When it comes to Chinese cuisine, there are a plethora of dishes to choose from. Two of these dishes that are very popular are Lo Mein and Chow Mein. While their names may seem similar, they are in fact two very distinct dishes with their own unique flavors and textures. In this article, we will explore the difference between Lo Mein and Chow Mein.
What is Lo Mein?
Lo Mein is a dish made with soft wheat noodles, stir-fried along with meat, vegetables, and a flavorful sauce. The noodles used in Lo Mein are cooked until they become tender and pliable. These noodles are thick and are usually boiled in water along with salt and oil. Once the noodles are soft, they are placed in a wok and stir-fried along with different ingredients like carrots, cabbage, onions, bean sprouts, and chicken, beef or shrimp. The noodles are then tossed with a sauce made with various seasonings like soy sauce, oyster sauce, garlic, ginger and sesame oil. Lo Mein is often served as a main course dish and is commonly found in Chinese takeout menus.
What is Chow Mein?
Chow Mein is a dish made with crispy egg noodles that are pan-fried until they become crispy and golden brown. Unlike Lo Mein, the noodles used in Chow Mein are egg-based and are thinner and crispy. The noodles are often pan-fried until they become crispy and golden brown. Once the noodles are crispy, they are then tossed with stir-fried vegetables like carrots, celery, onions, and bean sprouts. The vegetables used in Chow Mein are usually cut into small pieces so that they can be easily stir-fried. Chow Mein is often served as a side dish, appetizer, or main course and is also commonly found in Chinese takeout menus.
The Differences Between Lo Mein and Chow Mein
Lo Mein and Chow Mein are two very distinct dishes with their own unique textures, flavors, and cooking techniques. There are several differences between these two dishes, including:
1. Noodles: One of the main differences between Lo Mein and Chow Mein is the type of noodles used. Lo Mein uses soft wheat noodles, which are cooked until they become tender and pliable. Chow Mein, on the other hand, uses crispy egg noodles that are pan-fried until they become crispy and golden brown.
2. Texture: Another major difference between Lo Mein and Chow Mein is their texture. Lo Mein has a soft and pliable texture, while Chow Mein has a crispy and crunchy texture.
3. Cooking Technique: The cooking technique for both dishes also differs. Lo Mein is usually boiled in water, while Chow Mein is usually pan-fried.
4. Ingredients: The ingredients used in both dishes differ as well. Lo Mein typically contains meat, vegetables, and a flavorful sauce made with soy sauce, oyster sauce, garlic, ginger and sesame oil. Chow Mein typically includes stir-fried vegetables like carrots, celery, onions, and bean sprouts.
5. Serving: Lastly, the way these dishes are served differ. Lo Mein is served as a main course dish and is usually eaten with a fork. Chow Mein can be served as a side dish or appetizer and is often eaten with chopsticks.
In conclusion, Lo Mein and Chow Mein are two popular Chinese dishes that differ in their noodles, texture, cooking techniques, ingredients, and serving style. While both dishes are delicious in their own way, the difference between them can be attributed to the different choices of noodles and cooking techniques used. Understanding these differences will help you choose the best dish for your taste buds next time you’re in the mood for some Chinese cuisine.