Chow Fun vs Lo Mein: A Taste Test Comparison

Chow Fun and Lo Mein are both popular Chinese noodle dishes, but they differ in their ingredients and preparation. Chow Fun features wide rice noodles and stir-fried ingredients, while Lo Mein uses egg noodles and is often served with a sauce. Both dishes are delicious options for noodle lovers seeking a taste of Chinese cuisine. Chow Fun and Lo Mein are delicious Chinese noodle dishes that offer distinct flavors and textures.

Chow Fun vs Lo Mein

Also Read: Boba vs Tapioca: Decoding the Differences and Making a Choice

Overview Of Chow Fun vs Lo Mein

AspectChow FunLo Mein
OriginChinese cuisineChinese cuisine
Noodle TypeWide, flat rice noodlesSoft wheat egg noodles
TextureChewy and slightly crispySoft and tender
Cooking MethodHigh heat stir-fryingBoiling and stir-frying
SauceTypically lighter saucesVaried sauces, often savory
IngredientsOften includes protein andCan include various
vegetables in the dishingredients like meats,
vegetables, and seafood
Flavor ProfileAbsorbs flavors of theBlends flavors of
ingredients and saucesingredients and sauces
Common VarietiesBeef Chow Fun, Vegetable ChowChicken Lo Mein, Shrimp
Fun, Seafood Chow FunLo Mein, Pork Lo Mein,
Beef Lo Mein
Regional VariationsPopular in Cantonese cuisineCommon in American Chinese
Serving StyleOften served with soy sauce orTypically served as a
hoisin saucestandalone dish
AvailabilityFound in Chinese restaurantsFound in Chinese restaurants
and some Asian marketsand takeout establishments

Also Read: Comparing Sweet Rice Flour and Glutinous Rice Flour: Which is Better?

Chow Fun vs Lo Mein: Exploring the Battle of Noodles


When it comes to Chinese cuisine, noodles are an integral part of many dishes. Two popular noodle dishes that often leave diners confused are Chow Fun and Lo Mein. While they may appear similar at first glance, there are significant differences that set them apart.

In this article, we will delve into the world of Chow Fun and Lo Mein, exploring their origins, cooking methods, ingredients, and flavors, to help you understand their distinct characteristics and make an informed choice the next time you order Chinese noodles.


Both Chow Fun and Lo Mein are traditional Chinese dishes that have been enjoyed for centuries. Chow Fun originates from the Cantonese cuisine of southern China, while Lo Mein has roots in northern Chinese cuisine.

Chow Fun

Chow Fun, also known as Ho Fun or Shahe Fen, is believed to have originated in the Guangdong province of China. The term “Chow Fun” translates to “stir-fried rice noodles,” which perfectly describes the dish. It is commonly associated with Cantonese cuisine and is a popular street food in Hong Kong.

Lo Mein

Lo Mein, on the other hand, traces its origins to the Shandong province in northern China. The term “Lo Mein” translates to “tossed noodles.” It was traditionally made by hand-pulling the noodles, giving them their distinct texture. Today, Lo Mein has evolved into various regional variations and is widely enjoyed across China and the rest of the world.


While both Chow Fun and Lo Mein feature noodles as their main ingredient, the type of noodles used sets them apart.

Chow Fun

Chow Fun is made using wide, flat rice noodles. These noodles are translucent and have a soft, slightly chewy texture. They are wider than the noodles used in Lo Mein, giving Chow Fun a unique appearance and mouthfeel.

Lo Mein

Lo Mein, on the other hand, is made using wheat flour noodles. These noodles are thinner and have a slightly elastic texture. They are found in both fresh and dried forms and are readily available in most Asian grocery stores.

Cooking Methods

While both Chow Fun and Lo Mein are stir-fried noodle dishes, the cooking methods vary slightly.

Chow Fun

To prepare Chow Fun, the wide rice noodles are first parboiled to soften them. They are then stir-fried over high heat with various ingredients such as meat, seafood, vegetables, and sauces. The wide surface area of the noodles allows for a quick and even cooking process.

Lo Mein

In the case of Lo Mein, the wheat flour noodles are boiled until al dente before being stir-fried with the desired ingredients. The boiling process ensures that the noodles are cooked evenly. The stir-frying step adds flavor and allows the ingredients to meld together.

