Singapore Noodles

Singapore Noodles

A few weeks ago I posted my version of Orange Chicken. It was my first post in what I hope will become a series of posts recreating Chinese American favorites without an excess of grease, sugar and MSG. A lot of you made suggestions on what my next recipe should be, and Singapore Noodles was one that came up repeatedly.

Like most menu items on a Chinese American menu, Singapore Noodles aren’t actually of the provenance that their name claims. In fact, you’d be hard pressed to find the Singapore Noodles that most American’s are familiar with on any menu in Asia, much less in Singapore.

Singapore Noodles

Yet the spindly, vibrant, curry flavored impostor has found its way into our hearts in the US and UK. Growing up, Singapore Noodles was one of my favorite dishes when my family was ordering Chinese take-out and I have to say that I’m still a fan of this spicy stir-fried delight.

As you might expect in a dish this colorful, it does require a fair number of ingredients, but none of them should be too hard to find. I tried to stay true to my taste memory of this dish, but you can substitute out most of the vegetables and use proteins that work for you (beef, chicken, squid, and tofu are a few that come to mind).

Singapore Noodles

If you’re wondering why I put the shrimp and pork in a marinade, it’s partly to add flavor, but more importantly the cornstarch does two things. It helps keep the pork moist through cooking, and it gives the shrimp a plump, almost crunchy texture that we’ve all come to expect from Chinese restaurants.

Singapore Noodles

5.5 ounces dried rice vermicelli (a.k.a. mai fun)

4 ounces small shrimp, peeled and deveined
4 ounces pork, cut into strips
2 teaspoon soy sauce
2 teaspoon Chinese rice wine
1 teaspoon corn starch

2 tablespoons curry powder
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
3/4 cup chicken stock

2 eggs, lightly beaten

2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tablespoon minced ginger
1/2 medium onion, sliced
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
8 ounce can of strip bamboo (julienned)
4 ounces bean sprouts
3 green onions, sliced thin

oil for stir-frying

Soak the dried rice noodles in very hot tap water (about 140 degrees Fahrenheit) for 3 minutes. Be careful not to over-soak them or they will start sticking together and get mushy when you cook them. Start pulling the noodles apart as soon as they start softening. Rinse in cold water several times to prevent the noodles from absorbing too much water and to wash off excess starch.

Add the shrimp and pork to a bowl and season with the soy sauce, rice wine and corn starch. The cornstarch will keep the meat moist and the shrimp firm.

Measure out the curry powder into a small bowl. In a separate bowl, combine the fish sauce, oyster sauce and chicken stock. Because everything cooks very quickly it’s important to have all your prep done ahead of time.

Heat a wok over high heat until very hot then add a tablespoon of oil, swirl to coat, then add the egg, swirling then scrambling. Put the egg on a plate and set aside. Add 2 tablespoons of oil, then add the garlic and ginger, and then fry until fragrant. Add the shrimp and pork, holding aside the marinade and fry until the pork just loses its pink color (it doesn’t have to be all the way cooked.

Add the onion, red and green bell peppers, bamboo, and bean sprouts. Fry while stirring vigorously. Until the vegetables are a bright color. Add the curry powder and stir-fry until fragrant, then pour in the chicken stock and fish sauce mixture. Stir, to combine, then add the noodles and return the egg to the pan. Use chopsticks or tongs to evenly coat the noodles with sauce. If the noodles start sticking, add some water.

Top with scallions, then serve your Singapore Noodles immediately.

  • Plate Fodder

    While I adore the softer Asian noodle dishes, there’s just something about the drier Singapore style noodles that makes my heart skip a beat. I’m a happy camper

  • Moodie Foodie

    As a follower of your blog for a the last year, I was a little taken aback at your description of Chinese American food as commonly full of “grease, sugar, and MSG”.  As an Asian-American, my friends and I know that when we hear a description like that it usually means Chinese food from non-Chinese cooks or from a place in the American Midwest.  If you live in U.S. areas that have a vibrant Chinese population and culture, places that serve food you describe probably would not lot last very long.  It pains me that the perception of Chinese food in America is being generalized and misrepresented as such.  As much as I like your blog, this one hurt. 

