Thursday, 15 August 2013

MFF Perak: Ipoh Sar Hor Fun (with Prawn Oil)

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Growing up in Ipoh, we were spoilt for good food, especially noodles. 

Ipoh is famous for its silky smooth rice noodles (sar hor fun), tofu and beansprouts, thanks to the clear and sweet waters running through the multitude of limestone hills surrounding the city.

One of the all time favourite food for those who hail from Ipoh is this Ipoh Chicken Sar Hor Fun - or loosely translated as Ipoh Chicken Noodle Soup. 

It is completely different from the usual chicken noodle soup as it uses prawn shells (in addition to chicken bones) to give a rich depth to the soup stock.  Additionally, the dish is served with a dollop of bright orange prawn oil on the noodles; a sure give-away sign that it is Ipoh Chicken Sar Hor Fun, and not any other chicken noodle soup.

When we did MFF Penang, I made Penang Prawn Mee, which has a similar stock base as the Ipoh Chicken Sar Hor Fun; both uses a combination of prawn shells and chicken carcasses as the soup base. 

Ipoh Chicken Sar Hor Fun
Serves 4

To make the soup stock

  • 1.5 kg medium size fresh prawns
  • 5 slices of ginger
  • 600g pork bones
  • 2 chicken carcasses
  • 1.5 litre water
  • 1 tsp chicken stock powder
  • 1 small piece of rock sugar
  • Salt and pepper to taste

For the toppings

  • 4-5 kampung chicken drumsticks, skin on
  • 300g large prawns, shelled and deveined
  • Half a packet of Ipoh beansprouts (the short and chubby type), rinsed
  • Small handful of chives, rinsed and slice into 3 inch lengths
  • 1 packet of fresh rice noodles (hor fun) 

1.  Blanch the chicken carcasses and pork bones in boiling water for about 4 minutes, rinsed and set aside.  Meanwhile, put the 1.5 litre water to boil. 

2.  Heat 5 tbspn of cooking oil, add the ginger slices and the prawn head and shells.  Fry until fragrant and the bright orange oil from the prawn heads and shell has oozes out.   Drain the prawn shells and add into the 1.5 litre of boiling water.  Set aside the fragrant prawn oil.

3.  Add the chicken carcasses and pork bones to the soup and bring to a rolling boil again.  Skim out any scum or oil that has floated to the top.  Turn down to simmer for about 2 hours.

4.  After two hours, add the chicken drumsticks into the soup and gently poach for about 20min.  Remove and chopped into bite size chunks or shred into thin strips.  Season with a dash of sesame oil, soy sauce and pepper.

A useful method to minimise splatter when chopping chicken.

Beautifully poached prawns

5.  Gently blanch the peeled prawns until just cooked.  Set aside.

6.  By now the soup will be very flavourful.  Adjust the taste with salt and pepper. 

7.  Bring another pot of water to a boil and quickly blanch the beansprouts and chives.  Drain and set aside.  Blanch the hor fun and apportion into 4 large bowls.  Top with some chicken meat, cooked prawns, beansprouts and chives.  Ladle a generous portion of soup onto the dish, add a good dollop of the prawn oil and serve immediately.   


  1. Hi Esther, I will never miss out sar hor fun when I visit Ipoh. It's so delicious. Thank you for sharing this recipe :)

  2. I wish I could slurp up all the soup via the screen... looks so good!


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