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Hawaii’s Local-Style Chow Fun

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!

A skillet of chow fun, just finished cooking.
One order of chow fun, coming right up!

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.

I love it best from okazuyas (especially the version from Fukuya Deli) and local plate lunch spots. And of course the version we make at home ^_^

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.

A plate of chow fun, ready to eat.
Chow fun, ready to eat ^_^

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.

Ingredients for Chow Fun: chow fun noodles, carrots, green onions, mung bean sprouts, cabbage, garlic. Soy sauce, oyster sauce, cornstarch, and black pepper.
Ingredients for Chow Fun.

Ingredients

  • 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.
Collage of adding the vegetables to be stir fried for chow fun. Carrots go in first, followed by the cabbage, mung bean sprouts, and green onions.

Collage of adding the vegetables: 1) carrots go first, 2) followed by cabbage, 3) then mung bean sprouts, 4) add green onions. 

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.

Collage of making the chow fun dish. First saute all the vegetables, then add the sauce mixture, then add the noodles. Finally, stir, mix, and eat.
Collage of cooking steps: 1) saute vegetables one by one, 2) add sauce mixture, 3) add noodles, 4) saute, and eat! 

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!

A skillet of chow fun, just finished cooking.
Super ono!

FAQs and Tips

How long does this dish keep?

Chow fun is best enjoyed the day of, but you can keep it in the fridge for 1-2 days.

How to reheat chow fun?

Microwave in 30-second increments

What other dishes to serve with chow fun?

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.

Craving meat?

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.

Flexible.

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.

A skillet of chow fun, just finished cooking.
Plate and eat!

Chow Fun Recipe

See below and enjoy ^_^

A skillet of chow fun, just finished cooking.

Local-Style Chow Fun

Yield: 3-4 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes

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!

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. In a small bowl, combine soy sauce, oyster sauce, cornstarch, black pepper, and ½ cup water. Set aside.
  2. In a large pan over medium-high heat, saute the garlic till golden.
  3. Add the carrots, saute 1 minute. Add in the cabbage, saute 1 more minute.
  4. Add the mung bean sprouts and saute 1 minute. Add the green onions and saute 1 more minute.
  5. Pour in the sauce mixture from Step 1. Bring to a boil.
  6. Add the chow fun noodles. Gently toss to mix (careful not to break the noodles) and cook for 1 more minute.
  7. Plate, eat, and enjoy!

Alan

Saturday 13th of February 2021

Yup, local style or Okazuya style chow fun is really good. I used to eat that all the time back in HNL. Today I sometimes make it at home with Hula Brand, dried chow fun noodles. Another kind of local style chow fun I love is the local style Cantonese version with lots of bean sprouts and slivered char siu. This Cantonese version also cannot be found outside of Hawaii. You gotta admit, the melding of cultures from the old days in Hawaii produced some pretty ono foods!

Kathy

Saturday 13th of February 2021

Hi Alan! Ooo yes the local style Cantonese version is soooo delicious!! Good point, I haven't seen that version outside Hawaii...maybe a future recipe post ^_^ I agree, we're real lucky to have all these amazing dishes. There's no food like local food! :) - Kathy

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