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Who serves the best Chow Funn?

Toshi’s Delicatessen Chow Funn

My dad used to nickname our nextdoor neighbor “How come Hux”, because when he was a little boy (we were about the same age at the time), every time he came to our house and my dad was doing something, Jr. Hux would ask “How come you’re doing that?” “How come you need to put oil in the car?” “How come you have to add chlorine in the pool?” “How come the lawn mower engine needs a rope to start it?”

Fast forward to present day, Fellow blogger Catherine Toth over at TheCatDish.com often asks some interesting questions on Facebook, which I suppose we’ll have to nickname her “How come Toth”. Like her most recent one, “What was your best vacation memory as a kid?” And the one before that, “If you had an entire day off and nothing to do — no laundry, no dishes to wash, no bills to pay — what would you do?”

Hmmmm, let me see. For kid’s vacation memory, I’d say hitting the toy department at Mitsukoshi in the Tokyo Ginza. As a little boy in a toy store in Japan? Are you kidding me? Epic! As for an entire day off with nothing to do? Gosh, if you put it that way, I’ll just hang out naked in my house with the doors locked and the curtains drawn all day and do nothing! I promise, nothing!

Well, I don’t have such interesting questions to pose upon you. Mine is simply, who has the best of any given food dish, which of course is always subjective, as is critiquing beauty and art.

Anyhow, where or who do you think serves the best Chow Funn noodles?

To which you may respond, “Why? What’s the big deal about Chow Funn? It’s just noodles. That’s like asking what’s the best brand of copier paper. Who cares. Just feed a new ream in the copier or slap the noodles on the plate and the job’s done.”

Eh-eh-eh, nah-nah-nah! Not so fast! Chow Funn is as difficult or easy to get right or wrong as it is rice, potatoes or any another starch. It’s far more complex, yet should be just as simple, and really can make or break the entire dish. It’s the canvas upon which your work of art is painted upon. Really, How many times have you had a GREAT burger, only to be disappointed by soggy ‘n greasy or badly seasoned fries? Or KILLER Kalbi, only to have it served with rice more suited for bird feed? You see where we’re going here.

I’m personally a fan of Okazuya style Chow Funn, where on Oahu, I’m gonna’ tie Toshi’s and St. Louis Delicatessen as tops. It’s all about simplicity, which is where Toshi’s and St. Louis get it. They get it.

I don’t like too much going on in my chow funn. Sort of like Mac Salad. No peas, tuna, and the “kitchen sink”. And especially too much sauce, particularly hoisin and/or oyster sauce. Way too overpowering. Keep the Chow Funn (a.k.a. “Chowfun” or “Chow Fun”) simple, cooked to al dente doneness with the right “chew”, and flavor-seasoned oh so gingerly, where you’re like, “yeah, this is it! Hit da’ spot!”


St. Louis Delicatessen Chowfun


Matsumoto’s Okazuya & Restaurant: Corned Beef Hash Patty, Shoyu Hot Dog, Mochi? Spring Roll, BBQ Teriyaki Chicken, Ume Musubi and Chow Funn.


Hijiki Chow Funn


Mitsuba Delicatessen – Chow Fun Noodles & Saba Fish


Nuuanu Okazuya (clockwise from top): Vegetable Tempura, Teriyaki burger, Chow Funn, Nori Fishcake, Gobo Fishcake, Kabocha slice, Nori Musubi and Kobu Maki.


Toyo Sushi okazuya plate c/o Diner E: (clockwise from top left) Shrimp Tempura, Kimpira Gobo, Chow Fun, Teri’ Beef and Furikake Musubi


Gulick Delicatessen (King Street location)  Chow Fun, Nishime, Ume Musubi and Teriyaki Burger.


Gulick Delicatessen (original location) – Tofu Patty, Gobo Kinpira, Nishime, Kombu Maki and Chow Fun noodles


Toshi’s Delicatessen (Okazuya) – Shoyu Chicken, Shoyu Long Rice, Chow Funn and Nori Musubi. 


