Beef chow fun is a staple Cantonese dish, made from stir-frying beef, hefen (wide rice noodles) and bean sprouts and is commonly found in yum cha restaurants in Guangdong, Hong Kong, and even overseas, as well as in cha chaan tengs.
The main ingredient of this dish is ho fun noodles, which is also known as Shahe fen, originating in the town of Shahe in Guangzhou. The most common methods of cooking ho fun are in soup or stir fried. Ho fun can be dry-fried (fried without sauce) or wet-fried (fried with a sauce).
Dry-fried beef ho fun is made by first stir frying beef strips until they are half-cooked. Bean sprouts and onions are then fried in oil. The ho fun is added and stir fried very quickly, along with soy sauce and heated oil. Finally, the beef is added.
An important factor in the making of this dish is "wok hei" (鑊氣). The cooking must be done over a high flame and the stirring must be done quickly. Not only must the ho fun be stirred quickly, it must not be handled too strongly or it will break into pieces. The amount of oil also needs to be controlled very well, if not, the excess oil or dry texture will ruin the dish. Because of these factors, this dish is a major test for chefs in Cantonese cooking.