steamed shrimp rice noodle rolls on a plate topped with sauce

shrimp rice noodle rolls (cheung fun)

What are shrimp rice noodle rolls? 

Shrimp rice noodle rolls, aka cheung fun (肠粉), are a classic in Cantonese dim sum. They're easily one of my favorite go-to orders! The best ones are soft, slightly chewy, and a bit stretchy, and there are multiple options for the filling. Some of the most common being shrimp, beef mince, char siu, or Chinese fried donut. I’ll be sharing a recipe for a steamed shrimp rice roll here, but the same batter can be used if you wish to substitute the filling. I have a recipe for steamed rice noodle rolls with beef here!

stone mill for grinding rice

Traditionally, steamed rice roll batter is made from ground aged rice, and they’re typically steamed in a large stainless steel, multi-layered tray (see this video documenting the process from Joe’s Steam Rice Roll in New York) or on a cloth (see this video). To make this recipe more accessible for homecooks, we’ll use ingredients and tools that you can easily find at your local Asian supermarket (like 99 Ranch) or on Amazon.

How to make the ideal shrimp rice noodle roll batter

My dad and I have tested so many ratios of different flours and starches to get the best texture. We’re really happy with the final result! This recipe, which uses a mixture of rice flour (not glutinous rice flour), potato starch, and tapioca starch, yields a soft, thin, slightly chewy and stretchy roll.

While it can’t compare to restaurants that specialize in steamed rice rolls, especially ones that have special ingredients (aged rice) and machinery (rice grinder and rice roll steaming machines), I think you’ll be pretty satisfied with this result at home 🙂

Many recipes call for a mixture of just rice flour and tapioca starch for the batter. However, I found that using just these two yielded a more firm rice roll. They didn’t have that same softness and stretchiness I craved from a really good steamed rice roll. Adding the potato starch is key in helping achieve that characteristic soft and stretchy texture. Some recipes use wheat starch, but it's a bit harder to find in grocery stores compared to potato starch. If you prefer a more firm and less translucent rice roll without the potato starch, I recommend trying a different recipe to get the ideal ratio of ingredients.

How to make rice noodle roll sauce

Rice noodle roll sauce is usually a diluted soy sauce that’s slightly sweet and just salty enough to add flavor to the rolls but not overpower the dish. The recipe I gave below for the sauce is the simplest sauce that achieves this. However, you are always welcome to add aromatics like garlic, ginger, or spices. So much work is already going into the rice roll itself — I wanted to keep the sauce simple but tasty.

After testing dozens of batches, I’ve learned a few things I want to share to make sure you have the most success making these at home. Please read through the post and watch the video!

My best tips for getting great shrimp rice noodle rolls at home

Tip #1: Marinate the shrimp in a bit of baking soda and salt*

marinating shrimp for rice rolls

This is often what restaurants do to achieve the crisp and snappy shrimp texture. It’s a tiny amount of baking soda, so you won’t be able to taste it.

*Salt is likely not necessary in the marinade if you are using frozen shrimp, because most frozen shrimp contains added salt to help preserve them during the freezing process. For the longest time, I couldn’t figure out why my frozen shrimp kept turning out too salty when I was adding the tiniest amount of salt… Check your packaging!

Tip #2: Steam the shrimp separately from the batter

steamed shrimp

Steaming the shrimp first, and separately, really makes the process much simpler!

When I steamed the shrimp with the rice roll batter, I’d have to steam the batter for a few minutes first, then add the raw shrimp, and then steam it for another few minutes (a lot of extra steps).

If I added the shrimp with the batter at the same time, the batter under the shrimp wouldn’t cook. Additionally, the shrimp would release moisture while cooking that would leak onto the batter.

Steaming them together unfortunately just added more steps and cook time to the overall process, so I recommend steaming the shrimp first and separate from the batter to make things easier for yourself! 

Tip #3: Whisk the rice roll batter very thoroughly before adding it to the plate to steam

Whenever you mix water with a starch, the starch tends to settle at the bottom of the bowl over time. Whisking the batter very thoroughly each time before ladling it onto the plate is key. This ensures you don’t end up with a cracked steamed rice roll (I definitely had a few of these)!

Tip #4: Let the steamed rice roll rest before assembling

This is really, really important! The type of pan you use to steam your rice rolls will affect how long the rice roll needs to rest. If you don’t let the rice roll rest long enough, it will be too soft and gummy and won’t roll.

When I used these small rectangular sheet pans made of stainless steel, which didn’t retain heat well and cooled very quickly (a good thing), I was able to assemble the rice rolls almost immediately after steaming.

However, when I used a porcelain plate or glassware, which stayed hot for several minutes after steaming, I had to wait at least 4-5 minutes before assembling.

  • To speed up this resting process, put the plate or pan on top of some cold water.

Rule of thumb: let the pan rest until it’s no longer hot to touch, then it’s ready to roll.

