I had more time and energy to try all the interesting ideas. This one looks really good!

    Best wishes!

  4. Hi Janet

    I tried making 乾炒牛河 but I’m afraid I didn’t soak the rice noodles long enough. To make up, I added more water and let the noodles steam up a little but I’m afraid that made my mung sprouts more cooked than I like. Still, it’s not bad for my first try. I learnt something new and I will definitely prepare this dish again.


    Hi there, nice to hear you tried. This is certainly quite a challenging dish to prepare. My experience was that the noodles should not be totally soft after soaking, as it will soften during cooking and when you add the soy sauce mixture, the noodles will absorb the sauce and soften. The most critical thing is you have to keep stir frying quickly, I did with two pair of chopsticks. Hope it helps.

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