New Diner’s Drive Inn – Chow Fun & Fried (fried?) Butterfish


Royal Kitchen – Chow Fun


Libby Manapua Shop – Chow Fun


Chun Wah Kam @ Kapolei – Chow Funn noodles

Just make sure you don’t confuse Chow Funn with its popular sibling, Chow Mein…


Chun Wah Kam – Chow Mein

Or its Japanese offspring, Somen…


Somen Salad

and ramen…


Charsiu Shoyu Ramen from Goma Tei

or its “Hawaiianized” aunty’s cousin’s brother-in-law’s nephew’s father’s sister’s mother’s uncle’s niece, Saimin….


Saimin

Goodness gracious, what a carbo’ overload! Time to run that 26k marathon!

P.S. This isn’t that “epic-photo post” I mentioned previously that was in the works. That one’s still in the shop.  :-)

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27 thoughts on “Who serves the best Chow Funn?

  • August 10, 2013 at 11:03 am
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    Pomai, if you want to get fill up fast it Chun Wah Kam chow fun due to it made of rice flour sheets instead like other wheat flour. When you ate it you fill up fast for it more heavy due to rice flour it was made. I had other they are just as good but still feel hungry afterward.

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  • August 10, 2013 at 11:38 am
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    Being Chinese I have to pick Chun Wah Kam one for chow fun came from Chinese to begin with and see it true chow fun noodle made with. The other is fine but made with wheat flour. I also find it more filling with Chinese one for rice is more filling.

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  • August 10, 2013 at 12:11 pm
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    @ Aaron and Amy – interesting point about Chun Wah Kam using rice flour vs. wheat flour. I like the Hula Brand Chow Funn, the one that comes dry in a package, and ridiculously CHEAP! It’s wheat-based, while it reconstitutes surprisingly well, almost as if it were fresh, never dry…

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  • August 10, 2013 at 11:35 pm
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    I much rather have true Chinese style chow funn when in the mood for it. The okazuya type is OK when buying okazuya food for it different and made of wheat flour type. Gulick is not bad at all for their chow funn. As chow mein of course it Kam Wah Chun for it or anywhere that have Chinese food but yakisoba style I like anywhere too.

    Reply
    • August 11, 2013 at 12:45 am
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      Mike,
      Mike, Mike, Mike, Mike, Mike, Mike (shaking head in disapproval). Oi. I really thought there’d be much more fight on this subject. Meaning, other Chinese restaurants, okazuyas and plate lunch joints who shine over the examples given. Mike!

      Reply
  • August 11, 2013 at 2:54 am
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    Pomai, okazuya type is not really chow funn but mixed noodle. I see Kam Wah Chun chow funn the best next Royal Kitchen. Okazuya ones are a little bland to me (only) .

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  • August 11, 2013 at 3:17 am
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    The okazuya ones are a weak kopycat of the Chinese chow funn.

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  • August 11, 2013 at 5:39 am
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    @ Vickie– Ouch!

    @ Brenda– Double-OUCH! “Weak kopycat”? You’re breaking my heart Brenda, breakin’ my heart! Famous last words. You don’t happen to have a… oh, never mind.

    Reply
    • August 11, 2013 at 8:34 am
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      Not to more salt to injuries but I prefer Royal Kitchen and Kam Wah Chun chow funn the most.

      Reply
      • August 11, 2013 at 9:41 am
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        Been eating look funn since a kid and see in chow funn rice flour noodle sheets are indeed true chow funn noodle. The wheat flour one are really just pasta use in soups and stir fry dishes. Still living in Hawaii I like both kinds so it hard to pick which one the best still.

        Reply
  • August 11, 2013 at 7:53 am
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    At the Wailuku Hongwanji’s annual Bon Dance… served in a shave ice cone. Probably more nostalgia than taste…

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    • August 11, 2013 at 8:00 am
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      Ryan,

      I have a Maui cookbook (through connections with the chef who wrote it) that has the recipe for that Hongwanji Chow Funn in the paper shave ice cone. Talk about classic! I’ll share it later.

      And you’re right! It’s all about how it’s served! That’s what makes Toshi’s Chow Fun, still served on a PAPER plate (not that ugly styrofoam takeout container), wrapped-up in butcher paper with the rubberband so nostalgically special!