    • Brennan Falkner

      I live in a large, densely populated city without a vibrant Chinese culture and there is a Chinese restaurant in every strip mall and next to every grocer, 9 in 10 are full of grease, sugar, salt and often MSG (less so since it has a stigma now).

      The description isn’t a misrepresentation, just the food.

    • Cassaendra

      I know where you’re coming from being Japanese-American myself and seeing the liberties that restaurants take on “Japanese food.” However, I didn’t read the comment made as an attack against Chinese cuisine, but an observation on American Chinese cuisine — pepper steak, crab rangoon, beef broccoli, bourbon chicken (I adore!), General Tso’s chicken, etc. stuff you’d find at Panda Express.  I’m not associated with the blog in any way, so this is just my perception. 

      This dish is on our rotation of meals at home since I love mai fun. Thanks for the tip on placing shrimp and pork in a marinade. I’ll definitely try that. I’m always open to making a good dish better! 

  • leaf (the indolent cook)

    I like your makeovers! It’s really the thing when cooking at home – you can use lots of fresh ingredients and less of the oil.

  • DrakosAmatras

    I think I’ve seen a similar dish using big flat rice noodles, lots of seafood (mainly squid and shrimp), beansprouts, and some other vegetables, with bits of fried egg scrambled throughout just like this recipe. Maybe they’re related?

  • Randy

    In fact, you can get Singapore noodles in just about every cheap diner (cha chaan teng, HK-style tea cafe) in Hong Kong. I would assume that’s where the dish originates from, even though it’s become popular as American-Chinese takeout food.

    • Marc Matsumoto

      Interesting theory! This dish is also found in the UK, so I wonder if it went from Hong Kong to the UK, or the other way around. 

  • Angela@Spinachtiger

    Now I’m going to crave this dish all day. We are not Asian and as Americans loving Asian food, this just calls our name, even if it’s only made in America.

  • Michele Asch

    how many does the recipe serve?

    • Marc Matsumoto

      It depends on whether you’re serving this as a main or as one of many dishes, but it should feed 2-3 comfortably as a main. 

      • Toru

        yes they do have these kind of noodles in Singapore.  It’s called Sinchow mai fun which translates to singapore noodles.  I dont know how come many singaporeans dont know this.  Maybe their chinese is not very good..

        • jess

          Singapore noodles are actually not made in Singapore. They were created in the UK/US and have since become popular in Asia. So despite the name and yumminess, its not an “authentic” dish.

  • Yuri

    This dish reminds me of my late grandfather! We had to get it for him every Sunday from his favorite Chinese restaurant. Thanks for sharing this recipe, looks great :)

  • Tracy

    You must have been reading my mind, I just had this dish last night and was betting I could find a recipe to cook at home.  And here it is!  Thanks so much, you are making my repertoire even more diverse!!

  • Darren

    Anyone know what a good oyster sauce brand is? Most seem to have nothing to do with oysters and more to do with thickeners and faux flavoring.

    • Marc Matsumoto

      While there are some all-natural brands of oyster sauce that don’t have MSG, I haven’t had any luck finding one that I like. You can actually make your own oyster sauce by drying oysters for about a week (or buy them dried), sautéing with garlic and ginger, then adding soy sauce and sugar and cooking down, and pureeing after the oysters soften. 

      • Gilbert Ho

        Thanks for the oyster sauce recipe, Marc! I’ve also been having trouble finding MSG-free oyster sauce.

    • JudyC

      here’s a link that compares several brands of oyster sauce:

  • research papers

    It so delicious!

  • resume

    great post1 thnk you for sharing!

  • Lemons and Anchovies

    I’ll be saving this recipe. Whenever I have a craving for noodles at work, I always order Singapore noodles from the nearby restaurant.  Today might be another one of those days–I just want to dig in to that first photo!

  • Jonny

    You beat us to it (once again!) These have been on our “to make” list for forever. I love them like nothing else available from Chinese take-out menus. The dash of curry powder and the heat make this dish for me.  It’s even better cold the next day.

    • Marc Matsumoto

      I’d still love to see what your version looks like!

