If you love noodles and curry, you’ll love Singapore noodles.
They’re one of the most popular Chinese take out dishes out there, and for good reason! Along with wonton soup, sweet and sour chicken, sesame noodles, and fried rice, they are one of my go-to choices, especially when I’m in the mood for a warm and flavorful fried noodle dish.
When done well, Singapore noodles are amazing: the right mix of soft and chewy rice noodles tossed with crisp vegetables, juicy meats, and just the right amount of seasoning.
What are Singapore noodles?
Singapore noodles, sometimes called Singapore-style noodles or Singapore fried noodles, are a stir-fried rice vermicelli noodle dish flavored with curry powder. In Chinese, they’re called sing chow mei fun (星洲炒米) which translates to star continent fried vermicelli rice noodles, aka Singapore noodles. The noodles usually come with vegetables, scrambled eggs, and a protein, most commonly chicken, pork, shrimp, or a combination of all three. Contrary to the name, Singapore noodles are not from Singapore, but Hong Kong.
How to make Singapore noodles
- Prep the noodles – soak the noodles in a large bowl of cold tap water until pliable and slightly soft. Drain well.
- Prep the vegetables and proteins – slice the onion, julienne the carrot and bell pepper, and cut the green onions in to 1-2 inch lengths. Cut the meats into slices/bite sizes and peel and clean the shrimp.
- Prep the seasoning – in a bowl, mix together chicken stock, oyster sauce, curry powder, toasted sesame oil, salt, and sugar. Set aside.
- Cook the eggs – lightly beat the eggs, season with salt, then scramble in a large pan or wok until mostly set. Scoop the eggs out and set aside.
- Cook the proteins – if your pan needs it, give a bit of a wipe then stir fry the proteins, moving and tossing, until they’re cooked.
- Cook the vegetables – add the vegetables to the wok/pan and cook, stirring, and tossing, until the vegetables are crisp. This step won’t take long at all.
- Mix and Toss – add the noodles, the sauce you made earlier, and the eggs. Use a scooping lifting motion to toss and combine everything together until the noodles are hot and the ingredients are well distributed and seasoned. Taste and adjust if needed.
- Enjoy – eat up while fresh and hot!
Why this recipe
When done well, Singapore noodles are amazing, but they’re often not done well. Because they are a sauce-less fried noodle they can be prone to drying out, especially if you’re having them from a restaurant that isn’t a Singapore noodle specialist.
My answer to combating dry Singapore noodles is more sauce. I grew up eating Singapore noodles and my favorite iteration is not particularly traditional but is extremely delicious. Whenever I can, I love topping Singapore noodles with a flavorful curry chicken gravy. The savory, rich curry gravy makes the noodles extra saucy and addictive. Of course, extra curry gravy on top is not traditional so you can skip this extra step if you want, but trust me when I say that it definitely ups the flavors and enjoyability of Singapore noodles.
Are Singapore noodles from Singapore?
Nope, they aren’t! Singapore noodles come from Hong Kong via casual Hong Kong style cafes. The origins of the name is somewhat murky, but most people agree that Singapore noodles contain an eclectic mashup of distinct cultures and cuisines Singapore is known for: Chinese, Malaysian, and India. Singapore noodles are super popular in Hong Kong and in Chinese restaurants around the world. Singapore noodles are also a common takeout/delivery dish in America.
Are Singapore noodles spicy?
Not really – they’re more of a savory fried noodle dish with a hint of the warming spices found in curry powder. Curry powder is not inherently spicy, they range from mild to extra spicy depending on what is added to the mix. Generally, the curry powder used for Singapore noodles is on the mild side, used mostly for coloring and a hint of warming spice flavors, not spicy heat. If you like it hot, you can definitely make your noodles on the spicy side, but in restaurants, it’s a fairly mild noodle dish.
Singapore noodle ingredients
The noodles used in Singapore noodles are thin rice vermicelli noodles. Made from just rice and water, these noodles are very slightly chewy and absorb a huge amount of flavor. More on which noodles to buy, below.
Like all noodle stir fries, Singapore noodles are incredibly customizable. Classically you’ll find a mix of pork, chicken, and shrimp or any combination there of. The pork is typical char siu. Usually people just buy a 1/4 pound at the Asian grocery store – most Asian grocers have a Chinese BBQ meat section. If you don’t live near a Chinese grocery store, you can either make your own char siu, substitute in a well-marbled pork chop, or skip the pork all together.
The chicken can either be breast or thigh/drumstick meat. It’s cut into thin strips, so both work well. Shrimp wise, smaller shrimp work better so you can pick them up easily with your chopsticks and pop them in your mouth with noodles and vegetables. If you only have prawns on hand, you can simply cut them into smaller pieces. Either way, make sure to peel and devein. If you’re vegetarian, you can add tofu or skip out on the protein entirely.
A mix of vegetables that stand up to heat and stay crisp while being stir fried are key. The vegetables add flavor, color and texture. We usually like to include julienned bell peppers, onions, carrot, and green onions.
