Difference between Chow Mein and Lo Mein

Huma Qurashi By Huma Qurashi

Chow mein and Lo mein are two Chinese dishes. Both are made of wheat noodles, but there’s a big difference between the both. Translating their names may help a bit.

Literal meanings:

Chow mein means Stir fried noodles, whereas Lo mein means tossed noodles. While the former is crispy, the latter is soft in texture, once ready.

Main ingredient:

The main ingredient in both of these dishes is egg noodles. But for lo mein the noodle shape is always rounded, while for chow mein the shape of noodles can either be flat or rounded.


For chow mein, start with either fresh noodles or dried ones.  Parboiled them. On the other hand, prepare your stir fry mixture. When noodles are parboiled add them to the mixture and fry. You need to fry them as long as the texture gets crispy.

For lo Mein, start with fresh noodles. Parboil them and then add them to a stir fry dish. Add plenty of sauces. Toss the mixture till the noodles oak up the sauce. Cook for a while.

Nutritive value:

While both the dishes have noodle as their key ingredient, the way they are prepared makes some difference in the nutritive value. For Chow mein, noodles are fried for a longer period, fat composition is thus higher than Lo mein noodles. Lo Mein, although, may end up with higher sodium content in them.


Chow mein dishes:

Chowmein are commonly prepared with Beef, chicken or shrimp stir fried with vegetables. Celery and Carrots are another addition to the stir fry mixture in Chow mein.

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Lo mein dishes:

Lo mein is often taken as a stir fry of beef, chicken or shrimp. The stir fry is coupled with bok choy and cabbage as common ingredients.

In many areas of the world, including Pakistan people have adopted Lo mein as a common dish to serve with high tea and call it Chowmein. The typical Pakistani chowmein includes chicken, carrots, and capsicum.

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Hi! I'm Huma Qurashi, an international educator and food writer, excited about bringing you traditional Pakistani recipes from across the country.
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