This Chicken Mei Fun (also sometimes spelled mai fun) recipe is a basic home-style thin rice noodle dish. If you’ve built an essential Chinese pantry of just 10 ingredients, you should have everything you need to make it.
A Flexible Noodle Recipe
This chicken mai fun recipe is also super flexible! As more and more of our readers start to realize that Chinese cooking is easier than it seems, they’re also realizing that they can make adjustments to recipes according to what they have on hand.
We hope you feel free to use any vegetables you have in the refrigerator. You can even change up the protein. A little preparation, some basic ingredients, and a few minutes of stir-frying will get you a big satisfying plate of noodles!
Mei Fun for Breakfast, Lunch or Dinner
I remember eating mei fun for breakfast in my early days of working in Manhattan. My office was on 7th Avenue, and I was a QC (Quality Control) manager for an apparel company. This was so long ago, I don’t even remember the name of the company!
Bill and I got married and had children at an early age (I was 23 when I had Sarah!), so money was tight. Even though that takeout mei fun barely had any vegetables in it—just a few scallions and bean sprouts—let alone chicken, that $2.50 carton of mei fun for breakfast once in a while was still a treat.
Some things never change, and to this day, I still appreciate a good basic mei fun with chili oil.
There’s something about simple mei fun, lo mein, or fried rice (three staples at any Chinese buffet or takeout place) that always wins me over. I think it’s all about texture. These three dishes can sit for a while without losing their texture. It’s kind of like cold pizza. All pizza is good pizza!
What is Mei Fun?
Mei fun noodles are thin rice noodles. This recipe uses dried rice noodles that are pre-cooked and then dried in the manufacturing process. All they need is a quick pre-soaking before adding them to soups or stir fries.
When it comes to rice noodles, I prefer them very thin (i.e. vermicelli), but you can find them in a variety of shapes. They vary from rounded to flat, narrow to wide.
While mei fun is traditionally made with thin rice vermicelli, you can use a different rice noodle if you have it on hand. Just be sure to follow the prep instructions on the back of the package.
Want to Make This Gluten-Free?
Rice noodles, made from just rice and water, are naturally gluten-free. To make this recipe gluten-free, simply use gluten-free soy sauce and oyster sauce, and substitute a gluten-free cooking sherry for the Shaoxing wine. Instead of dark soy sauce, you can use our dark soy sauce substitute or simply omit it.
Chicken Mei Fun: Recipe Instructions
Soak the dried rice noodles as per the instructions on the back of the package. To test whether or not they’ve been soaked enough, take a noodle and chew on it to make sure it’s no longer hard/dry. Drain thoroughly, shaking off the noodles to get rid of excess water.
In a large bowl, mix the rice noodles with 1 teaspoon of oil and ½ teaspoon dark soy sauce until evenly coated.
Add the chicken to a medium bowl, along with the water, oyster sauce, Shaoxing wine, cornstarch, white pepper, five spice, and vegetable oil. Marinate for 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, prepare the ginger, shallots, carrot, cabbage, and scallions. Have everything ready to go before you turn on the stove.
Heat your wok over high heat until it just starts to smoke (find out why in our post on how to prevent food from sticking to your wok). Add 3 tablespoons oil, followed by the ginger and chicken.
Stir-fry until the chicken is just cooked through.
Add the shallots, and stir-fry for 10 seconds.
Add the cabbage and carrots, and stir-fry for another 30 seconds.
Season everything with 1½ tablespoons light soy sauce, ½ teaspoon sesame oil, and ¼ teaspoon white pepper. Mix well.
Finally, add the prepared rice noodles along with the scallions.
Turn the heat down to medium and stir-fry everything together to heat the noodles through and distribute the chicken and vegetables. Salt to taste.
If you like more al dente noodles, you can serve immediately. If you like softer noodles, add 2 tablespoons of water to the wok, cover, and cook for a minute over low heat before serving.