Chow Fun is one of the most well-known Chinese dishes around the world.
It's a staple menu item for most Chinese restaurants outside of China, and my dad has literally made this dish over 100000 times over the course of his 50 years as a chef.
Sometimes when I order Chow Fun at restaurants, I feel a tinge of regret for eating what can be a pretty greasy (but delicious) dish of noodles.
My dad's at-home version of Chow Fun is a healthier alternative to Chinese take-out, that's just as tasty!
The Rise of Chow Fun
Chow Fun is also known as Chow Ho Fun (cháau hòh fán, 也称为). Literally, it means stir-fried river noodles, named after the river town of Shahe (Sā hòh síh, 沙河市) in Guangzhou where its distinctive style of flat rice noodles were first created.
Throughout 1940-1970, as more Chinese people started coming to America, the great majority of immigrants were from Guangdong. Naturally, the richness of Cantonese food, tradition, and culture traveled with them.
Even as diverse and geographically expansive as China is, up until the 60's and 70's, Chinese food in America was predominantly Cantonese cuisine. That's why today, Cantonese dishes like Chow Fun and Chow Mein are still among the most popular dishes across Chinese restaurants in America.
Eventually, as Chinese immigrants from other regions made their way to the US, Chinese food in America became more diverse.
Fun fact: According to the Chinese American Restaurant Association, there are over 40000 Chinese restaurants in America. This is more than the amount of locations for McDonald's, Burger King, Wendy's, and KFC combined.