Founded by prize fighter Jimmy Bernstein in the late ’20s, Formosa Cafe is one of those old school Hollywood haunts, an LA institution if you will, operating out of a red trolley car and once famously frequented by the likes of Bogart and Sinatra, then later popping up in films like L.A. Confidential and Swingers. It was eventually restored in 2019, with the upstairs patio becoming one of our favorite outdoor dining spots in LA.
Serving Chinese comfort food at its finest, with a menu from Chef David Kuo—owner of beloved Taiwanese joint Little Fatty—we got them to break down a favorite classic dish you can recreate at home: Chow Fun Noodles, which can easily be made with or without meat, with the XO sauce lending a little kick to the umami flavor.
- 10 oz package of fresh flat rice noodles
- ½ cup fresh bean sprouts*
- 3 stems of fresh garlic chives or green onion (green parts only)
- 1 tbsp. XO Sauce
- 2 tbsp. soy sauce
- 1 tbsp. oil (peanut or grapeseed)
- Wash the bean sprouts, drain, and set aside. Wash and chop the garlic chives / green onion stems into 1 inch long pieces. Prepare the rice noodles by separating the noodles (if you see them stuck together). The best way to do this is to gently massage them between your hand and a cutting board.
- Heat up a wok or large sauté pan to the highest heat for about 1 minute before adding cooking oil. Heat the oil for 15 seconds or until it starts to ripple.
- Add rice noodles. Take your time stirring them because they will need some time to loosen up.
- Fry until nicely crisp, seared all around, and golden brown. Add in XO sauce and soy sauce. Toss the noodles with sauce for a minute.
- Add the greens and bean sprouts. Cook for 30-45 seconds.
- Serve hot.
*This is a vegetarian version, but you can easily beef it up by adding some marinated steak, chicken, or seafood. Cook the protein to your liking separately and mix in with the noodles with the bean sprouts before serving.*
THE FORMOSA CAFE
7156 SANTA MONICA BLVD, WEST HOLLYWOOD
OPEN FOR DINE-IN & TAKE OUT
BOOK TAKE-OUT OR RESERVATION HERE.