Chinese food is probably one of the most loved cuisines in the world. It is very flavourful and can be customized in various ways. At this point, there are various versions of Chinese cuisine all over the world. Different countries have interpreted it in different ways. If one reads the phrase "Chinese food", one instantly thinks of Fried Rice and Chow Mein. Some also think of Lo Mein. Many do not know what Lo Mein is and why it is different from Chow Mein. Some even engage in conversations like Lo Mein VS Chow Mein To prove which is the better. If you are not aware of the real differences between Lo Mein and Chow Mein, you can read this blog. We will tell you how they are different in texture, method of cooking, etc.
What is Lo Mein?
Lo Mein is a Chinese dish that is a mixture of soft noodles, sliced vegetables, and meat or shrimp that has been tossed in a separate sauce for flavor.
What is Chow Mein?
Chow Mein is a Chinese dish that comprises stir-fried noodles and vegetables. Meat or tofu can be added to the dish as well.
Lo Mein VS Chow Mein: Basic Difference
Lo Mein and Chow Mein are both Chinese dishes and are both made with vegetables. You can add meat to both of them to increase the protein content of the dishes. But they are made in different ways.
Lo Mein is made with soft noodles while Chow Mein is made with stir-fried noodles. When it comes to Chow Mein, the noodles are first soaked in hot water to make them soft and then stir-fried. The frying of the noodles is what cooks them. But when it comes to Lo Mein, the noodles are cooked in hot water before they are added to the other ingredients. Besides, the noodles in Lo Mein are not fried but only lightly tossed to mix with the other ingredients.
There is also a difference in flavor between Lo Mein and Chow Mein. Lo Mein is a saucy noodle dish. Its flavor depends on the sauce since the noodles are not stir-fried. But Chow Mein is a dry noodle dish and barely has any sauce. Most of its flavor comes from the stir-fried noodles, stir-fried vegetables, meat, and the sauce covering it all.
Lo Mein VS Chow Mein is a valid topic of conversation as there are quite a few differences between the two. Both are cooked in the wok but they are cooked in different ways. On one hand, Lo Mein is made by lightly tossing or mixing the cooked noodles with the rest of the ingredients. The noodles ate not cooked in the wok for long since they are already cooked. On the other hand, Chow Mein is cooked by frying the noodles with the other ingredients in a very heated wok using very little oil.
The entire cooking for the Chow Mein happens in the wok. Due to the difference in their cooking methods, Lo Mein is made with thicker and chewier noodles than Chow Mein. Also, Chow Mein noodles are crunchier than Lo Mein noodles since they are stir-fried. To explain it better, Lo Mein is the dry form of a noodle soup dish while Chow Mein is a stir-fried dish.
Lo Mein VS Chow Mein: Which one is easier to cook?
Both Lo Mein and Chow Mein require almost the same time and effort to be made and are both delicious. However, depending on what ingredients you have at home, you would have to pick one over the other at times. We cannot generalize and say one is easier to cook than the other. This is also because some people find cooking Lo Mein to be easier while some think cooking Chow Mein is easier. Besides, Lo Mein and Chow Mein both have various variations. Some of them are easy to cook while some might take a bit longer. Hence, people pick one over the other depending on the variation of the dish, the ingredients available, and the efforts they are willing to put in.
Lo Mein VS Chow Mein: Which one is more popular?
Noodle dishes, especially Chinese ones have been customized by different countries and regions innumerable times. There are hundreds of variations when it comes to Chinese noodle dishes. Chow Mein has become widely popular worldwide for its versatility. It is also a dish that can be made with very minimum ingredients. However, Lo Mein never really became that popular globally. It is famous in East Asian counties but most people prefer Chow Mein over it. While good Lo Mein noodle dishes are hard to find in restaurants, you can always make them at home. What to know how? Check out the recipe given below.
Lo Mein VS Chow Mein: How To Make them both at home
We have provided a recipe on how to make Lo Mein but in case you want to Chow Mein at home too, we have provided that recipe as well.
Lo Mein Recipe
- Fresh Egg Noodles
- Garlic (finely chopped)
- Ginger (finely chopped)
- Broccoli (preferably thin pieces)
- Bell Peppers (thinly sliced s)
- Carrots (thinly sliced)
- Green Onion
- Choice of Protein (Chicken/beef/shrimp/pork/tofu/turkey) cut into small pieces
- Sesame Oil
- Light Soy Sauce
- Dark Soy Sauce
- Oyster Sauce
As we have mentioned before, Lo Mein is made with boiled noodles. Hence, first, you need to boil the fresh egg noodles and then drain them. You can use noodles made of other ingredients as well till the time they are long.
After your noodles are cooked, make the sauce. To make the sauce, mix sesame oil, light soy sauce, dark soy sauce, garlic, ginger, and a bit of sugar. The sugar helps cool down the salty flavor of the soy sauce.
While the noodles in Lo Mein are not fried, the vegetables are stir-fried. Hence, the next step is to stir-fry the sliced vegetables and your choice of protein in a heated wok. While you’re stirring them, add a bit of the sauce you’ve made. This makes them a bit of flavor. Remember not to overcook the vegetables.
Once your vegetables and protein are stir-fried, add in the cooked noodles and the rest of the sauce. Do not mix with just any utensil. Mix the sauce with the vegetables, meat, and noodles using two wooden spoons. Do it quickly to make sure the noodles don’t get overcooked or soggy. Once everything is mixed well with the sauce, take the dish off the heat and serve it hot.
Chow Mein Recipe
- Fresh or dried egg noodles
- Shredded Cabbage
- Carrots (finely sliced)
- Choice of protein (Chicken/Beef/Pork/Shrimp/Tofu) cut into small pieces.
- Soy Sauce
- Oyster Sauce
- Light Sesame Oil
- Chicken Broth
- Granulated sugar
Chow Mein is a stir-fried noodle dish, but the noodles need to be boiled first. You can make Chow Mein using fresh egg noodles or dried ones. However, if you want your noodles to be crunchy, use dried egg noodles. And like Lo Mein, you can switch egg noodles for noodles made with any other ingredient as long as they are long noodles.
To cook Chow Mein, the first step is to boil the egg noodles or soak them in hot water but do not cook them through.
While the noodles ate becoming soft, make your sauce by mixing light sesame oil, soy sauce, oyster sauce, some chicken broth, and some granulated sugar. In a separate bowl, make a corn-starch slurry and add it to the sauce.
In a heated wok, cook the protein you chose to add to your Chow Mein. Once they are cooked through, add in the vegetables and sauté them. And once the vegetables are cooked as well, add in your noodles and stir-fry them with the vegetables and protein. Make sure they are stir-fried well and then add the sauce and mix it all together until the noodles, vegetables, and protein are all coated in the sauce. Once they are all mixed well, take it off the heat and serve it hot.
We have tried our best to give authentic recipes for Lo Mein and Chow Mein. In case you wish for a more authentic one, feel free to do your research. Also, we suggest you measure the ingredients depending on how many people you're cooking for. And you’re always free to customize these dishes to your liking and convenience.
We will end our blog on Lo Mein VS Chow Mein here. If you had questions regarding their differences, we hope you found the answers to them. Lo Mein and Chow Mein are very similar when it comes to the ingredients, but are made in different ways and ultimately taste different as well. We suggest you try making Lo Mein using the winter and Chow Mein for dinner when guests come over. And then let us know your experiences.
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