Difference Between Chow Mein and Lo Mein (With Table)

There are several dishes famous all over the world for their exquisite taste and flavor. For example, dosa, pasta, momos, etc. They are eaten and preferred by a lot. Most of them are different in appearance and taste, etc but some of them are similar in many ways that not many can distinguish between both. Among such dishes are Chow Mein and Lo Mein. Both of them are famous dishes of china that are liked by many. But not many know how they differ.

To have a better understanding of both of the dishes, the following article contains information and difference on both of these dishes.

Chow Mein vs Lo Mein

The difference between Chow Mein and Lo Mein is in their methods of cooking. Chow Mein is fried while Lo Mein is not fried. Both of them have different textures and complexions. Sauces are not always added to both dishes, the shape of noodles used for them also differ. They have different traditional names too.

Chow Mein is a Chinese dish prepared with round-shaped noodles. It is made from wheat flour and is stir-fried. It has a crispy texture and looks dark in color after cooking. It is mainly dry but sometimes can be wet or sticky too. Noodles should not be over-cooked as it is the base of the whole dish. It is also called Chow Mian.

Lo Mein is also a Chinese dish prepared with flat noodles (wheat floured). It is extremely soft in texture and appearance, it is light in color. It has more flavors due to the addition of different sauces. It is never dry. It is rich in nutritional content due to the presence of vegetables.

Comparison Table Between Chow Mein and Lo Mein

Parameters of ComparisonChow MeinLo Mein
Literal MeaningStir-Fried NoodlesTossed Noodles
ShapeFlat or roundedFlat
SauceDry noodlesSaucy noodles
Traditional nameChao MianLo Mian

What is Chow Mein?

Chow Mein is an original dish of China, but it is famous all over the food as Chinese food. It tastes, spicy, and comes in several forms vegetarian and non-vegetarian. It can be cooked with eggs and chicken and with vegetables.

Every country has its version of Chow Mein, the basic difference in has is that it is boiled first and then stir out the water, after that it is fired with all other ingredients. Although there is no addition of sauces but some dark sauce such as soy sauces is added in this to add a special taste.

Vegetarian Chow Mein is the most famous among all as it is consumed by the largest population of the world. Veg Chow Mein includes mainly three ingredients, Noodles, Vegetables (onion, corn, capsicum, cabbage, etc), and some dark sauces (soya sauce, vinegar, etc.) non-veg Chow Mein is prepared in the same manner just a step of some eggs or chicken is added along with vegetables.

The main things that have to be taken care of include: noodles should be properly cooked, a large pan should be used for cooking, vegetables should be stir-fried, everything should be mixed properly.

What is Lo Mein?

It is Chinese cuisine especially famous in the USA. Like any noodle dish, it is also very versatile. It can be cooked with vegetables and chicken or eggs. It is important to cook the noodles carefully as they should be soft and easily chewed. Noodles should stay intact and not clump. Fresh noodles should be used and any packed noodles should be avoided. They should be kept in a dry and cold place.

Several vegetables can be used in Lo Mein such as mushrooms, tofu, carrots, onions, peas, cabbages, etc except this meat, chicken, eggs or even fish can be used as ingredients.

The recipe is the same as Chow Mein just the difference is that in case Lo Mein the noodles are just boiled not fired. This also makes it a healthier option as it does not contain any extra calories or fat due to oil or frying. It is prepared pretty soon as nothing vast has to be done for the preparation. It also contains several types of sauces that add exquisite flavors to the dish.

The vegetable or chicken must be cooked very well and easily chewed. Although it’s origin in China, it is famous in other parts of the world.

Main Differences Between Chow Mein and Lo Mein

  1. The literal meaning of both noodles is different although Mein means noodles, but the initial word of them have different meanings, such as Chao means stir fired Lo means tossed. This also explains the method used for them to cook. Chao Mein is boiled and then fired also and then later on extra flavors are added in them whereas Lo Mein is boiled and then flavors are added, they are not fired at all.
  2. Due to frying both of the noodles have different types of textures. The frying makes the noodles of Chow Mein Crispier whereas Lo Mein noodles are not fired therefore they have a soft texture.
  3. Different types of noodles are used for making these dishes, for Chow Mien mostly round noodles are used while for Lo Mein mostly flat noodles are used.
  4. In the case of Chow Mein sauces are not important they are more dry noodles in fact if the sauces are added mostly dark sauces are added while in the case of Lo Mein sauces are always added and that also white sauces. This implies that Chow Mein has a relatively darker complexion than the Lo Mein.
  5. Both of the dishes have different traditional names; while Chow Mein was earlier called Chao Mian, Lo Mein was earlier called Lo Mian.
  6. Although both of them are healthy, but if compared due to frying Chow Mein is less healthy when compared with the Lo Mein that is boiled.


Therefore, you should easily differentiate between both, Chow Mein and Lo Mein. Both of them are their tastes and texture. Most people like these dishes. They are similar as they are made from the same flour, both contain eggs, have similar nutritional value, both are the origin of the same country China. Their name typically means noodles. Noodles in it are an ingredient that can be used with some other ingredients to make dishes. It is very versatile and can be added with vegetables.

Some other dishes that look similar are, Roti and Tortilla, Spaghetti and Noodles, Tofu and Paneer, etc. all of these dishes have a similar appearance but are origin from different countries.


  1. https://www.jstor.org/stable/40326783
  2. https://m.ocean-city.com/wp-content/uploads/listing_menus/725688/AGChinese_Food.pdf
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