This is a classic Chinese dish that is a commonly served dish at Chinese Restaurants around the world. Chow Mein directly translated means Stir Fried Noodles. This is an easy Chinese dish you can make at home that can be used as a one pot meal.
Now, let me start by saying this is not ‘lo mein’. My husband is Chinese (Mandarin), and the direct translation for ‘Mein’ is ‘Noodle’ and ‘Chow’ is ‘Stir Fried’.
I’m not sure why, but there is a group of people who seem to think that chow mein is only vegetables and no noodles. I’m sorry to burst your bubble, but Mein is ‘Noodles’. Without the noodles, there is no Mein in Chow Mein. 😉 If you don’t believe me, go to google translate and see for yourself. Type in ‘Chow Mein’ for english, and you’ll see the definition is:
Still don’t believe me? Go to Wikipedia’s Chow Mein page:
Chow mein (/ˈtʃaʊ ˈmeɪn/) are stir-fried noodles, the name being an English language corruption of the Taishanese chāu-mèing. The dish is popular throughout the Chinese diaspora where it will appear on the menu of Chinese restaurants. It is particularly popular in the United States and Britain.
Now that we have that cleared up, what’s the difference between a lo mein and a chow mein? Fried vs. not fried. If the method of cooking the noodles is a ‘stir fry’, then the dish is considered to be a chow mein. If it uses steam or liquid to cook (as you can see in my Family Style Lo Mein Recipe), or if you smother a boiled noodle with vegetabales and/or meat, then it is ‘Lo Mein’.
There are a lot of other styles of Chinese Noodles including ‘Hong Kong Style Chow Mein’, but I think Chicken Chow Mein is probably one that you will find in 95% of the Chinese Restaurants in the US.
As for the noodles, what kind of noodles are best? Well, you really should try to get a fresh Chinese egg noodle. Cook it in boiling water per the package directions, drain and rinse with cold water. This is the one I used:
But I realize that’s not always possible. So, I found that the cheaper spaghetti noodles work best. The more yellow the noodle, the better.
And as for bean sprouts, any type will do. But, the Mung Bean Sprout is most common. Here’s what I used:
And finally, the Chinese Wine. Don’t worry if you don’t have any on hand. You can substitute with a Cream Sherry, Sweet Vermouth, or a white wine. That flavor isn’t a huge part of the dish, so if you are ‘alcohol free’, you can even substitute it for ‘rice wine vinegar’. You just need a little something extra to let the flavors pop.
I think you are probably ready for the recipe now. So, here it is. Enjoy!