How To Cook Ipoh Kai Si Hor Fun (Dry-Style)

Ipoh is a long way from my hometown of Seremban but they share one thing in common, which is that both used to be colonial-era mining towns. When I finally had the chance to visit Ipoh several years ago, I  felt an instant connection because it reminded me of a graceful Seremban from a bygone era, just bigger. Another fond memory of growing up in Seremban was accompanying my parents to breakfast with their Tai Chi crowd (my dad taught tai chi in the mornings).

One of the kopitiams we used to frequent had a stall that sold a rice noodle dish with shredded chicken and prawns which is known as “Ipoh Kai Si Hor Fun” (literally, Ipoh shredded chicken noodles). Ipoh Kai Si Hor Fun is a soupy noodle dish, but for whatever reason, the stall that sold it in Seremban offered a dry-style (kon loh in Cantonese) as well, and that’s the one that’s stuck with me over the years.

(For the best part of my life I thought having “kon loh” Ipoh Kai Si Hor Fun was just a menu option; I’ve since found exactly zero people from Ipoh who have encountered their revered dish served dry-style, so I’m guessing the Ipoh hawker stall back in Seremban made it up, and it’s pretty genius.)

In this episode of Street Food Journeys: Malaysia, I decided to have a go at making this dry-style version of Ipoh Kai Si Hor Fun, since I’ve already previously published a soup version of it elsewhere on this website.

Here’s the replay; the cooking segment for this dish starts about 4 minutes in >>

Dry-Style Ipoh Kai Si Hor Fun


1.6kg whole chicken
4L water
1/2 cup garlic chives, cut into 2-inch lengths
6 fresh bird’s eye chillies, sliced
2 TBSP abalone sauce or oyster sauce
1 TBSP cooking caramel aka cooking caramel
1 TBSP sesame oil
1 tsp white pepper
1 TBSP chicken powder
1/2 cup water
2 cups prawn shells
3 TBSP oil
1 kg narrow-cut fresh rice noodles
Water for boiling
2 TBSP Sesame Oil
1 tsp salt or chicken powder
1/2 tsp pepper
8 prawns, peeled and halved lengthwise
Crispy fried shallots
Crispy fried garlic
Prawn oil


  1. Bring water to a boil in a stock pot, that’s enough to submerge a whole chicken.
  2. Add chicken and reduce heat to its lowest setting. Simmer, covered, for 8 minutes.
  3. Turn the heat off, but keep lid covered for another 40 minutes. Remove chicken and place under cold running water to bring to room temperature.
  4. Drain the chicken, shred the meat and toss with sesame oil, white pepper and salt and/or chicken powder. Transfer chicken bones back into stock pot and simmer for at least an hour.
  5. Season with salt and/or chicken powder and white pepper.
  6. Combine sauce ingredients in a saucepan, bring to a simmer and cook until everything is dissolved. Set aside.
  7. Fry prawn shells with oil until crispy and aromatic. Transfer prawn shells and some of the oil into the stock pot.
  8. Saut’e prawns in remaining oil until just done; set aside.
  9. Bring water to a boil in a saucepan, cook the noodles, then drain.
  10. Serve noodles either with broth from stock pot or dry-style with 1/4 cup of the broth plus 2 TBSP of the sauce.
  11.  Top with shredded chicken, prawns, prawn oil, garlic chives and optionally garnish with crispy fried shallots and garlic crisps.
  12. Serve with a side of sliced bird’s eye chillies in light soya sauce.

This episode of Street Food Journeys: Malaysia (Perak) also includes a cooking segment by Masters of Malaysian Cuisine (MOMC) chef Bob Adnin, who made Ipoh Claypot Chicken Rice. The recipes for the entire series, produced in partnership with Tourism Malaysia Australia, can be found in the special edition MOMC eMagazine which you can download here >> Click to View or Download

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