Soft scrambled eggs add delightful bits of texture and pops of yellow in the noodles. Be sure to lightly season your eggs so each fluffy curd tastes amazing.
Technically there’s no sauce for Singapore noodles, but I like to mix all the seasonings together with a bit of chicken stock so it’s easier for the curry powder to coat the noodles. We’re going to season with chicken stock, oyster sauce, curry powder, sesame oil, salt, and a touch of sugar. The curry powder matters because it’s where most of the flavor is going to be coming from so make sure your curry powder is fairly fresh and that it’s something you love the flavor of. I usually reach for a mild curry powder, like this one by Japanese brand S&B.
What kind of noodles for Singapore noodles?
Thin rice vermicelli is what is traditional for Singapore fried noodles. They’re thin, chewy, and pick up flavor and color beautifully. You can find them at your local Asian grocery store or in the International aisle in most neighborhood grocery stores. We typically like using the Wai Wai brand of noodles that come in a clear bag with red and white branding. Of course, there are dozens of brands that will work. Sometimes they label it as rice sticks or bihoon. Just take a look at the package, make sure the ingredients are rice and water and that the thickness of the noodles is about the size of angel hair pasta.
The best way to prepare vermicelli is by soaking so you rehydrate the noodles without breaking them. Typically, I soak them in cold water until pliable, for about 10-20 minutes. The rehydrated noodles then cook in the hot pan with minimal breakage.
What to serve with Singapore noodles
Singapore noodles are a complete meal with vegetables, protein, and a carb. That being said, if you want to create a feast, think about making and serving up these other Chinese takeout favorites:
- wonton soup
- kung pao chicken
- stir fried Chinese broccoli
- sesame noodles
- egg fried rice
PS – if you’re a noodle lover, as we definitely are, please check out our noodle cookbook, That Noodle Life for more noodle recipes!
Singapore Noodles Sauce
- 1/4 cup chicken stock
- 2 tbsp oyster sauce
- 1.5 tbsp curry powder
- 1.5 tbsp toasted sesame oil
- 2 tsp sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 6 oz rice vermicelli (thin)
- 3 tbsp neutral oil
- 2 large eggs lightly beaten
- 4 oz chicken breast or thigh, cut into strips, optional
- 12 shrimp peeled and deveined, optional
- 4 oz pork char siu preferred, optional, char siu recipe here
- 1 red bell pepper sliced
- 1/2 medium onion sliced
- 1/2 small carrot julienned
- 2 green onions julienned, or cut into 1.5 inch lengths
Soak the vermicelli in a large bowl filled with cold tap water until pliable, about 10-15 minutes. When soft and pliable, drain well and set aside.
Make the sauce: In a bowl, whisk together the chicken stock, oyster sauce, curry powder, sesame oil, salt, and sugar. Set aside.
Heat up 1 tbsp oil in a wok or large frying pan over medium high heat. When hot, add lightly beaten salted eggs and scramble, pushing from the outside in, until mostly set, but still slightly runny. Remove and set aside. If needed, wipe down your wok/pan if there are any egg bits left inside.
Heat up another tbsp of oil and add the protein (shrimp, chicken breast, and/or pork). Cook, stir frying and tossing, for 1-2 minutes, or until cooked through.
Add the bell pepper, onion, and carrots and stir fry for 15-30 seconds. Add the last tbsp of oil and then add the drained noodles, eggs, and sauce.
Fry, using a scoop and lift motion to loosen the noodles and incorporate all of the ingredients evenly amongst the noodles. Continue to stir fry, tossing and mixing, until everything is hot and the noodles are evenly seasoned with the sauce mix. This should take about 2-3 minutes.
Finish by tossing in the green onions, serve hot, and enjoy immediately.
prep 30 minutes
cook 15 minutes
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 small shallot, peeled and minced
1 tbsp minced ginger
1 tbsp curry powder
4 large boneless skinless chicken thighs cut into 1 inch pieces
1 tbsp neutral oil
1 tbsp all purpose flour
1 cup coconut milk
1/2 cup no sodium chicken stock
1/2 cinnamon stick
1 star anise pod
1.5 tsp fish sauce
1 tsp brown sugar
Using a mortar and pestle, pound together the garlic, shallots, ginger, and curry powder. Alternatively, pulse in the food processor until everything comes together in a loose paste. Coat the chicken throughly with the curry paste and marinate for 30 minutes.
In a sauce pan, heat up the oil over medium high heat and lightly sear the chicken until slightly golden, but not cooked all the way through.
When lightly browned, sprinkle on the flour and cook, stirring, until the flour coats and sticks to the chicken. Stir in the coconut milk, chicken stock, cinnamon stick, and star anise.
Simmer over low heat for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season with fish sauce and brown sugar. Serve spooned generously over Singapore noodles.
Estimated nutrition does not include your protein(s) of choice
Calories from Fat 164