It’s funny how some foreign phrases translate into something hilarious when pronounced in English. You see that a lot in Hawaii. A restaurant on Oahu called Phuket Thai comes to mind, LOL. There’s one particular dish, however, that’s really become the “life of the party” on Game Day at my household because of its fun tendencies.
They’re a Chinese noodle dish called look funn and when in plain form, you might actually think it looks funny! They come out of the steamer as a sheet of folded noodles. But when in its chow mein form, they’re the slippery white strips mixed with veggies and meats. My family likes to eat the plain noodles with an oyster dipping sauce and a side of char siu, or a sweet pork meat.
Clockwise from top left: Char siu meat, look funn noodles and chips and dip for a Super Bowl party.
There’s one particular noodle shop in Chinatown that specializes in making these rice noodles. It’s called Ying Leong Look Funn Factory. As a kid, I remember going to the aged shop with my mom. We’d have to go really early to get the good stuff, she’d tell me, and by that, she meant the really fresh stuff.
If it was during Chinese New Years, we’d stand in a long line that spilled out onto the sidewalk. Sometimes we’d wait for 10, 20 minutes, but every time it seemed my patience as a kid was about to run out, I’d look up, and there was the smiling Chinese lady, ready to take our order. We’d never have to wait from that point, as she swiftly wrapped the fresh noodle present with butcher paper before handing it over to us and waving goodbye.
The shop on Kekaulike Street serves other noodle dishes, like char siu look funn. That’s the same rice noodle but with the previously mentioned sweet pork meat mixed in. You can see the workers in the open kitchen area, prepping and steaming new batches. You can just tell they were at it from the wee hours of the morning because by the time the shop opens at 5 a.m., they already look fatigued. But no matter how tired, they still manage to pump out the best noodles in town.
YING LEONG LOOK FUNN FACTORY • 1028 Kekaulike S., Honolulu, HI 96817 • 808-537-4304
Posted by: Bruce Fisher