  • noobcook

    I’m still wondering what Singapore noodles taste like, even though I am from Singapore hehe… Your plate looks really good, and I like the touch of curry powder.

  • research paper

    I become so hungry !

  • Tigerfish

    How true…

    I was curious when I saw Singapore noodles in the menu here in the US, cos there is definitely no Singapore noodles done this way in Singapore.

  • Sue

    One of my favorite dishes. Yours looks delicious! So easy to make mush out of these noodles but yours  looks perfect

  • mcdonaldjp1

    I haven’t had this dish since I was..well, in Singapore a few years back (when I say a few, that means more than 10 years ago). This gives me inspiration on what to cook for dinner tonight. Thanks for sharing this wonderful recipe.

  • mcdonaldjp1

    I haven’t had this dish since I was…well, in Singapore a few years back (when I say a few, that means more than 10!). This gives me inspiration on what to cook for dinner tonight. Thanks for sharing this wonderful recipe :)

  • Hapacouple

    We tired your recipe, it was great!  Thanks for sharing.

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  • Laura Collazo

    I was wondering how many people this recipe is for?  I had saved it to make tonight, but have no idea how much to make.  Thanks!

    • Marc Matsumoto

      It should comfortably feed 4.

  • asian catering brisbane

    Yes, i done it for 4 people, and i can say everyone is satisfied :)
    Thank you!!!

  • Sue

    This was delicious, I’ll definitely be making it again – if only prawns weren’t so fiddly to de-vein. Only question I’ve got is, when do I add the egg back to the mix? I popped it in at the end, just to re-heat through but it got a bit lost in everything else. 

    • Marc Matsumoto

      Nice catch! The egg is supposed to go back in when you add the noodles. They do get a bit lost, but they’re more for color and added protein.

  • Gin Bar

    I just finished your recipe and of course, I tasted it. It is excellent. At the beginning I was a bit afraid because of the quantity for the fish/oyster sauce but it is an amazing recipe.
    Thank you Marc Matsumoto

  • jenesaisquoi

    Thanks a ton for this recipe! It tastes just like the one I crave from a local restaurant, but I can make it with less oil than they do. I also added some sambal oelek for extra heat. Delicious. Looking forward to trying more of your recipes!

  • Meow Meow

    Glad I found your site – great pics and a few recipes that I’ve been experimenting with myself… It will be nice to see how your interpretation compares. I’m optimistic. A question before I start… I go to the best Asian supermarket in Toronto (IMHO) – Toronto has one of the largest Asian populations outside of Asia, so we’re qualified… So yes… back to the supermarket. They have an incredible prepared foods section, and while I’m not a big fan of Singapore noodles, I got them last week for a change and fell in love with them again. I note however that they definitely had a five spice thing going on, and they had some big, round, black pods (about the size of a 10 mm pearl) that weren’t cardamon or pepper… I’ve never seen them before. So I ask, in your quest to re-create these Asian dishes, your comments on these other ingredients…. I think..

    • Marc Matsumoto

      Thanks for your note! As with many dishes, an “authentic” recipe for Singapore Noodles does not exist. I modelled this dish after the Singapore Noodles I ate growing up in Northern California, but if you find that local eateries in Toronto are including 5 spice, I say go for it! As for the mystery ingredient, you’re sure it wasn’t Chinese black cardamon? They’re much rounder and plumper than the Indian version. If you send me a photo it would help in identifying it.

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  • VF – Bucks UK

    A fantastic recipe, even though I didn’t use any ginger (not a fan of it) and I will definitely make it again. Instead of using dried noodles and soaking them, several supermarkets sell ‘ready to wok’ noodles which make life so much easier.

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  • Katrina

    I don’t have to order this anymore when I have a craving from the chinese restaurant next door. It is just like the one I crave, but even fresher tasting, and cheaper to do at home, plus it is so easy!

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  • Jo

    Singapore noodles does exist in singapore, though it is less commonly served now. Our version does not include the use of curry powder, but the rest of the ingredients are somewhat similar to what you are using. Just fyi, it is known as 星洲米粉in some of the more traditional eating places.

