I don’t just like this dish, I LOVE this dish. In a way, Singapore-Style Rice Vermicelli (星洲炒米) (Singapore rice noodles or Singapore Mei Fun) is part of the identity of Hong Kong cuisine. It’s a dish that every Hong Konger is familiar with growing up along with other east-meets-west fusion fairs that you can find in a Cha Chaan Teng. Now, listen, you can’t find this dish in Singapore. It’s not that they don’t eat stir-fried rice vermicelli there (they DO!), it’s just not the same thing with the same taste. So why is Singapore-Style Rice Vermicelli (星洲炒米) called Singapore-style rice vermicelli then?
Well, let me take a step back real quick and mention that an authentic Singapore fried rice vermicelli is actually called fried bee hoon which does not include curry, nor it is spicy. Fried bee hoon can be considered as “street food” because it’s served in a lot of cooked food centre or food hawkers in Singapore, and it’s fast, cheap, and filling (and often eaten as breakfast). Learn how to make economical fried bee hoon from Whisk and Knife.
So… where did the curry come from in most of the Singapore-style rice vermicelli dishes outside of Singapore? I have not been able to find the true answer but many seem to think that the curried rice vermicelli dish was born in Hong Kong’s Cha Chaan Tengs. And because it’s cooked with curry and it’s very similar to fried bee hoon, “Singapore Noodle” was created.
- 2 pieces of Wai Wai brand dried rice vermicelli
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tsp peeled and grated fresh ginger
- 8-10 medium raw shrimp, shelled and deveined
- ½ lb char siu, thinly sliced
- 2 eggs, beaten, cooked, and sliced
- 1 cup of red bell pepper, thinly sliced
- ½ medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
- a few slices of long hot green peppers
- 5 tbsp soy sauce
- 2 tbsp cooking wine
- 2½ tsp curry powder
- ½ tsp sugar
- ½ tsp white pepper powder
- Start by soaking the dried rice vermicelli in a large mixing bowl with some warm water while prepping for other ingredients. You may choose to cut them down in halves, in order for them to be fully submerged.
- Mix the sauce together and set aside.
- In medium-high heat, drizzle some oil in the pan or wok. Cook the shrimp for about 2 minutes each side then set aside.
- Drain the rice vermicelli. (For easier stirring while cooking it with all the other ingredients, you may choose to cut the noodle down roughly. I like it this way also because it’s easier to eat, shorter noodles make better “bite sizes”. But that’s just a completely personal taste.)
- Drizzle some oil in the pan/wok. Cook the garlic and ginger until fragrant, then add all the vegetables. Cook for 3-4 minutes until soften or until onion is transparent in color. Set aside.
- Drizzle some more oil in the pan/wok. Cook the rice vermicelli until it turns soft, about 3 minutes, then add the vegetable, shrimp, char siu, and eggs. Give it a big stir while adding the sauce. Let it cook for another few minutes until the sauce is all mixed in. Stir frequently.
- Serve immediately (with some garlic chili sauce on the side).
Notes If char siu isn’t available, try ham, bacon, or shredded pork.
Here’s a tip I picked up when cooking shrimp: straight shrimp are undercooked, shrimp that have just curled into a C-shape are perfectly cooked, and shrimp that have twisted into an O-shape are overcooked.