What Is Shrimp Chow Fun?

Shrimp chow fun is a stir-fried Cantonese dish that contains shrimp, onions and wide rice noodles in a sweet-savory sauce. There are many variations on this basic recipe that include beef, chicken or pork instead of shrimp.

The noodles, called "ho fun," require quick cooking over extremely high heat. They disintegrate under excessive or rough handling. "Ho fun" noodles are a staple of Cantonese cuisine. They also appear in many recipes from Indonesia, Thailand and other Southeast-Asian countries. These noodles are delicate and don't tolerate freezing. Asian grocers often stock dried "ho fun," but the most coveted noodles are fresh and have a thick, gummy feel in the mouth.

When "ho fun" noodles aren't available, Vietnamese "banh pho" noodles are an effective substitute. These are similar to the noodles used in the popular Vietnamese restaurant dish called "drunken noodles." In western areas without Asian grocers, wide Italian vermicelli is the most popular substitute for both "ho fun" and "banh pho" noodles.

Noodles are integral to Cantonese cuisine. Travel China Guide states that in addition to "ho fun," Cantonese cooks frequently use wonton noodles, lo mein, skinny rice noodles and silver needle noodles. About.com expert Rhonda Parkinson explains that Cantonese cuisine is also replete with fish and shellfish. Popular Cantonese seafood include shrimp, lobster, mussels, crab, abalone and shark fins.