Chow Fun: LA vs. NY

I’m a native New Yorker currently living in Los Angeles. I’ve noticed several differences in the preparation of dishes at run-of-the-mill Chinese restaurants, among them, the LA version of chow fun tends to consist of noodles similar to what you would in a pad thai but slightly wider, while the NY rendition is usually prepared with an even wider noodle that has a more slippery consistency. The latter, however, seems to be the standard version at restaurants in SGV.

Been wondering why this was the case for a while and figured someone on this board would have an idea.

In Cantonese cuisine, the wider and slightly thicker version is the standard for stir-frying, while the more narrow, but smoother and slightly more chewy, version is typically served in soups. The former is studier but some restaurants prefer the texture of the latter.


Yes, you can buy chow fun noodles in different varieties here–stir fry vs. soup and different width noodles. Chow fun noodles were tweaked probably 40 years ago to create a revolutionary difference. The old style chow fun noodle was harder, a little brittle, and not springy at all. I suspect the arrival of Vietnamese immigrants and the addition of starch to the recipe was the big difference.

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