Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Hong Kong-style Singapore Noodles (星洲炒米)

One of our favourite things to order at a HK-style café/diner is Singapore noodles.

The name is misleading, because Singapore noodles are actually a Hong Kong thing -- that is, you won't find "Singapore" noodles in Singapore.
The picture on that Wiki page is not the best representation of this dish.

How Singapore noodles came to be I can only imagine, but whoever invented it was genius.

There's something about the combination of light curry-flavoured noodles with barbecued pork (char siu), shrimp, bean sprouts, green and red bell peppers, and onions that always hits the spot. Oh, and one mustn't forget the egg! I always pick out the egg bits as the choicest morsels from the plate.

I was even inspired to make a char siu sandwich with the flavors of this dish! Good times.

Char Siew Sandwiches à la "Singapore Noodles"

Char siu sandwich yummy.

Rice Vermicelli Noodles

Singapore Noodles need rice vermicelli. They're often labeled "rice sticks". They're thinner than spaghetti; perhaps more like angel hair.

The Components

clockwise from top left:
shredded Wuxi spareribs, bean sprouts, "marinated" rice noodles, sliced onions, sliced bell peppers, beaten eggs, marinated shrimp

We had leftover Wuxi spareribs in the house, and that's what brought about the idea of attempting to make Singapore Noodles at home. Look at those delicious Wuxi spareribs on the right! That JS is a genius sometimes. Must run in the family. ;)

All the other components had to be prepped before the moment of wok-truth.

Bean sprouts were washed and drained. The onions and bell peppers were sliced. Eggs were beaten. Shrimp were tossed with some Shaoxing wine and salt.

And, the most helpful prep tip of all, "marinating" the rice vermicelli!

This time, the genius belongs to The recipe on TasteHongKong calls for mixing the noodles with the seasonings in advance.

But first, soaking the rice vermicelli. We simply soaked the vermicelli in water (hot or lukewarm is fine) until they were pliable, but not cooked, then drained them for a bit in a colander. When they were not water-logged, I "marinated" them with curry powder (we had Madras), ground turmeric for that nice yellow color, salt, sugar and some sesame oil.


It was pretty fast-going from here onwards. Well, it would've been had I done two batches instead of one massive one. My arms were so sore from stirring and trying to mix everything!

Oil in the hot wok, then onions and chili peppers. Next were the bell peppers. After they had cooked slightly, I added the shrimp. I made a well in the center, then poured in the beaten eggs. After they had more or less set, I stirred everything and added the marinated rice noodles. I adjusted the seasoning, adding some salt & sugar, soy sauce, and a touch bit more of sesame oil.

And that's that!

Like always, this hit the spot. The only thing missing is that elusive "wok hei," which is darn impossible to replicate at home anyways. It didn't help that we decided to do one big batch instead of doing maybe 3 smaller batches to get more stir-frying action done.

Also, the noodles might be a tad thin for this application. We actually had two bags labelled "rice sticks," and the thicker rice sticks I had already used up the day before for some noodles in soup (pork and pickled vegetables like before, in case anybody's wondering).

I should have switched them around: these thinner, Taiwanese rice vermicelli would have worked better in the soup, while the thicker China rice vermicelli would have worked better for Singapore noodles.

Nonetheless, as I said, this hit the spot. The leftover Wuxi spareribs might in fact be better here than the stardard char siu, given that some restaurants that serve Singapore noodles usually have average, as opposed to excellent, char siu.

You betcha we're going to make another batch of Singapore noodles soon.

eatingclub Hong Kong/Cantonese
Chicken Chow Mein
Cantonese Braised Beef Brisket, Two Ways
Lobster Congee from a Lobster Feast
Chinese Roast Pork Belly
Gailan (Chinese Broccoli) with Oyster Sauce, Two Ways
Chinese Pork Bone Soup with Carrots and Water Chestnuts
Hong Kong-style Curry Cuttlefish
Dimsum Seafood Trio: Black Pearl Prawn Toast, Scallop in Nest, Jewelled Rice Cup
Hong Kong-style Singapore Noodles (星洲炒米)
Hong Kong-style Stir-fried Water Spinach with Shrimp Paste (蝦醬通菜)
Hong Kong-style Stir-fried Rice Noodle with Beef (乾炒牛河)
Sweet and Sour Pork
Hong Kong-style Curry Beef Brisket (咖喱牛腩), 1st Attempt

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Hong Kong-style Singapore Noodles (星洲炒米)
Serves 4

150g dried rice sticks/rice vermicelli
1 to 2 Thai bird chile or jalapeño peppers (optional)
1 small onion (or 1/2 medium-large onion)
1/2 green bell pepper
1/2 red bell pepper
1 to 2 eggs
100-125g (approx. 1/4 pound) char siu (HK barbeque pork)
(or use shredded meat from Wuxi pork spareribs; recipe here)
handful bean sprouts

1 tablespoon Madras curry powder
1 1/2 teaspoons ground turmeric
1 teaspoon sesame oil
salt & sugar

100-125g (approx. 1/4 pound) shrimp, peeled
1 teaspoon Shaoxing wine

salt & sugar, to taste
soy sauce, to taste
sesame oil, to taste

Soak rice vermicelli in hot/warm water until pliable. Drain in a colander.

In the meantime, prep the other ingredients:
Chop char siu into small pieces (or shred meat from Wuxi spareribs).
Wash and drain bean sprouts.
Slice chile peppers.
Slice onion and bell peppers.
Beat eggs.

Marinate shrimp in Shaoxing wine and a touch of salt.

When the noodles are dry, mix together with curry powder and ground turmeric. Add a pinch each of salt and sugar, and a tiny amount of sesame oil. Mix well.

Heat wok over high heat. When hot, add vegetable/cooking oil. Add the sliced onions and chile peppers. After a few seconds, add the bell peppers.

If your shrimp are large, add them now. Stir a few times, then make a well in the center. If your shrimp are small, wait until the eggs have gone in before adding them.

Pour beaten eggs into the well. Let cook until mostly set (80%), then stir all the ingredients together. If using small shrimp, add them now.

Add the marinated noodles, char siu pieces or shredded Wuxi spareribs, and bean sprouts. Mix everything well. Season to taste with salt, sugar, just a little bit of soy sauce (this dish is not soy sauce-based), as well as sesame oil. Stir and cook until all components are cooked and heated through.



  1. I don't know what I'm craving more now...char siew or these noodles. Solution - make both!

  2. Oh, you guys want to come & cook that for me for lunch today?! yum

  3. omg *cries* when I lived in Canada I used to have these like twice a month at a little diner in Edmonton. Now that I live in Singapore I can't get them! I'll have to do a brave attempt!

  4. Joanne:
    The char siew makes the dish!


    Not to take pleasure in your pain, but I had chuckle reading your comment. ;D Do try it, though, and see if it compares.

  5. Right on brother! I'm a Singapore Angmoh but formerly a HK Gweilo and I agree the Spore noodles in HK are better then Singapore version in Singapore. Plus HK has so much swagger and attitude it adds to the dish.


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