What’s The Difference Between Chow Mein and Lo Mein

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Around the world, many communities have adapted to foreign cuisines, and one, in particular, is the Chinese dish of noodles. There are two prominent which are in contrast among many people. However, their differences are not the type of noodles used, instead of the kind of recipe used in preparation. Lo mein is prepared to be silk and smooth when eating, while Chow mein noodles are crisp. Below, you will understand the definition of the two dishes and their differences when preparing. 

What Is Lo Mein?

Lo mein is simply a mixture of noodles, vegetables, and protein. Proteins may include chicken, seafood, tofu, beef, or pork. For the chef to get the best out of the noodles, they are drained in a savory sauce. Moreover, the noodles have to be fully cooked and transferred to a wok. The wok contains cooked vegetables and meat previously tossed in lo mein sauce. Nonetheless, the ingredients are gently tossed until the noodles heat through. 

What Is Chow Mein?

Chow mein mainly refers to stir-fried noodles with vegetables and sometimes meat or tofu. However, chow me-in is grouped into two categories; steamed chow mein, primarily flash-fried, then stir-fried with mixed ingredients. The other one is crisp chow mein which is initially pressed like a fried pancake. Extra ingredients and sauce are applied on top. 

When preparing either chow mein, the ingredients are added after the noodles are boiled and fried. However, they should be limited so that the cuisine is still crispy when dining. A darker, thicker sauce is used to ease the crispy outside of the noodles to be edible. 

The Difference Between Chow Mein And Lo Mein

The differences between lo mein and chow mein are as follows. 

Cooking method

Lo mein is thoroughly boiled before any ingredients and sauce are added. Also, the ingredients are lightly mixed then the noodles are mixed in. However, chow mein noodles are soaked in water before they are stir-fried. Upon stir-frying, the noodles will be fully cooked together with the ingredients used. 

The sauce

The sauce is a crucial ingredient to use when making lo mein as the dish is supposed to be soggy when served. Chow mein is a crispy dish that requires light sauce or none when preparing. 

Technique used

As lo mein noodles are already fully cooked, they are placed in a wok that contains other ingredients and gently tosed as they heat. However, chow mein requires adding a little oil on the wok to light fry the ingredients as they are stirred frequently. 


Chow mein is made crispy compared to lo mein, which includes a lot of sauce and is thoroughly cooked; hence, it is a smooth and soggy meal. Moreover, the noodles used in making lo mein should be thick to support the source used. 


The main difference between chow mein and lo mein is how they are prepared. Chow mein is stir-fried over high heat and has a distinct crunchy texture, while lo mein is boiled in a mixture of soy sauce and oil, creating a soft, slippery texture. Additionally, chow mein often includes vegetables such as carrots and cabbage for added flavor. Lo Mein usually contains more sauce than Chow Mein and typically features thicker noodles.