Mei Fun

Mei Fun

The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

Prep: 35 mins
Cook: 20 mins
Soaking: 4 hrs
Total: 4 hrs 55 mins
Servings: 4 servings
Yield: 8 1/2 cups
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
591 Calories
14g Fat
99g Carbs
19g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 591
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 14g 19%
Saturated Fat 2g 11%
Cholesterol 140mg 47%
Sodium 1586mg 69%
Total Carbohydrate 99g 36%
Dietary Fiber 14g 50%
Total Sugars 7g
Protein 19g
Vitamin C 158mg 788%
Calcium 174mg 13%
Iron 5mg 26%
Potassium 1457mg 31%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

One of the most wonderful things about Chinese home cooking is the variety and thriftiness of it all. Bits and pieces of leftovers, odds and ends, particularly of vegetables, are tossed together in happy chaos, creating that exciting sensation of chasing after the perfect bite—that ideal proportion of your favorite ingredients in one single mouthful.

Chow mei fun is one of those dishes, and economical, versatile, and endlessly adaptive to boot. It’s different from household to household. This vegetarian spin takes the base flavors of that not-actually-Singaporean yet globally recognizable, curry-laden Singapore Chow Mei Fun and makes it vegetable forward in a lively and fresh version.

An excess of Napa cabbage allows you to use fewer noodles than other versions. And it’s easy to go meatless when charred broccoli and Chinese black mushrooms add earthy depth; vibrant blistered red bell peppers mimic the burst of color usually lent by char siu; and extra fluffy eggs provide protein. Just be sure you don’t skip the broccoli and the dried mushrooms.

Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup dried Chinese black mushrooms or dried shiitake mushrooms

  • 8 ounces vermicelli rice noodles (may also be called mai fun, mei fun, or thin rice sticks)

  • 1 pound Napa cabbage

  • 4 cups broccoli florets

  • 1 small red bell pepper

  • 1 medium red onion

  • 2 medium carrots

  • 2 tablespoons curry powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon white pepper

  • 1/8 teaspoon MSG

  • 2 1/2 tablespoons neutral cooking oil, divided

  • 3 large eggs

  • 3 tablespoons fish sauce

  • 1/2 cup Shaoxing cooking wine

Steps to Make It

Prepare the Dry Ingredients

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients to make Mei Fun

    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

  2. Place the dried mushrooms in an odor-proof container and add warm water to cover. Cover and let soak to reconstitute. Depending on the size of the mushrooms, they may take hours to fully rehydrate, so prepare this well in advance.

    Dried mushrooms in a bowl of water

    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

  3. Place the noodles in a large, deep bowl and cover with hot tap water. Allow to soak for at least 30 minutes while you prep the other ingredients and begin cooking.

    Noodles in a large bowl of water

    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

  4. Prepare the vegetables, setting each group aside and apart: first cut the napa cabbage, horizontally and against the grain, into thin ribbons; the broccoli into long, slender florets; the bell pepper and red onion into thin slices; and peel and julienne the carrots.

    Prepared cabbage, onion, broccoli, carrots, bell pepper, and onion on a cutting board

    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

  5. Remove the mushrooms from their soaking liquid, cut them into thin slices as well, and reserve the mushroom water for later use.

    Sliced mushrooms on a cutting board with a small bowl of mushroom water

    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

  6. Combine curry powder, salt, white pepper, and MSG in a small ramekin. Set aside.

    A bowl with curry powder, salt, pepper, and MSG

    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

  7. Drain the noodles and set aside.

    Drained noodles in a bowl

    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

  8. Heat a large wok over medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon of oil, and wait for it to shimmer, swirling it to coat.

    A large wok with oil

    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

  9. Add the eggs, stirring to loosely scramble them. Break them up into small curds, then transfer the eggs to a plate and set aside.

    A small plate of cooked eggs

    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

  10. Increase the heat to medium-high, then add another tablespoon of oil down the sides of the wok. Swirl to coat as it heats. When ready, add the red bell pepper and broccoli, tossing it in the oil to coat.

    A wok with red pepper and broccoli

    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

  11. Once the broccoli brightens, add the carrots and onions. Continue to toss in a flip and turn motion until the broccoli starts to char, the peppers to blister, and the onions to brown, about 2 minutes.

