Chow Mein vs Low Mein – Difference Between Chow Mein and Lo Mein

What is chow mein

Chow mein vs lo mein- Are you a Chinese food lover? If yes, then you must have tried chow mein or lo mein many times. But, have you noticed any difference between these Chinese noodles? I think you must notice some basic differences between chow mein and lo mein.

Both of these Chinese dishes are very popular all over the world and can be easily found in any Chinese restaurant. You can make both dishes at your home also.

Before you know the differences between chow mein and low mein you should know a few about both of these Chinese dishes.

It will be cleared to you when you know a few words about these Chinese dishes.

What is chow mein

What is chow mein or Chao main?

Chow is a Chinese word and it means stir fry. When you cook something by stir-fry method then it is called chow in terms of the Chinese language. Mein or main means noodles. So now it is cleared to you that chow mein means stir-fried noodles.

Different types of dark sauces like dark soya sauce, fish sauce, ketchup, etc, are used to make this dish. Noodles of chow mein are made from wheat flour and eggs. Some proteins like chicken, beef, egg are also added with veggies to cook this dish.

Chinese lo mein dish

What is lo mein or lo main?

Lo is also a Chinese word. Lo means to toss something. So lo mein means tossed noodles. It is just heated up and tossed with veggies. Like Chao main, it is not stir-fried. That is why lo main is softer than Chao main. Light sauces like light soya sauce, oyster sauce, sweet and light ketchup are normally used to make it.

Which types of noodles are used to make these recipes?

Some people think that different types of noodles are used to make these dishes. But it,s not true. To make both of these dishes usual wheat-flour egg noodles are used. Usually, round-shaped noodles are used to make Chao main. But flat-shaped noodles are also used to make this dish.

On the other hand, flat-shaped noodles are used to cook lo main usually. But round shaped noodles can be used also.

Cooking Difference?

Cooking methods are the main differences between chow mein and lo mein. Due to the different cooking method, one make crispy and another soft. Their taste also different due to different cooking methods. So let see the cooking difference between them.

How to cook chow mein?

To make chow mein first boil noodles to soften them then drain. Heat cooking oil in a big skillet over medium flame. Add chopped onion and ginger and fry until they turned brown. Now add different types of veggies and spices. Stir fry them then add sauces and ketchup like soya sauce, fish sauce, tomato ketchup, green chili sauce, etc. finally add the boiled noodles and mix well. You may add some protein like chicken, scrumble eggs or any types of meat. Stir fry and make it a little crispy. 

How to cook lo mein?

Like chow mein, wheat-flour egg noodles are also used in lo mein. The making style of lo mein is almost the same as chow mein. Stir-fried veggies and proteins are also added in lo mein. But in case of lo mein more sauces are used than chow mein. 

To make lo mein stir fry the veggies then add light sauces and pre-cooked proteins. Mix them well then add boiled noodles. Just toss the noodles with them then serve. As the noodles are just tossed so lo mein is softer than chow mein.

Chow mein vs lo mein – Which is better?

It totally depends on your taste. Some people like chow main, on the other hand, some people like lo mein. In lo mian more sauces are used usually. So, people who like soft noodles with more sauces, choose lo main. The sauce is the main ingredient of this dish.

On the other hand, fewer sauces are used in chao mian. But different varieties are available for this dish. 

Which is healthy?

As both dishes are made by wheat-flour based egg noodles so that both have the same nutritions value. But as Chao mian fry more times with oil so it contains more fat than lo mian. In a cup of egg noodles contain 230 calories, 4 grams fat, 50 grams carbohydrates and 10 grams proteins.

Difference between chow mein and lo mein

Chao Main

Lo Main

Stir-fried noodles with a crispy texture.Soft noodles with a soft texture.
Crisper than lo mianSofter than Chao mian
Wheat-flour based egg noodles are used.It is also cooked with wheat-flour based egg noodles.
Usually, round-shaped noodles are used.Flat shaped noodles are used normally.
Protein such as scrumble egg, beef, chicken are added with stir-fried veggies and dark sauces. Consume fewer sauces.Protein such as scrumble egg, beef, chicken are added with stir-fried veggies and light sauces. Consume more sauces.
Traditional name Chao Mian and origin in China.The traditional name Lo Mian and it is also originated in China.
What is the different between chow mein and lo mein

Chow Mein vs Lo Mein

KFC Recipe
Chow mein vs lo mein -The main difference between chow mein and low mein is that different cooking methods are used. One is stir-fried noodles and another tossed noodles. Both are Chinese dishes but a little difference between them.
See the full chow mein recipe
5 from 5 votes
Prep Time 30 mins
15 mins
Total Time 45 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Chinese
Servings 2 people
Calories 250 kcal


  • Skillet
  • Bowl


Ingredients for Chicken Chow Mein

  • 300 grams dry noodles
  • 250 grams boneless chicken breast
  • 1½ tbsp black pepper
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup spring onion
  • ½ tbsp grated ginger
  • ½ tbsp grated garlic
  • 2 tbsp soya sauce
  • 2 tbsp tomato ketchup
  • 1 cup thin sliced veggies
  • 1 tbsp oyster sauce
  • salt to taste
  • cooking oil


  • Boil the noodles in a boiling pot for 3-4 minutes or until they make soft. Drain water and mix one 1 tbsp oil with it.
  • Chop all the veggies and set aside.
  • Click here to see Chicken chow mein recipe


Calories: 250kcal
Keyword Chow mein vs Lo mein
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