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This Easy Tofu & Vegetable Mei Fun Should Be Part of Your Vegan Recipe Rotation
This Singapore Mei Fun recipe is the one I reach for more than any other recipe. It’s super easy to put together and it tastes amazing!
Singapore Mei Fun is a Cantonese noodle dish — a Chinese-Indian fusion, which features yellow curry and Chinese BBQ stir-fried with crisp vegetables and thin rice vermicelli noodles.
Why Are They Called Singapore Noodles?
The origin of this dish seems to have little to do with Singapore. The first preparations of Singapore noodles reportedly come from Hong Kong, where British-imported yellow curry was combined with Southeast Asian rice noodles.
In my opinion, the curry flavor in Singapore noodles is what makes it a uniquely flavored dish. If you’re not familiar with curry, it can be a little bit confusing. Curry is actually a very broad term that can be used to describe a lot of dishes. Many different cultures, from Indian to Thai to Japanese, have curry dishes. There are curry powders and curry pastes, wet curries and dry curries. Some curries are spicy, while others are mild.
Want to learn all about curry? Check out my What Is Curry post!
This Singapore Mei Fun recipe uses an Indian yellow curry powder. Yellow curry powder features onion, garlic, ground mustard, ginger, coriander and cumin. It gets its brilliant yellow color from turmeric. Yellow curry powder is easy to find in the spice aisle of any grocery store, but lately I’ve really been enjoying French Masala Curry from Spice Jungle.
What is Shaoxing Wine?
One of the most unique ingredients in this Singapore Mei Fun recipe is Shaoxing wine. If you’ve never cooked with it before, you aren’t alone. This was a new one for me as well.
Shaoxing wine is a Chinese cooking wine. It’s fermented from rice and a common feature in many Southeast Asian recipes. It’s more complex than rice wine, with a slight sweetness.
Truth be told, I could not find it in my small Colorado mountain town, so I did have to order it online. While there are substitutes (keep reading), I do think it’s worth having a bottle of it in house. It adds a unique flavor to your Chinese cooking.
If you can’t find Shaoxing wine, you can substitute dry cooking sherry or mirin. If you decide to use mirin, omit the sugar in this recipe as mirin is already quite sweet. Rice wine can also be used as a substitute.
What is Mei Fun?
Mei fun is very thin, dried rice noodles. They’re sometimes referred to as stick noodles and are frequently used in Southeast Asian cooking. You can also find them in my Easy Vegan Miso Soup and they’re a popular addition to Thai spring rolls as well.
Mei fun is easy to prepare. Just soak it briefly in very hot water until the noodles are mostly softened. You don’t want to fully cook them in hot water because they will also be stir fried later in this Singapore Mei Fun recipe’s preparation.
Making Vegan Singapore Mei Fun Recipe
Traditional Singapore Mei Fun usually includes several non-vegan ingredients. Chinese BBQ pork, eggs and shrimp are often found in recipes and oyster sauce is used as well. Despite this, I find that Singapore Mei Fun actually adapts really well into a vegan dish.
Introducing: Tofu & Vegetable Mei Fun
For this vegan Singapore Mei Fun recipe, I swapped out the meat, seafood and eggs with tofu. To keep this dish simple (one of the things I love most about it), I just quickly pan-fried a block of tofu in my wok. On nights when I have some more time to be creative, I marinate the tofu in a Chinese BBQ Sauce first. It’s quite wonderful really, as the Chinese BBQ sauce caramelizes in the hot wok makes the tofu sticky and sweet.
I omit the oyster sauce entirely, although there are vegan oyster sauce substitutes on the market. The really key to this Tofu & Vegetable Mei Fun dish though? The vegetables! You can get as colorful as you want here. I typically add red, green and yellow bell peppers, broccolini, asparagus, carrots and shiitake mushrooms. I like to cook them in my wok until they are vibrant with a still-crisp texture.
Is This Tofu & Vegetable Mei Fun Spicy
Nope! This Singapore Mei Fun recipe is pretty mild. Yellow curry is among the most mild of the Indian curries. I would describe this Tofu & Vegetable Mei Fun as warm and sweet, as the recipe calls for a small amount of sugar. I do like spice though, so I usually add a little bit of crushed red pepper or sriracha sauce to my individual bowl.
Do You Love This Tofu & Vegetable Mei Fun Recipe?
Do you love this Singapore Mei Fun recipe? Be sure to check out my other vegan Chinese recipes! If you’re into that Chinese BBQ sauce, then my Asian BBQ Tofu Bowl is for you! Forever craving lo mein? Then you’ll love my Easy Vegetable Lo Mein!
Forget takeout! This vegan version of vegetable lo mein is packed with vegetables & oh-so-delicious ramen noodles. In addition to a ton of veggies, I used Lotus Foods’ Organic Jade Pearl Rice Ramen Noodles™, which offer that same savory taste & pleasantly chewy sensation as the egg noodles traditionally used in lo mein recipes (but with a vegan & gluten-free friendly bonus).