    Carrots and onions added to the wok

    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

  12. Increase the heat and add the mushrooms. Stir fry, and begin using the side walls of the wok to start searing and avoid steaming the vegetables. Do so by pressing the ingredients flat into the cooking surface and agitating repeatedly for 3 minutes. Create a well in the center of the wok by pushing the cooked vegetables up the side walls. Add the napa cabbage and fold the other vegetables over it immediately to allow their heat to wilt the greens, about 2 minutes.

    Mushrooms and cabbage added to the wok

    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

  13. Press vegetables into the hot wok surfaces. With noodles in hand, make a well in the center of the vegetables and place your noodles there. Add the curry powder mixture and fish sauce and toss to coat.

    Noodles and seasonings added to the wok

    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

  14. Turn the heat back down to medium-high. Add the cooked eggs, stirring constantly using the scrape and turn method. Make sure to get to the very bottom of the wok.

    Scrambled eggs added to the wok

    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

  15. Make sure the base of the wok is dry and all vegetable juices and retained water from the noodles has evaporated. From the side of the wok, pour in the Shaoxing wine and 2 tablespoons of reserved mushroom water, continuing to turn and scrape from the bottom of the wok. For a more toothsome dish, push the ingredients into the interior surfaces of the wok again to dry it out and create a light crispness in the noodles.

    Finished mei fun in a wok

    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

Recipe Tips

  • When shopping for ingredients, make sure you pick up vermicelli rice noodles made strictly of rice and water–not rice noodles with tapioca flour, bean thread, glass, nor cellophane noodles. All of these varieties look very similar uncooked and can be easily confused!
  • It might be tempting to substitute fresh shiitake mushrooms in this dish under the assumption that fresh is best. However, these will absolutely not taste as impactful as their dried versions, nor will they be as strong to the nose. The dried versions have a highly concentrated flavor and will create the mushroom water you can use to release any stuck-on noodles from the wok. Look for them in flat, vacuum-sealed packages at an Asian or international market, or loose in bulk bins at specialty ones. Look for shorter stems and wide, fleshy caps. Bear in mind, though, that the thicker the caps, the longer they'll take to reconstitute thoroughly. The reward, though, are extra-juicy, meaty bites, and it’s worth the extra time.
  • Finally, it’s highly recommended that you use a wok for this dish. If one is not available, you can use a deep, extra-wide saute pan or Dutch oven, but it’s not recommended. Too much direct heat across a broad surface makes the dish more likely to stick or burn; ingredients piling up risk getting steamed; and ingredients can easily fly out of too shallow of a pan. A good wok is an investment worth making, with far more utility than you’d think.

Recipe Variations

These ingredients aren’t typically in traditional Singapore Chow Mei Fun, but they were always in my dad’s version as we were growing up, and it’s ruined me for restaurant renditions since. 


Add marinated tofu for more protein, or pre-cooked shrimp to make it pescatarian … or bring the recipe back to its roots with velveted chicken and pick up red lacquered roast pork from a Cantonese BBQ shop if you have access. 


You can riff on the vegetables, too, adding celery, bean sprouts, snow peas, and other fillers, so long as you keep it moving and give it room to breathe in the pan.

How to Store

You can store cooked chow mei fun in a sealed, airtight, and shallow glass or plastic container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. When you reheat it, make sure you fluff it first before you microwave it loosely covered with a damp paper towel.


You can also reheat it on a pan on the stove, sauteeing it on medium heat until hot throughout, or steaming it as my parents liked to do. However, the first method will dry it out and the second will add considerable moisture, softening your vegetables and noodles. 

Make Ahead

You can prepare your noodles in advance by soaking them in warm water for about 2 hours. They won’t cook and will stay pleasantly toothsome in this suspended state. If you’re short on time, you can speed up the reconstitution process by boiling water, turning off the heat, then dropping the noodles into the pot. Do not attempt to cook them like pasta, as they will overcook and become mushy this way.


You can also cut up the vegetables up to a full day ahead of time. Make sure they’re dry and covered tightly in airtight containers, and refrigerated until ready for use. Additionally, the mushrooms can sit in their liquid for days at room temperature.