Noodles, veggies, and protein: These are the three components in any classic chow or lo mein. Although they may have similar ingredients, and are both delicious and popular in Chinese American restaurants across the country, they are not the same dish. “I think they became prominent on Chinese American menus because early Cantonese immigrants brought these dishes over,” said Maggie Zhu, author of the Omnivore’s Cookbook. She has developed recipes of both dishes, and explained the difference between them thusly.
Let’s start with the noodles.
“For me the key difference is the type of noodles used in them,” Maggie said. “Lo mein usually uses the fat, chewy noodles, while chow mein uses the thin type of noodles that sometimes contain egg.” Lo mein uses fresh noodles that are boiled for a few minutes, while chow mein uses