Local-Style Chow Fun is a must-try when visiting Hawaii! If you can't make it to Hawaii, replicate this popular dish at home. It's packed with vegetables and seasoned with soy sauce, oyster sauce, garlic and lots of black pepper. Super ono!
There is regular chow fun...and then there is local-style chow fun!! You'll only find this style of chow fun in Hawaii and you can find it all over the islands.
We love chow fun so in Hawaii that even Panda Express locations in Hawaii serves chow fun! Apparently Hawaii is the only state where Panda Express offers chow fun.
This dish also goes by a few other names:
- Local Chow Fun
- Okazuya-Style Chow Fun
- Chow Funn - We often spell it as Funn (instead of Fun) in Hawaii.
Note from a local: Chow Fun is not a Hawaiian dish. It is a Local-Style (or Hawaii-Style) dish. Here's the difference between Hawaiian and Local-Style / Hawaii-Style food.
It's also technically a vegetable chow fun because there is no meat in this recipe (though feel free to add char siu or Spam if you'd like).
However you call it, this is must-try Hawaii dish! It's our go-to chow fun noodle recipe.
Why This Recipe Works
Local-Style Chow Fun is less saucy that regular saucy chow fun (imagine beef broccoli type chow fun with all that gravy). But! It's also less dry than regular dry chow fun (like a dry-style beef chow fun).
Local style is somewhere in the middle...the perfect mix of both.
There are four main seasoning ingredients, all popular Hawaii pantry ingredients. It's soy sauce, oyster sauce, black pepper, and garlic. So simple! Super combination.
This recipe uses four types of vegetables: carrots, cabbage, mung bean sprouts, and green onions. We saute and add them to the pan one at a time. Cook the carrots first (because they take longest to cook), then cabbage, and then mung bean sprouts. Green onions go in last (they cook super fast).
This ensures that all the vegetables are perfectly cooked.
- Soy Sauce
- Oyster Sauce
- Cornstarch - We add cornstarch to make the sauce a little thicker, but you can definitely leave it out. It will be delicious either way.
- Black Pepper - We use a lot of black pepper in this recipe, so I hope you love black pepper! It's inspired by how Fukuya Deli goes heavy on the black pepper...it is such a delicious touch ^_^
- Garlic - minced
- Carrots - julienned
- Cabbage - shredded
- Mung Bean Sprouts
- Green Onions - Cut in 1-inch pieces
- Chow Fun Noodles - If using dried or pre-packaged chow fun, make sure to pre-cook the noodles according to package directions. No need to do any preparation if you have fresh chow fun.
Step by Step Directions
Ready to start cooking?
Make the sauce.
In a small bowl, combine soy sauce, oyster sauce, cornstarch, black pepper, and ½ cup water. Set aside.
Saute the vegetables, adding them in one at a time.
In a large pan over medium-high heat, saute the garlic till golden.
Add the carrots, saute 1 minute.
Add the cabbage, saute 1 minute.
Add the mung bean sprouts, saute 1 minute.
Add the green onions, saute 1 minute.
Note: Vegetables are added in the order of how long they take to cook. Carrots go first because they take longest, and green onions go last. If you cook all the vegetables at the same time you'll end up with some undercooked and some overcooked vegetables.
Add the sauce.
Pour in the sauce mixture from Step 1. Bring to a boil.
Add the noodles and toss.
Add the chow fun noodles. Gently toss to mix and cook for 1 more minute.
Tip: Be quick but gentle when tossing the noodles. The packaged chow fun noodles are a little more forgiving but fresh chow fun noodles break easily.
Plate, eat, and enjoy!
FAQs and Tips
Chow fun is best enjoyed the day of, but you can keep it in the fridge for 1-2 days.
Microwave in 30-second increments
Ooo there are so many good ones! Local style chow fun is especially popular at okazuyas. (Learn more about okazuyas - they are a very special part of Hawaii!) Basically anything you find at an okazuya pairs well with chow fun. Here are a few ideas:
- Gau Gee
- Hijiki Salad
- Simmered Daikon
- Tuna Tofu Patties
- Shoyu Hot Dogs
- Mochiko Chicken
- Shoyu Chicken
P.S. Chow fun is also great as a standalone dish. I often just eat a giant bowl of this for lunch.
This recipe is all vegetables, no meat (that's how it's usually done at okazuyas). But feel free to add meat if you'd like. The most popular options are thinly sliced char siu or Spam.
Key thing to remember about this recipe is that it is very flexible. Feel free to use more or less of any vegetable. If you don't like a certain vegetable, just leave it out. Have another vegetable you really like? Add it in!
I recommend doing the recipe as-is the first time, and then changing things up the next time (I hope there is a next time!) as you gradually create your signature style/combo of chow fun ingredients.
Chow Fun Recipe
See below and enjoy ^_^
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons oyster sauce
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon black pepper
- 5 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 carrots, julienned
- 3 cups cabbage shredded
- ½ pound mung bean sprouts
- 3 green onions, cut in 1-inch pieces
- 20 ounces chow fun noodles (if using packaged chow funn, pre-cook the noodles according to package directions)
- In a small bowl, combine soy sauce, oyster sauce, cornstarch, black pepper, and ½ cup water. Set aside.
- In a large pan over medium-high heat, saute the garlic till golden.
- Add the carrots, saute 1 minute. Add in the cabbage, saute 1 more minute.
- Add the mung bean sprouts and saute 1 minute. Add the green onions and saute 1 more minute.
- Pour in the sauce mixture from Step 1. Bring to a boil.
- Add the chow fun noodles. Gently toss to mix (careful not to break the noodles) and cook for 1 more minute.
- Plate, eat, and enjoy!