Chow Mein Recipe – Asian-Inspired Fried Noodles

Stir-fried noodles, usually called chow mein in English-speaking countries, actually were named because of a corruption of the the Chinese word, “chau-meing.” The name basically just means “fried noodles.” Chow ( 炒 )means fried, and mein ( 面 ) means noodles!

Variations of chow mein are very popular in many countries that Chinese people have settled in. Even though the dish originated in China, it is not just popular with people of Chinese descent and is very often featured on menus in Chinese restaurants.

This is particularly true in the UK, the USA, and India. In fact, when asked about popular types of Chinese food, it is very likely that people in these different countries will mention chow mein.

Typical Chow Mein Dishes

Another version of westernized chow mein, photo credit flickr by DijutalTim

In Western countries, chow mein dishes usually consist of fried noodles that are mixed with other food ingredients. Examples of common ingredients are diced vegetables, seafood and meat. For example, shrimp, chicken, and beef are common choices in American Chinese restaurants. There may also be a vegan or vegetarian option that uses soy as a source of protein rather than animal protein.

Very often, chow mein dishes are also cooked in a sauce that complements the rest of the ingredients in the dish. These might be sweet, spicy, mild, or some combination. The recipe below is fried with a concoction of sauce that is savory and not spicy.

(Get the Stir Fry Sauce recipe here)

There are usually two general kinds of noodles in the dish. These are actually the same basic noodles, but they are prepared differently for a different consistency and may have a different shape. These are:

* Steamed noodles are served soft in the dish.
* Fried noodles get crispy and add texture to the dish.

Very often, the steamed noodles are long and round. The fried type may be shorter, and they may also be flat noodles. In some cases, steamed noodle dishes will include some fried noodle bits to sprinkle over the top in order to add some crunch and texture to the dish.

Regional Varieties Of Chow Mein In The USA

chow mein recipe
Chow Mein in China town photo credit flickr by Shubert Ciencia

In some cases, the crispy version of the chow mein is called “Hong Kong Style.” In the USA, for example, there are even regional differences. For example, diners on the East Coast might always expect the crispy style. They may also expect their dish to be served with rice. On the West Coast, diners might expected the soft, steamed style, and the crispy dish is always called the “Hong Kong” Style. Of course, other countries may have different names and expectations for this dish.

Even different cities may have developed their own varieties and dining expectations. For example, in Chicago and other places in the Midwest US, the sauce is commonly poured over crispy and friend noodles. However, further east in Philadelphia, the dish might be served with the crispy noodles on the side.

In many cases, the Philadelphia version of chow mein also comes with a serving of fried rice on the side. This really allows diners the option of concocting their own unique dish from the cooked dishes provided with the meal.

In any case, Americans and people in other English-speaking countries should not expect this dish to remain close to the original dishes that have been developed in China. Partly, this is because chefs have developed variations to conform to regional tastes. Also, they have modified recipes for chow mein to use common types of available food in each area.

It is not surprising to find that cultural anthropologists have actually studied this popular dish. They have found that the further away the dish has migrated from large centers of Asian immigrants, the more likely that the dish will have picked up local and regional variations and be very different from what would be expected in China.


5 from 1 vote
Chow Mein Recipe
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
10 mins
Total Time
30 mins
This is a classic Chinese fried noodle recipe.
Course: Main
Cuisine: Chinese
Keyword: chow mein
Servings: 2
Calories: 700 kcal
Author: KP Kwan
  • 25 g vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon garlic minced
  • 1 egg
  • 40 g chicken meat cut to thin slices
  • 20 g stir-fried sauce
  • 40 g squids cut into rings
  • 180 g egg noodles
  • 30 g bean sprout
  • 50 g cabbage cut into strips
  • 30 g carrots cut into small strips
  • 0.5 teaspoon corn starch
  • 15 g water mix with cornstarch to form a slur
  • 10 g spring onion cut into small pieces
  1. Put the dry noodle in the boiling water. Boil for about 3 minutes or until it is loosened. Use a colander or sieve to drain off the water
  2. Heat up some cooking oil in the wok. Saute the minced garlic over low heat in the wok until it turns fragrant.
  3. Add the meat into the wok. Continue stir-frying until the meat is cooked.
  4. chow mein
  5. Add the vegetables, squids and stir fry about half a minute.
  6. Crack the eggs into the wok along with some extra oil. Stir-fried the egg like making scramble egg until the egg is half cook.
  7. chow mein
  8. Add the noodles into the egg. Stir-fry all the ingredients together. Change to medium heat. Continue stir-frying until the for a minute. Add some extra oil if the noodles tends to stick to the wok. You can also add one or two tablespoons of water if it is too dry.
  9. Add half of the bean sprouts and stir-fry a half a minutes.
  10. chow mein
  11. Add the fried noodle sauce.
  12. fry noodle sauce
  13. Push the noodles to the side of the wok. Pour the cornstarch water into the wok. Stir the cornstarch water with the wok shovel until the cornstarch is cooked and become transparent. Push the noodle back to the center of the wok and stir-fried for a few second.(optional step)
  14. Finally, add the remaining bean sprouts, spring onion and stir-fried over high heat for ten seconds.
  15. Dish out and enjoy.
Nutrition Facts
Chow Mein Recipe
Amount Per Serving (180 g)
Calories 700 Calories from Fat 324
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 36g 55%
Saturated Fat 8g 40%
Cholesterol 360mg 120%
Sodium 2mg 0%
Total Carbohydrates 60g 20%
Dietary Fiber 5g 20%
Sugars 5g
Protein 36g 72%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.


The authentic chow mein in Asia

So if you want to try the authentic version of chow mein in Asia, here is my recipe. This is served in my restaurant for many years that is also popular in many Asian countries. Try it with your friends and family and leave a comment. I am eager to find out how western people think about the Asian version of chow mein recipe.

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    6 replies to "Chow Mein Recipe"

    • KP Kwan

      Hi, this is KP Kwan. I am happy to see you at this comment area, as you have read through my recipe. I am happy to reply any questions and comments as soon as possible.

    • Lim Kian Hin

      Dear Mr Kwan.

      Is Sunny Kim.

      Question on the corn flour slur. What actually does it bring to to the fried noodle. Don’t think it contribute to taste. Is it outlook. I did tried n just curiouso on the reason.


      • KP Kwan

        Hi Sunny,

        Cornflour slurry is to thicken the sauce. Without it, the sauce will be runny. After you add the cornflour slurry, the sauce is thickened, and cling on to every morsel of food.

        More info at my article The definitive guide to stir fry, (URL : ), part eleven.


        KP Kwan

    • Lim Kian Hin

      Dear Mr Kwan.

      I read up your Recipe. And tried attempt Chow Mein. The corn starch solution was after the premix had been mixed tossed with the noodle.

      In this case then it should be better to add the corn starch solution to the premiex n fried with the noodles.

      Please correct if I am wrong. Thanks.

      • KP Kwan

        Dear Sunny,

        You can use both ways, which should give you the same effect.

        KP Kwan

    • Lim Kian Hin

      Thank You so much . Mr Kwan.

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