Chaota Bee Hoon (Burnt Fried Vermicelli)


If you know me, you’ll know I like chaota (burnt) bits. I’ll scrape the burnt bits off the bottom of a pan and eat them. I even once went to a hibachi place and asked for the chef to give me the burnt bits instead of throwing it away. I love burnt bits! They are delicious! Like Alton Brown says “brown is better.” And this is why – the Maillard reaction!

I have had chaota bee hoon once. It’s not a very commonly found dish because people thing burnt = cancer. There are many degrees of burnt-ness and this just comes nowhere close to the cancer-causing types. The burnt-ness here just gives a nice crunch and an extra aroma that you cannot get if nothing gets burnt. Try it, it is good! 🙂


  • 1/2 pound beef, sliced
  • 1/2 pound dried vermicelli, soaked in cold water
  • 1 red pepper, cut into bite sized pieces
  • 8 napa cabbage leaves, sliced
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoons cooking oil

Seasoning for Vermicelli

  • 1 tablespoon light soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1/2 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon white pepper powder
  • [optional] pinch of red pepper flakes

Marinade for Beef

  • 4 tablespoons corn starch
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon light soy sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon white pepper powder


To marinate beef, add all the ingredients of the marinade in a bowl, then mix to combine.

Add beef to the marinade, and toss beef so that the beef is evenly coated in the marinade. Let marinate for at least 1 hour.

Add all the ingredients for the seasoning for the vermicelli in a small bowl and set aside.


In a heated pan or wok, add oil, then fry the minced garlic until golden brown and fragrant.

Add beef, then fry until the beef is half cooked.

Add vermicelli, then cover for about 1 minute.


After 1 minute, toss the vermicelli around to combine with the beef. Add red pepper and napa cabbage to the work, frying to combine. Add eggs over the vermicelli, cover for 30 seconds, before frying to combine again.

Add seasoning for vermicelli and fry until everything is evenly combined.

Turn the heat to high and do not toss or fry the vermicelli. Only fold the vermicelli over every 30 seconds so that the vermicelli at the bottom of the pan gets crispy, but not burnt.

Do this four or five times, until most of the vermicelli has some degree of burning.

Serve and enjoy!



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