What is the Difference Between Chow Mein and Lo Mein

Chow mein and lo mein are two different Chinese dishes but people often confuse in recognizing “chow mein” and “lo mein” because the word “mein” is used for noodles in Chinese language and when people hear or see this word in the “chow mein” and ” lo mein” then they think like both chow mein and lo mein are the same type of noodles but usually they are not the same.

The confusion is may be of different types like some people think that different types of noodles are used in cooking chow mein and lo mein because chow mein is crispy noodles while lo mein is soft noodles, and some cannot differentiate between chow mein and lo mein because of their same look etc.

If you are also the one who confuse between chow mein and lo mein then read out this one.

However the same type of noodles are used for these two dishes and the ingredients are also little more same but their cooking methods are different which makes it differ in taste from each other and regard them two different dishes.

For clearing your confusion here we are explaining both chow mein and lo mein, what are these?,What are their differences?and How they share some similarities? Their recipes etc.


As we are all know that china is very popularly known for their noodles. And when a thing is found more in a place then there are also different varieties and for every variety they have different name e.g just like ‘kinship’ similarly chow mein and lo mein are two different names of different varieties of same type of noodles.

Chow mein:

Chinese noodles, the word “chow” means “fried” and literally its means “stir-fried” so this is simple stir-fried noodles. It includes vegetables and meat as well. Color of chow mein turns to brown because they are adequately fried on both sides and that’s why chow mein are popularly known by the name twiced brown noodles.

What is the Difference Between Chow Mein and Lo Mein

Here are further two variations of chow mein. The crisp and steamed. The steamed is in little round shape while the crisp is plat. The dish is particularly popular in China as well as in other countries like India, Nepal, US and USA.

Lo mein:

In contrast the word “lo” mean tossed and so “lo mein” is simply tossed noodles. “Cantonean noodles” are also the name used for lo mein. It is soft and found in round shape. Some people add just vegetables while cooking lo mein but meat, seafood etc is also used in cooking lo mein. This dish is mostly profound in purtagease.

What is the Difference Between Chow Mein and Lo Mein


We cannot say chow mein to lo mein neither lo mein to chow mein. These are very different from each other and you can must differentiate in both after reading this differentiation.


  • Meaning: A traditional chinese term.In English “chow mein”means crispy noodles.
  • Texture: Chow mein is something crispy or slightly firm and found in both rounded and flat shape.Its texture depends on the amount of oil used.
  • Cooking style: Chow mein cooked twice in wok, first we boil it and then fry before mixing it with vegetables and other ingredients. In last we put out the fried noodles in the thicker,darker sauce.
  • Sauce and its function in chow mein: Chow mein composed of both light and dark soy sauce or sauce which combines the ingredients such as soy sauce, broth, sugar, oyster sauce etc. Thicker, darker sauce is mostly convert their crispy look to soften and it give a chewy texture to fried noodles.
  • Nutrition: Chow mein is fried noodles that’s why it is count higher in fat then lo mein. The amount of calories present in chow mein are 250kcal.
  • Flavor: Spices which are added with stir fry meat and vegetables for mixing chow mein are the main source for the flavor of chow mein. Chow mein require a little soy sauce forflavor. The fry taste of chow mein is also include in its flavor.So its flavor is spicy.
  • Special vegetables for chow mein: Chow mein is crispy that’s why crunchy type of vegetables are mostly used in it for example carrots and celery.
  • Meaning: A traditional chinese term. in English “lo mein” means tossed noodles.
  • Texture: Lo mein is soft noodles and always found in round shape. Its texture depend on only boiling.
  • Cooking style: Lo mein is very easy in cooking as compared to chow mein. We first boil them and then mixed them directly with the vegetables, meat and other remaining ingredients and finally mixed sauce with them..
  • Sauce and its function in lo mein: In lo mein, sauce is used more than chow mein and lo mein often based on soy sauce or oyster sauce and we can also use garlic and ginger sauce in lo mein. And is used for the sake of round out the slightly spice and sweet taste.
  • Nutrition: Lo mein is less in fats then the chow mein. The amount of calories consist in lo mein is 180kcal.
  • Flavor: In lo mein, however the vegetables and other ingredients remain distinctive because they cannot mixed for a long time that’s why they do not share their flavor with noodles. Lo mein flavor was mostly enhanced by sauces. So its flavor is a little spicy and more sweet.
  • Special vegetables for lo mein: Soft type of vegetables are often used in lo mein for example Bok choy and Cabbage are special for it.

Regional Differences of chow mein and lo mein in USA:

Their names are used differently in different regions of the US, for example in the west of US, people use word chow mein for lo mein. But for “chow mein” they used the name “Hong Kong style chow mein”. So be aware about the names of chow mein and lo mein while ordering them in different regions.

Few Similarities of Chow Mein and Lo Mein:

  • Both are originated in china.
  • The same noodles of wheat flour and egg are used in both chow mein and lo mein.
  • They also share ingredients with each other.
  • Both chow mein and lo mein have the same look , which is a big reason for causing confusions.
  • Both chow mein and lo mein first get boiled while cooking them.

Important Ingredients for Lo mein:

  • Chinese egg noodles
  • Water
  • Sesame oil and canola oil
  • Vegetables(carrots, onions, cabbage, garlic, ginger all thinly sliced)
  • Chicken breasts
  • Spices( salt, cloves, red bell pepper)
  • Soy sauce or oyster sauce

Important Ingredients for Chow mein:

  • Chinese egg noodles
  • Water
  • Sesame oil
  • Carrots, celery, green onions and ginger
  • Black pepper, chillies, cloves, salt
  • Low sodium chicken broth
  • Light soy sauce having low sodium


Recipe of lo mein:

  1. Put water in a pan according to your need.
  2. Then put spaghetti in the water for boiling, also add two or three drops of cooking oil just for keeping them separate from each other.
  3. After boiling spaghetti, heat the canola oil and put the chicken in it and cook for 4-5 minutes to it.
  4. Then add garlic, ginger and bell pepper and cook it for 2-3 minutes just for softened it.
  5. Add water, soy sauce, oyster sauce and vegetable oil to it.
  6. Then add carrot, onion, cabbage etc and cook it for 5-6 minutes before adding with boiled noodles.
  7. Finally mix the noodles with a mixture of other ingredients and cook it for 2 minutes.

Varieties of lo mein recipe:

Lo mein is found in different varieties e.g

➔ Shrimp lo mein
➔Beep lo mein
➔Vegetable lo mein

Recipe of the chow mein:

Fortunately, only one step more than lo mein is required for cooking chow mein and it is the frying step of noodles. Let’s look to the recipe of chow mein.

  1. Take water in a wok and boil noodles in it.
  2. After boiling noodles fry them separately for 8-9 minutes just to make them brown and crispy.
  3. Stir- fry to vegetables, meat and other ingredients.
  4. Take soy sauce in a bowl, mix it with oyster sauce.
  5. Finally mix the fry noodles with vegetables and sauce and garnish it from green leaves of vaggis.


You can also fry both the noodles and vegetables combine with each other.

Which One is Better:

depends on you that what type of taste you like? And how you balance your diet?

So both are very tasty in flavors but if you want to get more calories than chow mein is best for you. And if you want to keep normal to your diet than lo mein is better for you, now it depends on you.

Final Thoughts of chow mein vs lo mein:

It is not too difficult to make distinction between chow mein and lo mein, and knowing its distinction is very important for everyone who loves eating chinese and italian dishes because it causes little problems like you want to order one thing in a restaurant and get another. So hopefully now you can must differentiate in chow mein and lo mein.