This Cantonese Chow Mein is a restaurant-style loaded with flavors from pan-fried noodles, vegetables, mushrooms, and the perfect blend of soy sauce seasonings. It comes together in less than 30 minutes, perfect for busy weeknights.
Pan-fried egg noodle dishes are one of our family favorites to make when we are in a hurry but want something delicious on busy days. It is usually quicker than running to grab take-out from a restaurant. This Cantonese Chow Mein recipe is inspired by a popular restaurant in Chinatown, Manila that I always have to go to at least once when we visit.
Why You Will Love This Recipe
- It's loaded with fresh veggies! If you're looking to sneak more vegetables into your family's diet, try these noodles. You can customize the veggies to suit your family's taste and feel good about what you're feeding them.
- A noodle dish that only needs two pans! This chow mein in soy sauce recipe makes it incredibly easy to get a restaurant-quality dish right in your own kitchen, but it also requires very little clean-up, making it a great go-to on busy evenings.
- If you love these meatless and vegetarian Cantonese chow mein noodles, make sure to check out my Vegan Udon Noodles, my Vegan Japchae, or my Vegan Pancit.
What is Cantonese Chow Mein
The term chow means stir-fried and mein mean noodles. Traditional Cantonese-style chow mein features chow mein noodles that are either quick-fried in high heat or pan-fried until crispy. This Chinese egg noodle dish is mixed with vegetables, meat, seafood, or tofu. Soy sauce is considered one of the main ingredients that give a dominant flavor. There are several methods of frying the noodles, and a range of toppings can be used to give this dish extra piquancy.
It originates in Chinese traditional cuisine but has gained popularity not just in Asia but around the world, and it is a staple in most Chinese restaurants.
Here are the main ingredients to make this delicious dish. I also share some substitutes or replacements because it doesn't have to be complicated to make this dish tasty. If you are vegetarian or looking for meatless ideas, this is perfect for you.
- Chow Mein Noodles - These pre-cooked chow mein noodles are easy to track down at most Asian grocery stores in the freezer or refrigerated section. Try to look for dry noodles.
- Mushrooms - It gives an earthy flavor and a nice texture to substitute the meat.
- Mung Bean Sprouts and Carrots - These are some of the veggies I added to give extra texture and color but feel free to add your favorites. Some common vegetables are cabbage, bell pepper, and celery.
- Onion and garlic - For aroma. Skip them if you don't care about their taste.
- Soy sauce - Traditionally, regular soy sauce which is from fermented soybeans and grains is the main seasoning to give that perfect salt and rich dark color. You can replace soy sauce with tamari or coconut aminos gluten-free options.
- Sesame oil - For aroma
How to Cook Chow Mein
Cooking the egg noodles. In a saucepan, bring 8 cups of water to a boil. Cook chow mein noodles for 3 minutes or until al dente then drain the water using a colander. Rinse with running cold water to stop the cooking process.
In a wok, heat 2 tablespoons of cooking oil, making sure to swirl around the pan to spread the oil. Fried the noodles in high heat on each side, for 3 minutes; we want the bottom to be crispy if possible. Once flipped, add more cooking oil along the perimeter of the noodles to help develop a nice crisp. Take it out and set it aside.
Stir-frying the ingredients. In the same wok, heat 2 tablespoons of cooking oil and stir-fry mushrooms for 1 minute, then take it out.
Heat 2 more tablespoons of oil and stir-fry garlic, onion, and carrots for 2 minutes. Add the pan-fried egg noodles back with the soy sauce, brown sugar, and sesame oil. Stir-fry for 1 minute.
Lastly, add stir-fried mushrooms, mung bean sprouts, and green onions, and mix until well combined. Taste and adjust your seasoning accordingly. Transfer to a serving plate. Ready to serve.
- Turn on the heat to high and spread the noodles evenly in the wok when pan-frying them. It is the key to achieving a crispy texture. Once flipped, add more cooking oil along the perimeter of the noodles to help develop a nice crisp. I'm using a wok, but you can use a large skillet to cook but make sure that it is high-heat resistant.
- Do not overcook the vegetables. We don't want soggy mess vegetables. Stir-frying the veggies in high heat for 1-2 minutes helps them retain their texture and color.
Storage and Reheating
- Storage: Transfer the leftovers to an air-tight container and store them in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
- Reheating: Reheat noodles in a large skillet over medium heat on the stovetop. Add a splash of water to loosen up the noodles a bit and season to taste with salt and pepper before serving.
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Cantonese Chow Mein Recipe
- 8 ounces chow mien pre-cook
- 7 tablespoons cooking oil
- 8 ounces mushroom, any sliced
- 1 medium yellow onion sliced thinly
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 medium carrot sliced thinly
- 4 tablespoons soy sauce regular
- 2 tablespoons sesame oil
- 4 ounces mung bean sprouts
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 3 stalks green onions chopped
- In a saucepan, bring 8 cups of water to a boil and cook egg noodles for 3 minutes. Using a colander, drain the hot water and rinse the noodles with running cold water.
- In a wok, heat 2 tablespoons of cooking oil, making sure to swirl around the pan to spread the oil. Fried the noodles in high heat on each side, for 3 minutes; we want the bottom to be crispy if possible. Flip the noodles and add 1 tablespoon of cooking oil along the perimeter of the noodles to help develop a nice crisp. Take it out and set it aside.
- Using the same wok or skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of cooking oil and stir-fry mushrooms for 1 minute. Then take it out and set aside.
- Heat another 2 tablespoons of oil and stir-fry garlic, onion, and carrots for 2 minutes. Then add back pan-fried noodles, soy sauce, sugar, and sesame oil. Mix well.
- Toss in bean sprouts, green onions and cooked mushrooms until well combined with noodles. Remove from the heat. Transfer in plate. Serve and enjoy!
- Turn the heat to high when pan-frying the egg noodles. It is the key to achieving a crispy texture. Once flipped, add more cooking oil along the perimeter of the noodles to help develop a nice crisp. I’m using a wok, but you can use a large skillet to cook but make sure that it is high-heat resistant.
- A wok is not necessary, you can simply use a large skillet or pan.