Low Carb Ipoh Hor Fun


Dad just celebrated his 84th birthday! It was a rather muted celebration because mum has Covid-19 and we couldn’t have visitors over. We ordered a special parents’ set lunch from Putien and he really enjoyed that. I’m thankful that he has an amazing appetite and really loves his food. He’s always been very adventurous food-wise, but I’ve noticed he has gone back to his roots and particularly loves Chinese food and local dishes. So it was such a pleasure watching him enjoy his lunch.

It was only a day later that I remembered…it’s my 9th diaversary; it was in 2013 that I was discovered to have an off-the-charts HbA1C from abrupt loss of islet cell function. In the beginning I remember I struggled a lot with grieving over loss of health and freedom of food choices, but I’m so thankful that I discovered Dr Richard Bernstein’s Diabetes Solution and how to manage the extremes of glucose levels through a low carbohydrate diet. The community has been really awesome as well and Type1GRIT has been my source of a lot of wisdom in the day to day management.

Of course things have evolved hugely in the past 9 years. Shirataki noodles is now much more available in Singapore and the game changer of course is oat fiber shirataki noodles that doesn’t spike my sugars. I think the next big hurdle would be convenience low carb noodles – I’ve always had an issue about food insecurity when traveling. Not all the shirataki noodle packets can travel without refrigeration. And even some types may not be instantly usable because the noodles are usually packed in some kind of smelly lime water that needs drainage and lots of rinsing and boiling away.

I was scammed recently. During the last 6-6 Shopee sale I came across a seller offering Nissin-like cup noodles for about $48 for 12 cups. The noodles were advertised to be oat fiber shirataki. And when they came, they were actually Nissin cup noodles but with labeling and marketing in Chinese! The seller feigned ignorance and claimed it was a correct product until I sent 2 pictures of the nutritional label for the product I bought and regular Nissin cup noodles – both were 48g carbohydrate in a cup! It was definitely a scammer because she wanted to refund me $16 only; I refused and asked for a full refund. The whole episode reminded me that there are no shortcuts. I guess it was too good to be true to have an instant cup noodle that is low carb or keto friendly.

Anyway noodles at home are easily done when you have oat-fiber shirataki noodles or other kinds of low carb noodle. We’ve been eating at home a fair bit because kid#1 caught Covid-19, followed soon after by grandma. It’s been a little awkward in terms of meals as I had a major in-person event that I could not be sick for and kid#2 was about to go to the UK for her holiday. So we practiced reverse isolation to keep ourselves safe and we all dodged the bullet! Even grandpa who shared the same room with grandma and doesn’t mask up. I am deeply grateful for divine timing because I had brought my parents for their Novavax booster just about 2 weeks before the virus visited the household. I think grandma’s infection was so mild that it was just like a blip in the road.

So we took to doing simple one pot meals for different ones to help themselves. The non Covid-19 folks ate in their rooms and the already infected and grandpa whom we were so sure would catch Covid-19 ate in the dining room. Thankfully none of those who caught Covid-19 lost their sense of taste or smell so they could still enjoy their meals.

I made this simple Ipoh Hor Fun – I’ve always had lovely memories of this dish in a stall in the old Funan center. It speaks comfort food to me and is not heavy at all. The low carb subsitutes includes the noodles – Iroha Mart in Plaza Singapura carries a nice thin flat rice noodle-like shirataki. Instead of using a corn flour slurry, xanthan gum can be used to thicken up the gravy. This is a relatively uncomplicated recipe and is wonderful for a weekday lunch.

Low Carb Ipoh Hor Fun

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print


  • 500g chicken breast
  • 8 dried Shiitake mushrooms
  • 1 bunch of chye sim or any other leafy green vegetable
  • 500g fresh prawns, peeled
  • 500 ml homemade chicken stock
  • 500 ml water
  • 2 tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp ground white pepper
  • 1 tsp sugar substitute
  • 3/4 tsp xanthan gum
  • 1/2 tsp salt


  1. Soak the mushrooms for about 20 minutes in hot boiled water, then remove and slice thinly.
  2. Bring another 500 ml water to boil and add 1/2 tsp of salt and simmer the chicken breasts for 15 minutes. Remove and let the chicken cool, then shred the chicken and set aside.
  3. In the poaching liquid for the chicken, boil the prawns for 2 minutes till just cooked, then set aside.
  4. In the same poaching liquid, blanch the vegetables for 1-2 minutes, then set aside.
  5. Pour the poaching liquid, mushrooms, mushroom soaking liquid and chicken stock into a pot and bring to a boil. Add the dark and light soy sauce, ground white pepper and sugar substitute. Stir and taste and adjust the seasoning.
  6. When the stock is boiling sprinkle 3/4 tsp xanthan gum on the surface of the liquid and stir well till the stock thickens.
  7. Prepare the shirataki noodles according to instructions. In shallow bowls, place one serving of shirataki noodles to each bowl and top with chicken, prawns, vegetable, and spoon the mushrooms and gravy over the noodles. Serve hot with a side of chilli sauce (I love 老干妈 brand the best).

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