Differences Between Lo Mein and Chow Mein (3 Great Distinctions)

Chinese noodles are not only appealing to the eyes but also very delicious if well prepared.

Noodle lovers are often unable to identify the differences between Lo Mein and Chow Mein as they may have similar ingredients. One tip; the difference is in the taste.

In this article, we will help you understand the differences between these two popular Chinese dishes. We have presented three hints to clear your confusion the next time you crave Asian cuisine.

What is Lo Mein?

To understand the differences between Lo Mein and Chow Mein, we need to know what they mean.

Lo Mein is fat, chewy noodles that are boiled for a few minutes, then added to stir-fry after the veggies and meat have been properly cooked.

Lo Mein is simply “tossed-noodles”. It is a Chinese dish often referred to as egg noodles. Lo Mein consists of sliced vegetables, soft noodles, meat, pork or seafood which are sliced into bits and stirred with sweet sauce.

What is Chow Mein

Chow Mein is thin, dried noodles that are parboiled for five minutes, then fried alongside vegetables and meat.

However, there are two main types of Chow Mein dishes. These are: 

  • Steamed chow mein
  • Crisp chow mein

What is the Difference Between Lo Mein and Chow Mein

What are the main differences between Lo Mein and Chow Mein? Here are three top differences!

Type of Noodles

One key difference between Lo Mein and Chow Mein is the type of noodles used.

Lo mein usually uses the fat, chewy noodles, while chow mein uses the thin type of noodles that sometimes contain egg as mentioned earlier.

Lo mein uses fresh noodles that are boiled for a few minutes, while chow mein uses dried noodles that are parboiled for about five to six minutes.

Method of Preparation

To prepare chow mein, you have to boil the noodles first and then fry them before adding the vegetables. The fried noodles are then doused in a thicker, darker sauce that combines ingredients.

Lo mein, on the other hand, is not fried. Instead, the noodles are cooked and then tossed with already stir-fried vegetables and meat or fish just before serving. These noodles are soft and plump; they effortlessly entwine around the chopsticks.

Lo mein also contains more sauce than chow mein does, which is comprised of both dark and light soy sauce, sesame oil, and sugar.

Difference in Taste

Lo Mein and Chow Mein do not taste the same.

Chow mein gets its taste from a flavor of thick, dark homemade sauce with which the noodles are tossed.

Lo Mein on the other hand is slightly sweet and savory because garlic, ginger, soy sauce, and oyster sauce are tossed lightly with a sesame oil base during the cooking process.

Chow Mein vs Lo Mein; Which is Healthier?

Food nutritionists reveal that the Lo Mein recipe is healthier and better. This is because the dish is not fried and is prepared with low oil.


We hope this article has helped you understand the major differences between the Chinese meals, Lo Mein and Chow Mein.

We also hope that the next time you visit a Chinese restaurant and get presented with the menu, you will be able to differentiate between Lo Mein and Chow Mein with ease.

If you’ve tried these dishes before, kindly use the comment section to tell us which you like best. Don’t forget to like this article and share it.

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