Wednesday 1 June 2011

Wat Tan Hor/Kong Foo Chow (Cantonese Fried Flat Noodles in Egg Gravy)

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Ahhh, hello my old sweet friend. *warm fuzzy feeling in my belly*

Whilst some weirdo types like Arivind just don't get my adoration of this comforting childhood favourite and insist the only "right" way to cook any noodle is dry ala char kuay teow, I believe some days nothing hits the spot quite like a huge pile of wok-fried hor fun peppered with delicious chunks of seafood and meat, smothered in a piping hot thick egg gravy. This classic hawker concoction goes by many names: wat tan hor (its most common moniker in Kuala Lumpur, translating to mean "smooth egg fried noodles"), kong foo chow (literally "Cantonese-fried"), char hor fun (as it is known in Penang where bewilderingly, sometimes eggs aren't added (!!) ) and if you use a mix of broad and thin rice noodles, yin yong hor (a reference I guess to the Yin and Yang of the two varieties). The Thai dish of Ratna is also similar, though again egg is absent and seasonings/toppings vary slightly. Whatever you choose to call it, it's good.

As with all fried hawker noodle dishes, use a large wok over high heat where possible and slice up all your ingredients before starting to cook so they can be tossed in quickly. The secret to getting the gravy right is to add the eggs at the very last minute before serving- by all means change it up to be thicker/thinner/eggier/egg-less if you see fit.

Wat Tan Hor/Kong Foo Chow (Cantonese Fried Flat Noodles in Egg Gravy)
*Makes 2 small portions

Fry together over high heat in a bit of oil until charred:
About 350g fresh hor fun/kuay teow (soak in hot water first to separate if clumped together, then drain thoroughly. If using dried noodles, use less as it expands and boil until white and soft before use)
1 tbsp dark soy sauce (more if it looks too light)
1 tbsp light soy sauce
Dish up onto two deep plates/shallow bowls and set aside.
  • Making the Gravy:
Fry 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped until golden.
Add and fry briefly:
8-10 slices of pork/chicken (or beef if you like)
6-8 raw king prawns, peeled and deveined
6-8 slices of fishcake
6-8 slices of squid
Lower heat and add:
1½- 2 cups water (depending on how much gravy you want) *If you have good chicken stock around use that but I would avoid artificial chicken stock cubes/powder, tastes awful!
1 tbsp oyster sauce
1 tsp light soy sauce
Bit of sugar
Dash of white pepper
Dash of salt

Bring to a boil, then add 2 tsp cornstarch diluted in ¼ cup water (for thickening).
Simmer for a few mins until thickened. Slice 1 bunch of choy sum (flowering Chinese cabbage) or greens of your choice into 2” lengths and throw in.
Turn heat off and break in 2 eggs, stirring quickly to scramble. Have a quick taste and add more seasoning if required. Dish the gravy over the prepared hor fun and serve immediately (alongside a small dish of sliced pickled green chillies in light soy sauce if you're lucky enough to have it).
Get in with chopsticks and a Chinese spoon. Shovel into mouth.


  1. Fabulous! Love this dish. Will the runny dark soy sauce you find in London be okay for this?


  2. Hi Truffle! Yes I use Pearl River Bridge dark soy sauce which is quite runny, you can also use thick cooking caramel such as the red label Cheong Chan brand that can also be found in Chinatown :)

    Happy cooking!


  3. great stuff Sam! Love how you bring Malaysia around with you :)

  4. Hi, can you please tell me where you found the Cheong Chan 'Karamel Masakan' in Chinatown NYC?

  5. Hi Anonymous,

    Unfortunately I only moved to NYC two months ago so this recipe was actually made in London with ingredients found there. However, I'm sure it can be found here in Chinatown Manhattan or Flushing... on Mulberry St in Manhattan there is a shop called Asia Market which specialises in Malaysian/Indonesian/Thai ingredients, try there? Let me know if you find it!:)


  6. Hi Sam - great blog post! I have included a link to this post on my blog ( as I think it's a great description and explanation of what wat tan hor is. I might even try to make it at home! Hope you don't mind. Best! xA

  7. Dear Sam,

    Thanks for this life saving recipe... Delicious and authentic Wat Tan Hor. I use this recipe not only for Hor Fun but also Bee Hoon, Yellow noodles and rice.

  8. I absolutely love wat tan hor ...especially yin-yong style!! A wonderful friend of mine is a Malay chef originally from Penang, who makes the BEST yin-yong Wat Tan Hor... and to up the carb count he serves it (it has the most delicious eggy gravy and loads of it!!) With Nasi Puteh.... this is truly the food of the Nonya Goddesses!!!

  9. Made this many times ... while family loved it.. simply easy and yummy.