    Thanks for sharing all these recipes, I really enjoy trying them out, and they taste great. :)

  • Yaoli Pu

    This was really yummy, but I doubled the broth because I was using much more noodles/meat/veggies but that turned out to be too much and the noodles became watery. Otherwise the flavor was spot on!

    • Marc Matsumoto

      Hi Yaoli, the problem might have been with the size of the pan you used. If you double the amount of noodles in a batch, you also need to double the size of the wok (and use a burner with more heat output) to compensate for the added volume. It’s a stir-fry so if the wok doesn’t have enough surface area (meaning the heat isn’t high enough), it takes to long, and the noodles will get soggy. Next time, try to do it in two batches if you don’t have a double sized wok with a burner to match.

  • kirstine

    marc, what kind of curry powder should I buy that can be use for many kinds of curry dishes? any specific brand and typeof curry powder that you can suggest? thank you.

    • Marc Matsumoto

      Personally I use S&B brand, but you may not be able to find it where you live (it’s a Japanese brand). Like any spice blend there’s no set recipe, so the taste is going to vary a little by brand. My best advice to to buy a few and figure out which one you like best. Otherwise if you really want to use the same curry powder, you should be able to find cans of S&B at a Japanese supermarket (such as Marukai or Mitsuwa).

      • kirstine

        thank you so much Marc for making this website. This is just one of your recipes that I tried & succeed. I gain praises from my husband for making him such a good meal and the best of it is that I don’t have to do a lot of attempts like what I usually get from other website. I also follow your blogs at PBS Food and appreciate if you can post more simple dishes with a great taste. Can’t wait for it… :)

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  • Katelyn

    How many people does this feed?

    • Marc Matsumoto

      Depends on if you’re using it as a main or side and how hungry people are. Will make 2 very large portions. —
      Sent from Mailbox for iPhone

  • Sisi

    This was so easy to make and yummy too. Thank you for the recipe.

  • Geoff Thomas

    My absolute favorite dish is Singapore Noodles. Looks like a great recipe, can’t wait to make it.

  • Bob

    No. of servings seems to be missing

  • Kendalizor

    About how many people will this serve?

    • Marc Matsumoto

      Depends on whether you’re serving this as a main dish or one of many dishes. If it’s a main it should comfortably feed 2.

      • Kendalizor

        Thanks, I’ve made this twice so far now with egg or spring rolls and it’s perfect!

  • Channon Doughty

    Ah, Singapore noodles. My one guilty Asian food pleasure. I usually go for lots of veg, fish, shrimp or tofu and brown rice, but I just cannot resists these noodle sometimes. Thanks for this recipe!!

    • Channon Doughty

      I don’t actually use pre-made “curry powder” so can you give me a idea of the ingredient profile of the one you would use here? No need for measurements. Thanks again. I love this blog!

      • Marc Matsumoto

        Hi Channon, its a blend of turmeric, coriander seed, cumin seed, fennel seed, fenugreek, and sometimes other spices like cardamom, cinnamon, etc.

  • Tammy S

    I can’t find rice wine, is rice vinegar the same?

    • Marc Matsumoto

      Hi Tammy, rice wine vinegar has undergone the last stage of fermentation where the alcohol turns into acetic acid making it sour, it is not the same thing. If you can’t find Chinese rice wine, use dry sherry.

      • Tammy S

        Thank you. It was delicious!

        • Marc Matsumoto

          Glad to hear you enjoyed it!

  • raj

    I have friends from Singapore who would say otherwise. At least, in Canada, Singapore Noodle is more authentic, from what I’ve been told. In California, I have a hard time finding the style I’m used to so I make my own (unauthentic) version — with mung bean noodle.

  • Mie L Koll

    Made this last night and my husband and I absolutely loved it!

    • Marc Matsumoto

      Glad to hear you guys enjoyed it!

  • Angie Bond

    did I do something wrong?? I followed the recipe and ended with Singapore Noodle Soup!!!!!!! was it 1/4 cup or 3/4 cup chicken stock?? but still very tasty

  • Min

    Thank your recette de vermicelli singapore.
    Je l’ai mangee a paris et shockee ce saveur,, donc cherche la recette..
    Merci beaucoup


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