Lo mein and Chow mein are both Chinese delicacies made from the same ingredients. These dishes usually include the same style of thin egg noodles, mixed vegetables, protein, and a savory sauce.
What Is Lo Mein?
The noodles are added to the pan to soak up sauce toward the end of cooking, which is why Lo mein is typically the gloopier and fattier of the two dishes.
Preparing Lo Mein:
To make lo mein, cooked (boiled and drained) noodles are added to the wok after the veggies and protein have been cooked and tossed with the sauce. The noodles are lightly tossed with the veggies, just until they are heated through.
What is Chow Mein?
Chow mein has many meanings in the U.S. “Chow” translates as frying, so the crisp noodles that are sold in a can or served at a restaurant with hot mustard and red sauce qualify as Chow mein.
Preparing Chow Mein:
To make chow mein first boil noodles to soften them then drain. Heat cooking oil in a big skillet over medium flame. Add chopped onion and ginger and fry until they turned brown. Now add different types of veggies and spices.
Stir fry them then add sauces and ketchup like soya sauce, fish sauce, tomato ketchup, green chili sauce, etc. finally add the boiled noodles and mix well. You may add some protein like chicken, scrumble eggs, or any type of meat. Stir fry and make it a little crispy.
What Type of Noodles Are Used in Each Dish?
Both lo mein and chow mein are made with Chinese egg noodles—wheat flour noodles with egg added. Fresh egg noodles (preferably about 1/4-inch thick) are best for lo mein, while either fresh or dried can be used to make chow mein. Either way, the noodles need to be softened in boiling water before cooking.
Dried noodles are parboiled in boiling water for 5 to 6 minutes before using, while fresh egg noodles only need to be boiled for 2 to 3 minutes. The exact amount of cooking time will depend on the thickness of the noodles, so be sure to follow the package instructions if available.
Which Is Better?
It all comes down to your personal taste. Soft lo mein noodles soak up more of the sauce. On the other hand, you can get a greater variety of texture in a chow mein dish. For example, crunchy noodles and celery could be combined with soft mushrooms, bean sprouts, and juicy tomatoes.
Differences Between Lo mein and Chow mein
1. The name ‘Lo mein’ means tossed noodles.
2. The name ‘Chow mein’ means fried noodles.
3. Chow mein noodles are cooked twice in the wok.
4. In lo mein, the dish is pulled together, including the vegetables and/or protein and sauce, before the noodles are added.
5. There is more sauce in a lo mein dish.
6. The sauces for lo mein dishes are thicker.
7. Chow mein noodles have been altered to suit American tastes.
8. In recent years, Chow mein has been more popular.
Did You Know?
While chow mein with thin crisp noodles is a staple of many Chinese take-out restaurants, more authentic versions of chao mian have soft noodles. The main difference between the two comes down to frying time: for dryer, crisper noodles, add more oil, and increase the frying time.