Fresh Rice Noodles Made By Hand at Hawaii’s Look Fun Factory — Dining on a Dime


We’re on King Street heading towards Kekaulike Street where we are going to the Ying Leong Look Funn Factory. It is in Honolulu’s Chinatown which is one of the oldest Chinatowns in the United States. It is a business that has been around maybe 70 years to my understanding, under its current ownership about 40 years. The “look funn” in this case is the dish: it is a take on the traditional dim sum dish the cheung fun which literally means “intestine noodle” because it looks like an intestine. It is usually a noodle that is wrapped around some sort of filling, in this case at Ying Leong, the bits of morsels are mixed in with the noodle mixture. So the rice is put into the funnel — pulverize, liquefied — into what is going to become the noodle before it spread on the pan. That is when the toppings go in. Then it’s sort of maneuvered around the pan and set to steam. They solidify into the noodles and then they’re wrapped up. I’m super excited to be here and I can’t wait to eat it. “My name’s Alice.” Aloha, it’s so nice to meet you. “My husband started the business, he’s from China, too.” “He came here in 1963, before me.” “He was coming into work, to survive.” “He was single, not married, so after we met about 10 years later, we met so we got married.” You met and you fell in love? “Yeah, he’s a hard worker.” Can you tell me about the look funn? “Ok we have the plain noodles like all the other restaurants. This is like extra, for customers coming. There is chau siu, shrimp, and mushroom. The favorite is char siu.” Is that your favorite? “My favorite is mushroom.” Oh, mushroom’s your favorite. “I want to stay healthy!” But this is different then cheung fun, that’s a plain noodle wrapped with the stuff inside. “The way they make is Hong Kong style. They use flour, we use rice, so it’s a little bit thicker. So local style is like this.” And you mix the green onion and the pork, you mix it in the noodle? “The green onion is stuffed inside. It mixed the favor.” And you eat it with soy sauce? “Soy sauce, you can use oil sauce or hot chili sauce.” Well it looks amazing, I will try a little bit of each. I want to try one of the chau siu, one of the shrimp, one of the mushroom, thank you. What did you order today? “I ordered the plain look funn and I also ordered that looks fun with chau siu.” And have you been coming here for a while? “Yeah, over 70 years.” Wow. “Yeah they do the old-style. The new style, when I went to China, is very thin and they do machine. I tried this and I tried the one that was machine — it’s flat, didn’t have the taste. You know you get used to a certain type. My grandniece always loved look funn so I would bring it to her in Japan from here, and I also take it to the mainland.” Here we are look funn. So let’s try this one, this is the classic, the original. This is the chau siu. So it’s cool, so you got that really satisfying, chewy, cold, glutinous texture of that rice noodle, which I love. I love chow fung noodles, those thick broad rice noodles. And this is a similar kind of thing. It’s got those nice little red bits, slightly sweet barbecue pork, the chau siu, within the noodle, along with some of the green onion. There’s something very satisfying about it and it’s nice just like aesthetically, it’s very pleasing. lt looks like candy or something like that, just with the little colorful orange and red bits dotted throughout the white sort of glossy rice. Let’s just try another flavor, so this guy is shrimpl Great, too. Similar to the pork except it has shrimp so instead of having that sweet meat flavor you get a little bit more of that salty brine sea flavor within the rice noodle. And then lastly we have a mushroom one which Alice said was her favorite. I like that one too, you have to like mushrooms. You have to like that earthiness, that sort of wet dankness of a mushroom, which I love. The pork is great, the shrimp is great, all-in-all you absolutely can taste the difference when you have a noodle made from rice as opposed to a noodle made from flour. The composition of the rice is going to give it a chewy elasticity which you want to have, they are not dropping these noodles into vats of boiling water, they’re just putting them in a steamer for a few minutes. I don’t think you could prepare wheat noodles in the same way. Texture-wise it certainly is different than a wheat noodle. Taste-wise it’s different as well. Rice is maybe a little bit more of a blank canvas that also happens to taste sort of vaguely of something delicious like meat or onions. I really hope you enjoyed this episode of Dining on a Dime, we are in Chinatown in Honolulu at the Ying Leong Look Funn Factory. If you’d like to watch more, please click here.

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Comments

  1. I get the feeling that Hawaii is filled with great folks with really homely and cute stories to tell. 🙂 Loving the series' you're doing in Hawaii at the mo'. Makes me want to go even more! 🙂

  2. Bottled water: $1??????????😱😰😰😰😨😨 with that amount of money, i can buy 2-5 bottles in my country 😲

  3. I notice Lucas has a unique walk/stroll haha … relax and casual … appear like his personality haha … food looks great too …

  4. Eater, give Lucas longer videos. 10-15 minute mark.
    And does Lucas have his own channel? Would love to see some personal vlogs.