Craving takeout? Get your fix with this vegan Chinese food recipe: Spicy Asian BBQ Tofu Bowls. This easy Chinese food recipe will have dinner on the table in no time and make homemade Chinese food you’re go-to instead of picking up your phone. Jasmine rice, steamed broccoli and sweet & spicy tofu, this vegan Chinese food recipe will have your taste buds singing (and help you to avoid throwing away all of those takeout containers)!
Tofu & Vegetable Mei Fun
This Tofu & Vegetable Mei Fun recipe is the one I reach for more than any other recipe. It’s super easy to put together and it tastes amazing. If you have made Singapore Mei Fun before, it’s a Cantonese noodle dish.
Optional Chinese BBQ Sauce
- 6 tbsp hoisin sauce
- 2 tbsp unseasoned rice vinegar
- 2 tbsp tamari
- 2 tbsp maple syrup
- 1/4 cup low sodium tamari
- 1/4 cup Shaoxing wine Chinese rice wine; see my blog post for substitution ideas
- 1 tbsp yellow curry powder
- 1 tbsp white sugar
- 1/2 tsp white pepper
Singapore Noodles & Vegetables
- 1 10 oz block extra firm tofu drained and pressed (and marinated if doing the Chinese BBQ Tofu)
- 1 8 oz pkg vermicelli rice noodles
- 20-25 shiitake mushrooms washed, destemmed and sliced
- 1/2 cup water
- 3 tbsp safflower oil divided; or substitute with another high heat tolerant, neutral tasting oil
- 2 scallions washed, trimmed and sliced with the white parts separated from the green parts
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 bunch asparagus washed, trimmed and sliced into bite-sized pieces
- 1 bunch broccolini washed, trimmed and cut into bite-sized pieces
- 1 carrot washed and spiralized or cut into bite-sized pieces
- 1/2 red bell pepper washed, deseeded and cut into slices
- 1/2 yellow bell pepper washed, deseeded and cut into slices
- 1/2 green bell pepper washed, deseeded and cut into slices
- salt & pepper to taste
- crushed red pepper to taste
- sriracha to taste
Prepare the rice vermicelli noodles in accordance with the package directions. Remember to slightly undercook the noodles. They will continue to cook once added to the wok.
Combine the tamari, Shaoxing wine, yellow curry powder, sugar and white pepper in a small mixing bowl. Set aside.
Heat the wok and add the shiitake mushrooms and ½ cup of water. Simmer the mushrooms until the water has almost cooked off.
Add 1 tbsp of safflower oil, the scallion whites and the salt to the wok. Sauté for 1-2 minutes until the mushrooms are just beginning to crisp. Remove the mushrooms and scallions from the wok and set aside. Wipe out the wok.
If making the Chinese BBQ tofu, see the Recipe Notes. Add 1 tbsp safflower oil to the wok. When shimmering, add the tofu cubes and stir fry until the tofu becomes a golden brown. About 4-6 minutes. Remove the tofu from the wok and wipe out the wok.
Add the remaining tbsp of safflower oil to the wok. When shimmering, add the asparagus, broccolini, bell peppers and carrots to the wok. Stir fry the veggies until they are vibrant in color, but still crisp. About 2-3 minutes. Add the tofu and mushrooms back to the wok.
Push the stir-fried vegetables and tofu to the side of the wok and add the soaked vermicelli noodles. Gently stir fry the noodles. 1-2 minutes. Begin to combine the noodles with the stir-fried vegetables.
Add the curry sauce. Stir the sauce into the noodles and vegetables until they are thoroughly coated and the finished dish is hot. The sauce should cook down slightly.
Serve immediately garnished with scallion greens, crushed red pepper and sriracha, if desired.
- To make the Chinese BBQ Tofu, combine the hoisin sauce, rice vinegar, tamari and maple syrup. Add the cubed tofu to the marinade and set aside while preparing the vegetables. Use a slotted spoon to remove the tofu from the marinade before adding the tofu to the wok.
- Shaoxing wine is a fermented Chinese rice wine, but usually includes a small amount of wheat, so this dish cannot be considered gluten-free.
About Herbivore’s Kitchen
Herbivore’s Kitchen is a plant-based food blog started by me, a vegan home chef, cookbook author, aspiring food photographer and how-to-be-a-better-food-blogger junkie. You’ll mostly find creative and tasty vegan recipes and detailed deep dives into vegan ingredients (check out my Vegucation section) on my blog. I love knowing as much as I can about the food that I make. I’m also really into running a food blog as a business, so I’ve also got a section of my blog titled: Confessions of a Food Blogger where I get into the nitty gritty on how to build, manage, market and monetize a food blog.