Difference Between Noodles and Chow Mein

Noodles and Chow Mein are famous worldwide. They are a very favorite and quick dish for people of all ages.

It is delicious and easy to cook. Besides, it can be prepared in many interesting forms.

We tend to use the terms Noodles and Chow Mein quite interchangeably. However, if we recall properly when we order a dish in the restaurant, we do not refer to it as just “Noodles.”

That is when it strikes us that there may be a fine line of difference.

We need to understand when to use the respective terms. They do not substitute for each other.

When we learn more about their preparation and making, the difference tends to get clearer. In this article. w shall aim to do so.

Noodles vs Chow Mein

The main difference between Noodles and Chow Mein is that Noodles are themselves an ingredient.

Whereas, Chow Mein is a Chinese dish that includes Noodles as its basic ingredient.

Noodles are long and thin stripes that are cut out from flour in different shapes. Chow Mein is when we prepare and fry it with many other ingredients.

They are of various types.

Noodles vs Chow Mein

Noodles are boiled. The boiling process is continued till the flour paste softens.

Then, it is allowed to cool down eventually. They are made from flour dough.

It generally comes in the shape of strips or strings. It can be used as raw ingredients to prepare several dishes.

On the other hand, Chow Mein is the fried form of noodles. They are prepared in the toss and stir-fry style.

This adds special crispiness to the noodles. Many interesting dishes can be prepared using various kinds of sauce.

Other ingredients can also be added to make it more delicious. Green vegetables and salads are also added for the decoration.

Comparison Table Between Noodles and Chow Mein

Parameters Noodles Chow Mein
IngredientsThe dough for noodles is prepared from wheat, flour, rice, etc.The basic ingredient is Noodles.
TextureIt has a very soft texture. It has a very crispy, deep texture.
NutrientsIt is rich in carbohydrates.Proteins can be added to make the dish healthy.
TypeThey are simply boiled.Can be stir-fried or deep-fried.
PreparationIt is prepared from a dough of flour.It is prepared by frying the noodles.

What is Noodles?

In most Asian countries, Noodles are considered a staple dish. They are prepared from a dough of flour.

It is also available in various shapes and flavors. Among them, stripes and strings are the most common.

To make it edible, noodles are boiled for a continued duration.

The soft outcome is used to prepare tasty dishes. The idea of sauce goes very well with any kind of noodles.

They are a perfect combination. Noodles have a wide range of varieties. They are also of different types.

This is because the dough for noodles can be prepared with various ingredients such as wheat, flour, rice, etc.

Hence, we can get them in a variety of flavors. This is the reason we do not simply order “Noodles” when we go to the restaurants.

Noodles are just the basic ingredients. The name of the dish depends upon how they are prepared.

When the noodles are fried to make a particular dish, we call it “Chow Mein.” Further ingredients are added according to our wishes and requirements.

They can be prepared as stir-fried, deep-fried, and various others.

What is Chow Mein?

The word ‘Chow’ means ‘something fried’ and the word ‘Mein’ means ‘Noodles.’ In English, Chow Mein means fried Noodles.

Hence, as the name suggests, it is a dish that includes fried noodles as its ingredient. So, we call it a noodle dish.

It is a Chinese dish. However, Chow Mein is enjoyed by people throughout the world.

The deep fry of the noodles makes it tastier and crunchier, adding an amazing taste to it.

We can make different kinds of dishes according to our choices.

Chow Mein is prepared by the toss and stir-fry method. Also, we can add some healthy nutrients to it.

Sometimes, people prefer a traditional touch with the addition of carrots and vegetables to it. Especially in Chinese-based restaurants, we get to see a variety of Chinese dishes.

The pan-fried delicious taste goes pretty well with some thick homemade sauce. The addition of some meat or tofu makes the dish even more enjoyable.

The sauce is a very important ingredient and it is the one on which its type depends.

Main Differences Between Noodles and Chow Mein

  1. The main difference between Noodles and Chow Mein is their ingredient. Noodles are themselves an ingredient.
  2. Whereas, the main to prepare Chow Mein is Noodles. 
  3. Noodles are rich in carbohydrates. Chow Mein is rich in carbohydrates too, however, proteins can be added to make the dish healthy.
  4. Their preparation process is yet another point of difference to keep in mind. Noodles are prepared from a dough of flour. On the other hand, Chow Mein is prepared by frying the noodles.
  5. Next, coming to their texture. Noodles have a very soft texture. Whereas, Chow Mein has a very crispy, deep texture. 
  6. Noodles are simply boiled. However, Chow Mein can be of different types like stir-fried or deep-fried.
Difference Between Noodles and Chow Mein


From the above information, we can say that Noodles are the base product for Chow Mein. Chow Mein on the other hand, is the final result or what we call output, after processing.

Hence, they are not two different items yet are not synonyms either. We can say that Chow Mein is a subset of Noodles.

If Noodle is an ingredient, Chow Mein is a dish prepared from that ingredient.

Thus, we can conclude that all Chow Mein is Noodles but all Noodles are not Chow Mein. People who are hardcore fans of Chinese cuisine can tell the difference quite easily and effortlessly.

Otherwise, just by looking, it is quite challenging to distinguish between the two. The main difference lies in the taste due to their difference in preparation.


  1. https://ifst.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1365-2621.1987.tb00535.x
  2. https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/article-abstract/75/1/11/4689240
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