Ingredients and Flavors

The choice of ingredients and flavors is where Chow Fun and Lo Mein truly differ.

Chow Fun

Chow Fun often features a combination of protein, such as beef, chicken, or shrimp, along with a medley of vegetables like bean sprouts, scallions, and Chinese greens. The seasonings include soy sauce, oyster sauce, and sometimes a touch of sesame oil. The resulting flavors are savory, slightly sweet, and umami-rich.

Lo Mein

Lo Mein, on the other hand, offers a wide variety of ingredient options. It can be made with meat, seafood, or just vegetables. Common vegetables used in Lo Mein include carrots, bok choy, and mushrooms. The seasoning choices can vary, but soy sauce, garlic, and ginger are often used. The flavors are subtly savory, with a hint of garlic and umami.


Chow Fun and Lo Mein also differ in terms of presentation.

Chow Fun

Chow Fun is often served on a plate, with wide rice noodles as the star of the dish. The ingredients and sauce are distributed evenly throughout the noodles, making it a visually appealing dish.

Lo Mein

Lo Mein is served in a bowl, with the noodles mixed with the other ingredients and sauce. The result is a more unified presentation, with the flavors melding together.


While both Chow Fun and Lo Mein are delicious Chinese noodle dishes, they offer distinct experiences in terms of ingredients, flavors, and textures. Chow Fun showcases wide rice noodles stir-fried to perfection with a variety of ingredients, while Lo Mein features thinner wheat flour noodles tossed with a range of flavors.

Exploring these differences allows you to savor the unique characteristics of each dish and make an informed choice based on your preferences. Next time you’re craving Chinese noodles, be it the wide and soft Chow Fun or the thin and flavorful Lo Mein, you’ll know exactly what to expect!

Also Read: Hand Roll vs Roll: A Comprehensive Comparison

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between Chow Fun and Lo Mein?

Chow Fun and Lo Mein are both Chinese noodle dishes, but the main difference lies in the type of noodles used. Chow Fun uses wide, flat rice noodles, while Lo Mein uses egg noodles that are thinner and rounder.

Is Chow Fun gluten-free?

No, Chow Fun is not gluten-free since it uses rice noodles made from rice flour, which contains gluten. However, there are gluten-free versions available that use alternative flour like tapioca or brown rice flour.

Can Lo Mein be made with different proteins?

Yes, Lo Mein can be made with various proteins such as chicken, beef, shrimp, or tofu. It is a versatile dish that can be customized to suit different dietary preferences.

Are Chow Fun and Lo Mein vegetarian-friendly?

Both Chow Fun and Lo Mein can be made vegetarian-friendly by using vegetable broth and substituting meat with tofu or an assortment of vegetables.

What are popular toppings for Chow Fun and Lo Mein?

Popular toppings for Chow Fun and Lo Mein include sliced scallions, bean sprouts, shredded carrots, and sesame seeds. Some variations may also include chopped peanuts or crispy fried shallots.

Which dish is typically more flavorful, Chow Fun or Lo Mein?

Taste preferences vary, but Chow Fun is known for its rich, savory flavors as the wide rice noodles absorb more sauce. Lo Mein, on the other hand, tends to have a lighter flavor profile.

Can I refrigerate leftovers of Chow Fun or Lo Mein?

Yes, leftovers of Chow Fun and Lo Mein can be refrigerated for 2-3 days. Ensure proper storage in an airtight container to maintain freshness.

Is Chow Fun or Lo Mein healthier?

Both Chow Fun and Lo Mein can be part of a balanced diet. To make them healthier, opt for lean proteins, add plenty of vegetables, and control the amount of sauce and oil used in the preparation.

Are Chow Fun and Lo Mein spicy?

The level of spiciness in Chow Fun and Lo Mein can vary based on the recipe or personal preference. Some versions may be mild while others can be spicier, depending on the addition of chili peppers or sauces.

Can I find Chow Fun and Lo Mein at most Chinese restaurants?

Chow Fun and Lo Mein are popular dishes in Chinese cuisine, so you can usually find them on the menu at most Chinese restaurants. However, availability may vary depending on the restaurant’s regional focus.


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