Hengyang Yufen! An absolute classic from Hunan, this rice noodle is a deceptively easy thing to whip up – basically just rice noodles in with a mildly spicy, milky fish soup that is *way* more than the sum of its parts.

0:00 – Hengyang’s Famed Rice Noodles
0:34 – Why Hunan Food is (often) easier to make at home
1:25 – What kind of fish to use?
2:20 – Process Overview
2:49 – What kind of Rice Noodles to use?
3:14 – Boil Rice Noodles, Reserve
3:29 – Shallow Fry, Remove Oil
3:56 – Fry with Chili & Aromatics
4:15 – Add Hot Water, Boil ~8min
4:25 – Add Napa & (Optional) Eggs
4:40 – Season and Serve
4:47 – Re the Zhajiang Country Version


This makes 2 bowls.

Note on scaling up: the quantity of fish that we used (2 fillets) would actually be enough for four bowls (two liters) of soup. So if you want to scale up to 3-4 portions, scale everything up but keep the fish quantity the same. Scaling past that point, you’d probably want to look at increasing the fish quantity.

Also, because this recipe is *almost* “Western Supermarket Club” as is, free free to swap in dry sherry or sake for the Shaoxing wine if you gotta. On that note though, note that MSG is sold as “Accent” in the west.

* Fish fillets, 2 (we used Tilapia – 罗非鱼) -or- ~300g of the bones.

* Rice noodles, 200g. The Vietnamese sort of rice noodles can be found here: https://www.amazon.com/Cathay-Vietnamese-Stick-Vermicelli-Noodles/dp/B0821V4M46/ and here: https://www.sayweee.com/en/product/Simply-Food-Fresh-Rice-Vermicelli/37504 . Weee! also has Jiangxi rice noodles which could also be used, though you might need to boil them for longer and/or soak beforehand: https://www.sayweee.com/en/product/JiangXi-Rice-Vermicelli-/27016

* Chili/Aromatics: 2 cloves garlic, minced; ~1/2 inch ginger, minced; 1 scallion white, cut into sections; 2 chilis, sliced. For the chili, we used Heaven Facing chili (朝天椒). Thai bird’s eye would have a similar flavor but be much spicier, so only use one if you’re using bird’s eye. But really, any not-smoked chili would be totally fine. You can even use fresh chili.

* Liaojiu a.k.a. Shaoxing wine, ~1 tbsp (料酒/绍酒)

* Napa cabbage, ~30g. Sliced into ~1.5 inch sections.

* Optional: poached eggs, 2-4

* Seasoning: 1.25 tsp salt, 1/8 tsp MSG (味精), 1/8 tsp white pepper powder (白胡椒粉)

Sliced scallion to finish.


Slice your fish fillet into ‘domino sized’ pieces (~2 inch by ~1inch). Set aside.

Boil your rice noodles according to your package (for us, ours cook through in about six minutes). Strain, rinse under running water to stop the cooking process.

Mince the garlic and ginger, slice the chilis, cut the white part of the scallion into sections, slice the green part of the scallion.

In a wok – or really any not-sticky vessel (a cast iron dutch oven would also work, though would require more oil than a wok), add enough oil to get about ~1 inch deep. Heat it up to 190C, or about when you’re starting to see some faint wisps of smoke. Add the fish, keeping over a high flame – the temperature should dip to ~140C, which is what we want. Fry til golden brown, ~3 minutes. Shut off the heat and remove the frying oil – leaving the fish and a thin smear of oil.

Add the chilis and aromatics. Swap the flame back to high. Brief fry, ~30 seconds, then swirl in the win. After another brief ~30 second fry, add in the hot, boiled water. It should quickly return to a rapid boil, so cover, and let it boil for ~8 minutes.

At that point, the soup should be good and milky. Add the Napa, cover, and cook for ~2 minutes. Then add the (optional) poached eggs and seasoning. Transfer to serving bowls. Sprinkle over scallion greens.

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Outro Music: คิดถึงคุณจัง by ธานินทร์ อินทรเทพ
Found via My Analog Journal (great channel): https://youtu.be/GHaL5H-VYRg


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