Lo mein

Lo mein

[loh meyn]
Lo mein is a Chinese dish with noodles. It often contains vegetables and some type of meat or seafood, usually beef, chicken, pork, shrimp or wontons. Traditionally this is a variation of wonton noodle soup. The soup is simply separated from the noodles and other ingredients and served on the side. However, the version sold in many places in North America is rather a hybrid of chow mein, though they are prepared differently. Chow mein is stir-fried while lo mein is not fried.


The term lo mein comes from the Cantonese lōu mihn (), meaning stirred noodles. The Cantonese usage of the character 撈, pronounced lōu and meaning "to stir", differs from the character's usual meaning of "to dredge" or "to scoop out of water" in standard Mandarin Chinese, in which case it would be pronounced làauh or lòuh in Cantonese (lāo in Standard Mandarin). In Mandarin, the dish is more typically called bàn miàn (), not to be confused with bǎn miàn ().

American Chinese cuisine

In American Chinese restaurants, lo mein is a popular take-out food. In this setting, Lo mein noodles are usually stirred with brown sauce (a sauce made from soy sauce, corn starch, sugar, and other seasoning), carrots, bok choy or cabbage, onions, and shrimp, roast pork, beef, or chicken. Lobster lo mein, vegetable lo mein, and "House" lo mein (more than one meat) are often available.

However, in some regions of Western North America such as Vancouver, ordering Lo Mein will result in a dry dish of thin noodles with oyster sauce on top. This is accompanied by a bowl of broth used for wonton soup. This is much closer to the original Hong Kong version of the dish.


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