Tools you’ll need to make steamed rice rolls at home:

*you can find these for much cheaper at your local Asian grocery store

Plates or pans for steaming the rice rolls on, some options…

Two common issues you might encounter:

  1. Why does my steamed rice roll have cracks after steaming?

    • Solution: This likely means the starch has settled while steaming — while you can’t fix the cracked rice roll, just remember to whisk the batter very thoroughly before ladling in the next batch
    • If you whisked it thoroughly and you still have cracked steamed rice rolls, then it likely means you need more water in your batter 
  2. The steamed rice roll has a gummy texture, and is too soft to roll

    • Solution: This likely means you haven’t let the rice roll rest for enough time yet. Wait a few minutes and try again. Remember that if you’re using a plate or pan that stays hot for a long time after steaming, you’ll need to rest it for a longer period, and you should only start assembling when it’s no longer hot to the touch.
    • If the above solution doesn’t work, it might mean that you didn’t steam the rice roll for long enough.

Check out my other popular Chinese dim sum recipes:

If you enjoyed this shrimp rice noodle roll recipe...

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Please note that the flour and starches are ideally measured in grams for better consistency. I’ve also provided the imperial system measurements in case you don’t have a kitchen scale

steamed shrimp rice noodle rolls on a plate topped with sauce

Steamed Shrimp Rice Noodle Rolls

Make this dim sum classic at home! Make sure to read through the blog post for my best tips on getting the best-tasting rice noodle rolls.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Course Appetizer, Breakfast, Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine Chinese
Servings 8 rolls



Shrimp marinade

  • 24 medium-sized shrimp peeled and deveined
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ tsp sesame oil
  • teaspoon salt only if using fresh shrimp. if using frozen, no need to add salt as it likely already contains it

Steamed rice roll batter (shown in grams for better accuracy)

Steamed rice roll sauce

Other ingredients

  • neutral oil for brushing plate
  • scallions or cilantro for garnish


Prepare the shrimp, rice roll batter, and sauce

  • Peel and devein the shrimp. Marinade in baking soda, salt, and sesame oil. If using frozen shrimp, which usually has added salt, then omit the salt. Set aside or in the fridge while you prep other ingredients.
    24 medium-sized shrimp, ¼ teaspoon baking soda, ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • For the rice roll batter, mix together the dry ingredients first: rice flour (not glutinous rice flour), potato starch, tapioca starch, and salt. Gradually add the water to the batter and mix very thoroughly with a whisk. Add neutral oil, mix again, and set aside.
    40 g rice flour, not glutinous rice flour, 30 g potato starch, 10 g tapioca starch, 300 ml water, ½ teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon neutral oil
  • For the rice roll sauce, mix together hot water, sugar, light soy sauce, oyster sauce, and sesame oil until sugar dissolves. Optionally, add aromatics like sliced ginger and scallions.
    ¼ teaspoon sesame oil, ¼ cup water, 1.5 tablespoon light soy sauce, 1 teaspoon sugar, ½ teaspoon oyster sauce, aromatics like ginger and scallions

Steam the rice rolls

  • Prepare a steamer (use whatever kind you have, I’m using a pan + a bamboo steamer; a wok works well too). Fill the pan with water and place the steamer on top, and turn on the heat to high.
  • While the water heats up, split the marinated shrimp into 2 equal batches and arrange the first batch on a plate. Steam for ~3 mins or until cooked (cook time may vary depending on size of the shrimp). Repeat with second batch of shrimp. Set aside to cool.
  • Make sure that the plate you’re using for the rice rolls is clean and dry, and add it to the steamer (without any batter). Cover the pan with a lid to let the plate preheat for a few minutes.
  • After a few mins, brush a tiny bit of oil all over the bottom of the plate. Mix your rice roll batter very thoroughly with a whisk, and ladle in JUST enough batter to cover the bottom of the plate. I usually ladle a little bit less, then tilt the pan or plate carefully to even out the batter and achieve a thin layer.
    neutral oil for brushing plate
  • Cover the steamer with the lid, and let steam for ~3-4 mins or until the color of the batter turns from opaque white to translucent. If you’re using a steamer setup in which the plate is closer to the steam, it will require less time than using a bamboo steamer.
  • Remove from the steamer and let cool for a few minutes. In the meantime, repeat steps 3-5 in this section. The whole process will go a lot faster if you have multiple plates to cycle through!

Assemble the rice noodle roll

  • Once the plate is cool to the touch, it’s ready to assemble. Lay 3 cooked shrimp across the middle of the roll. Using a silicone spatula or plastic bench scraper, gently lift and peel the bottom and top edges away from the plate and lay over the shrimp.
  • Put onto a plate, top with the rice roll sauce, scallions or cilantro, and enjoy! If you like to eat them piping hot, you can always pop them back into the steamer for a few minutes once they’re all assembled.
    scallions or cilantro for garnish
Keyword cheung fun, dim sum, shrimp rice noodle rolls, steamed rice rolls
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!


  1. Dear owner, Your posts are always well-received and appreciated.

  2. 5 stars
    This recipe worked great. The noodle was soft and didn’t crack. I’ve tried other recipes with a lot less starch and they cracked. Next time, I might try a smidge less starch, but not much less, just want to see what happens. Thanks for a great recipe!

    • smellylunchbox

      I am so happy to hear that! And yes, experimenting and customizing this recipe to your liking is definitely recommended 🙂 So glad you enjoyed this!

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