      Not only that, but where you eat it. The negative ions and energy-drainlikeing sun ‘n surf while on the beach somehow elevate the taste and overall satisfaction of starchy foods such as musubi and chow funn ten-fold!

      Reply
      • August 21, 2013 at 4:50 pm
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        This year Wailuku Hongwanji served their chow fun in a cup, guess they were out of cones? And while I agree Wailuku’s chow fun is decent, the Makawao Hongwanji’s chow fun is better! Just had both this past obon season and my wife agrees.

        Reply
  • August 11, 2013 at 9:46 am
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    Pomai, my cousins in San Francisco see we are so lucky to have many different kind of food to enjoy and this chow funn entry made them so unhappy they can’t get any in mainland at all. I have to send some Hula noodle packs to them so they could make some at home now. They ate many place the Chinese style chow funn but never had the okazuya style one and now like to try some badly.

    Reply
      • August 12, 2013 at 12:56 am
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        Pomai, I will get some of that also for my cousins. They for sure would like that very much so. Any good saimin soup stocks recipes? Maybe they head to SF Japantown for some ingredients. They have get some kanaboko for saimin and saimin salad.

        They happy when I head to SF with laulaus and poi and lomi lomi salmons for them. Now beef jerkey chips from Kaimuki Grill.

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        • August 12, 2013 at 1:23 am
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          Amy,

          Regarding Saimin broth and overall recipe, what I would do is:

          First set-up 2 pots on the stove.

          In pot 1, add shrimp heads and/or tails (if you feel generous), along with kombu (dried seaweed) and a packet or two of dashinomoto (bonito soup base) in water and boil then simmer to make a shrimp/seafood-based stock. You can add other seafood like, oh say, scallops or saba, but don’t go too crazy on it. Keep in mind that Saimin was a plantation worker’s “peasant” food. Nothing fancy, but good home cookin’!

          In pot 2, heat-up chicken stock (from a can).

          Then gradually add the shrimp-based seafood stock to the chicken stock, adjusting it to where you’re happy with the combined “land-meets-sea” flavor profile.

          Finalize the flavor with Shoyu, and simmer for a little longer, then pour in a bowl with your cooked al dente Saimin noodles.

          Garnish with Kamaboko (Fish cake) and/or Charsiu (Chinese roast pork) and green onion. Above all, it MUST have green onion!

          Enjoy.

          Reply
  • August 11, 2013 at 2:44 pm
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    There are many options for Chow Funn where I live, but all the places seem to use too much oil. Sooo, my favorite Chow Funn recipe is made my me!

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    • August 11, 2013 at 2:52 pm
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      h,

      Let me guess: you cook (boil) and/or stir-fry your chow funn noodles in the ‘Superior Touch Better Than Bouillon Mushroom Base Broth’? If so, I’m feelin’ ya! I’m feelin’ ya!

      Reply
      • August 11, 2013 at 4:13 pm
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        No, but that does sound good. I’ll have to try that!

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  • August 12, 2013 at 9:47 am
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    Hey! Whaddabout cake noodles and Hong Kong Noodles like you get on River Street?

    I’m bummed ’cause no get Chow Fun on East Coast or especially in the South!

    Reply
  • September 19, 2013 at 7:02 am
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    Okazuya style easily beats Chinese restaurant style. Less oily, less oyster sauce.

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    • September 21, 2013 at 8:06 am
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      Okazuya style is not really chow funn but stir fry mix noodle. It not Chinese chow funn for it fusiion style. Chinese chow funn is true chow funn. Like Russian borscht soup is sell in Hong Kong cafe but not that good and real Russian borscht but people still like it in Hong Kong.

      Reply
      • September 21, 2013 at 8:13 am
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        Judy,

        I agree with pat, for just the reason he said: the Okinawan style Chow Funn less is oily, with less (or no) oyster sauce. Just super simple. Personally, I think the Chinese style Chow Funn is too overbearing, where it becomes too much of a statement on the plate, whereas, the Okazuya (Okinawan) style, it’s more subtle, acting more subtly as a starch then the featured attraction, so the entrees themselves get center stage. Wow, that was deep. lol

        Reply

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