Difference Between Lo Mein and Chow Mein? 4 Things You Need To Know

Chinese cuisine is always an attractive topic to various cooks and has been quite common in many countries in the world. Among the famous dishes, lo mien and chow mien are the types requiring relatively high skills from professional cooks as well as hard to distinguish to non-native housewives.

What’s the difference between lo mein and chow mein? As a Chinese-food-lover, I will share with you some of my experiences so that you can tell those dishes apart and make the best meal for your family. Let’s get started!!

​What Are Lo Mein And Chow Mein?

To understand the differences between the dishes, we need to know what they are first.

  • Lo mein: Without a doubt, it has the same origin as the chow mein. Unlike its close cousin, lo mein is less well-known and only reached some part of America. And just like chow mein, lo mein’s name also represents what the dish is like, meaning 'stirred noodles'. The dish is traditionally considered as another version of wonton since they both contain same ingredients and lo mein is served with soup on the side while wonton’s soup is poured in instantly.
  • Chow mein: As you can guess, it’s 100% a Chinese dish although when entering America it was Americanized to suit the local’s tastes. Chow mein is widely famous in the Western countries, while lo mein is less well-known. Regarding its name, Chow means 'fried' and mein means 'noodles', which perfectly describe what the dish is all about.

So, What is the Difference Between Lo Mein and Chow Mein?

  • Noodle: As you can deduct from the two dishes' introductions, you can see that the biggest difference lies in the noodle. When making lo mein, you only need to boil the noodle but when making chow mein, after cooking the noodle you must fry the noodle too.
  • Variations: Due to its popularity, Chow mien has many variations in the world: Caribbean, Pakistan, US and so on. And on the contrary, lo mien is mainly served in China and particularly famous in the US.
  • The shape of the noodle: Chow mein’s noodle shape may be either rounded or flat, and lo mein’s noodle shape is always rounded.
  • Times: Lo mein is unlikely to be cooked the second time again, but chow mein is.

I’m sure you have already had different images about lo mien and chow mien now. I will show you the best ways to make them for your family’s meal in the following content and I’m sure your family will love them.

Learn More About Chow Mein​

Source: buzzfeed.com


The Chow men's components consist of Chinese egg noodle, meat: beef, chicken or shrimp, stir-fried vegetables, and soy-based sauce. Sometimes, you can even improvise with your leftovers; the key is in the noodle! Just make sure that all of your ingredients go well together and not out of date yet.


Noodle: Follow the instructions step by step. It’s a little bit more challenging than noodles in lo mein since it requires more skill and efforts. In brief, first, you must boil the noodle to al dente.

Then, rinse the noodle in cold water so as they do not stick together. After waiting for it to dry, the process to fry the first side of the noodle until it turns golden brown, flip it and do the same with the other side so that it is crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside. Read the detailed instruction to get the best result.

The toppings: Be as creative as you want. If you want to the typical Chinese dish, it includes what I just mentioned in the 'Ingredients'. Here is the tutorial for a 'Classic Chicken Chow Mien' that promised to satisfy even the most demanding customer.

Here if you want to watch the video more carefully:

Learn More About Lo Mein


Lo mein’s ingredients are just the same as Chow mein’s. The dish doesn’t require much, except 1 must-have ingredient is the egg noodle. For example a vegetable lo mein would include soy sauce, sesame oil, five spice powder, clove garlic, mushrooms, bell pepper, and carrots. The possibilities are endless!


For the noodle, you just have to cook it the same way as the lo mein, but only to the rinse part. The key point here is not to fry it as this is what makes lo mein different from the chow mein. And for the topping, feel free to add anything you want to. A really simple yet delicious "Vegetable Lo Mein" that I think you might enjoy.

Final Thought

Considering which one is better, I think it depends on personal taste. Lo Mein might be suitable for some people, but to others, it may be too bland taste, or not good enough. I hope this article has answered the question: What are the differences between Lo Mein and Chow Mein?

Thank you for taking little precious time to read this article and finally, don’t hesitate to comment down below which dish you prefer.

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