Lo mein vs chow mein: Know about the difference

Lo mein vs chow mein: Know about the difference

Since we can remember, chow mein and lo mein have been mainstays of the American diet. And, of course, for good reason! Lo mein vs chow mein are equally tasty and feature the holy trinity of noodles, vegetables, and protein. These dishes sound pretty similar, as these have many similarities. However, these traditional Chinese American foods are incredibly different. What distinguishes them, then? Chow mein and lo mein are two different foods, even though some American Chinese restaurant menus notice them as interchangeable. This is because of how they were prepared. The next time you want to eat a plate of flavorful, slurpable noodles, you can tell the difference between the popular dishes by following this guide.

Chow Mein vs. Lo Mein: What’s the Difference?

Both Chinese noodle dishes are made with egg noodles with various vegetables, meats, or shellfish. Apart from that, there are not many parallels between the two. Stir-fried noodles are referred to as chow mein in Chinese. However, lo mein, which translates to “stirred noodles,” indicates that the main difference between the two cuisines is the preparation method.

  • Cooking Technique

While both Lo Mein Noodles and Chow Mein dishes contain the same ingredients, they are prepared using distinct techniques.

The noodles are pre-soaked in boiling water before being cooked in Chow Mein. The noodles become softer in preparation for stir-frying. Noodles are cooked as the ingredients are added to a stir-fry during the cooking process. In contrast, when making lo mein, the noodles are fully cooked before being added and combined with the other components. This indicates that the noodles in Chow Mein are stir-fried before being tossed and mixed.

lo mein vs chow mein

Pic credit- thespruceeats.com

  • Wok Technique

The Lo mein vs chow mein taste their best when done in a wok. However, there are differences in the methods used to create each dish in the wok.

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In Chow Mein, the noodles and other ingredients are fried in a tiny amount of oil in a hot wok, but in Lo Mein, the noodles are already cooked before the other ingredients are combined with them.

  • Sauce

As previously mentioned, Chow Mein is a dry noodle dish with a light sauce, or frequently no sauce at all. In contrast, saucy noodles in lo mein are added to enhance the dish’s flavor.

  • Texture

Chow Mein noodles are crunchier than Lo Mein noodles, more smooth and chewy. This is due to the different cooking techniques used with each of these noodle meals. Additionally, the noodles used to make the Lo Mein are thick and sturdy enough to hold the sauce added to the reciepe.

Which varieties of noodles are utilized in each dish?

Egg noodles are used in both the lo mein and chow mein recipes. These noodles are made with egg and wheat flour. While fresh or dried noodles are acceptable for chow mein, lo mein is best served with fresh egg noodles that are about 14 inches thick.

The noodles must be softened in boiling water before cooking in both meals. Before usage, dried noodles must be parboiled in boiling water for around 5 to 6 minutes. Only two to three minutes are needed to boil fresh egg noodles. The thickness of the noodles typically determines the precise cooking time. For this reason, if there are any instructions on the packet of noodles, you should abide by them.

Your primary goal should be to boil the noodles until they are almost done but not quite soft, whether you are using dry or fresh noodles. “Al dente” or “boiled to the tooth” describes this.

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Which is better: Lo mein VS Chow Mein

Personal preference is the most important consideration when deciding which Chinese noodle dish is better. Others prefer a hearty bowl of steaming, sauce-drenched lo mein. At the same time, some noodle lovers enjoy the crispness of dry egg noodles perfectly stir-fried into a delectable chow mein dish.

lo mein vs chow mein

Pic credit- finedininglovers.com

The additional ingredients in your dish will frequently affect the texture of your noodles. Consider serving lo mein meals with harsher components like carrots, broccoli, celery, and snow peas and mixing crunchy chow mein noodles with softer ingredients like sautéed mushrooms, juicy tomatoes, and bean sprouts.


Despite their distinctions, Chinese egg noodles are still used in Lo Mein and Chow Mein. Eggs and wheat flour noodles are used to make these Chinese egg noodles.

One’s food taste and flavor preferences still apply when deciding between lo mein and chow mein noodles. Some people enjoy eating crispy or dried noodles, while others choose Lo Mein, which is steaming and covered in sauce.

We hope that this advice has assisted you in selecting the type of noodles you prefer. If not, you can try the differentiating techniques for lo mein vs chow mein at home to see which one you like.

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