  5. I've had chee cheong fun in Malaysia before, I wouldn't say it's one of my faves, in general I'm not fond of rice noodles, probably because of the texture. But as Lucas said, it's a blank canvass and it kind of absorbs whatever flavor of the ingredient it is mixed with, compared to egg noodles for example.

    It's interesting how the chinese cuisine has spread around the globe due to the immigrants. some recipes have evolved into new ones depending on the ingredients available in the area.

  6. This is my childhood from the core!!!! You can't believe my joy when I saw this video! This was my mom's quick meal for the family, when we lived in Hawaii. Thank you for reminding me of my childhood comfort food!

  7. if you folks are putting out shows on "Hawaiian" food, when is it gonna show? So far, I've seen Filipino, Vietnamese, Japanese, Caucasian, and now Chinese food. You gotta do a whole video on the Mana Pa'i'ai folks, Daniel and crew, and what they are doing to revive the method of pounding taro, breadfruit into a real Hawaiian super food, Pa'i'ai….thx Lucas!

  8. The reason the thin ones are more popular in China is because they think the more transparent the noodle looks, the better or higher quality, me personally, I like em thick

  9. Lucas high above other hosts for making the people he interviews laugh and allow them to tell their stories. As a former food journalist in San Francisco this is no easy tasks.

  10. This reminds me of Gujarati (Indian region) dish called Khandvi, it's a similar noodle, but made from gram flour as opposed to rice.

  11. Rice noodles are the best. They should totally serve the version with the Chinese donut in the middle though. That one is just amazing.

  12. I like chili oil and shoyu with this as well, but I wish he'd try it plain first. Idk how clean of a taste he's getting with all the condiments on it

  13. Hey there! These big thick savory funn noodles are A+. Big thanks to everyone there. And, as always, thanks to YOU MY DEAR VIEWERS. I hope you're all doing fantastically. See you next week with more from the island of Oahu~~~!!! XOXOXOX Lucas

  14. They look delish and remind me of the Vietnamese banh cuon, which I absolutely love! 'Cept we eat our banh cuon with a ton more stuff on it and flavored fish sauce, of course. 🙂

  15. Lucas! I love the way you interview people. you ask great questions and take a genuine interest in them. thanks for another great food review.

  16. Strangely different in comparison to Cheong Fun but i still think its missing some chill sauce complimented with some hoi sin and peanut sauce.

  17. The only thing I've had in China town was pho at a few different places. Next time I'm at the farmers market I know where I wanna eat! Mahalo Lucas for showcasing Hawaii in your recent videos 🙌

  18. Interesting, and Lucas is so authentic. I understood what he meant by churng fun, which I've had countless times at dim sum restaurants. I didn't know they were wheat though, I assumed they were rice as well. Anyway, I really enjoy it with the soy sauce they pour over them, which isn't as salty, I think it's a soy sauce that is mellowed with some sugar and possibly a few other ingredients so it's less salty. I've seen it labeled as soy sauce for fish, but it seems to work great on tofu, veggies, and other items where you're not looking for as strong a flavor.

  19. The lady owner is such a sweetheart! We have a similar dish in Malaysia called 'laksam', which I think is a sort of specialty in Kelantan, one of the states in which I currently live in. It's served with broth made from coconut milk, some chilli paste and some greens, usually spring onions. It does look and taste rather bland but the saltiness of the broth and the slight kick from the chilli kind of brings the flavours together, I guess.

  20. My Mom makes something that translates to "pig intestine gaw" similar to look fun, but also traditional dim sum rice roll. Green onion in a thin rice roll, like the look fun, except you don't roll it all together, but stuff the middle of the roll with preserved vegetable, peanuts, and dried meat. Awesome village food.

  21. I've been binge-watching lucas' videos for a while. and i noticed that he always says SATISFYING in describing his food.

  22. this is literally my favourite video on the whole of YouTube. I just feel like it's so calming and I watch it before stressful events to calm down. am I weird?!?!?!

  23. Dude ur hitting the right spots! Still one of my favorite spots in Chinatown…. over 30yrs! These noodles viet style………u need to try

  24. Poi was my first food then my grandma used to feed me Look fun from this restaurant ❤ LOYAL CUSTOMER FOR 28 YEARS 😁

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