Chinese cuisine is already known across the globe and Lo Mein noodles is a representative dish that has become especially popular in America. While this savory food has appealed to many consumers, there are several Lo Mein noodle alternatives that are on par in deliciousness. So, don’t be too disappointed when there are days you can’t have Lo Mein.
There are some things you should know about Lo Mein: this Chinese food is made with noodles from wheat flour and egg and is typically cooked with veggies and meat.
This dish tastes slightly sweet, spicy, and savory as the noodles get coated with sauce made with garlic, onion, soy sauce, sesame oil, and oyster sauce. There are some variations in the recipe with some including bell pepper, ginger, sugar, and mirin in the mix.
A list of Lo Mein noodle substitutes to satisfy your noodle cravings:
1. Chow Mein
When talking about Chinese food, it’s either Lo Mein or Chow Mein. In fact, many people in America often exchange one for another. It’s not surprising since almost the same ingredients are used for Chow Mein. The only main difference is the way the noodles are cooked.
Lo Mein translates to stirred or tossed noodles whereas Chow Mein means fried. So, you are either choosing fried noodles or stirred noodles. Chow Mein can is a bit greasier since it is fried and it is a tad bit heavier due to the added fat from oil.
If you’re looking for an almost similar dish with the same ingredients and is also popular, Chow Mein noodles is your next best bet.
2. Chili noodles
Another kind of Chinese dish that is just as good as Lo Mein is Chili noodles. Those who are a fan of spicy food would love this alternative.
Chili noodles also pretty much have the same base ingredients and cooking style as Lo Mein. These noodles are also made with the classic egg noodles with sauce made up of mirin, soy sauce, water, honey, chili paste, hot oil, and garlic. Adding in some veggies and your choice of protein would also make this dish a lot like Lo Mein.
This dish is very similar to Lo Mein noodles but in Japanese style. Both recipes have the noodles stir-fried mixed with some veggies and meat. Typical recipes use lean chicken, cabbage and shiitake mushrooms as ingredients.
Now, if you look at yakisoba and Lo Mein from afar, you probably won’t be able to identify which is which. The difference becomes pronounced when you take a bite of yakisoba. While it is sweet and savory much like Lo Mein, it has a more complex flavor. Most yakisoba dishes would include oyster sauce in its mix of sauces which gives the dish a richer umami flavor.
If you have the same base ingredients and know how to cook Lo Mein, you can most likely make yakisoba.
4. Pad thai
Pad Thai is another delicious alternative for Lo Mein noodles. It is not very similar in terms of taste but it can also be a great answer to your noodle cravings.
This Thai noodle dish is made with flat soft vermicelli noodles that are tossed and stir fried in sweet tamarind sauce with bean sprouts, shrimp, chicken, or tofu, and topped or mixed with scrambled egg.
With its tamarind sauce, this dish has sweet and sour notes that makes it as flavorful as Lo Mein.
5. Chop Suey noodles
If you are in Asia, Chop Suey is a completely different dish made with bean sprouts, cabbage, celery, meat, and eggs cooked in a starchy savory sauce. There is an American innovation with this Asian meal though and that’s what Chop Suey noodles is.
American Chopsuey is prepared with saucy stir-fried veggies and crispy noodles. It has a sweet and sour flavor like Pad Thai but instead of tamarind sauce it uses tomato ketchup, soy sauce, and sriracha. It’s a really addicting noodle dish that caters to people who love strong flavors.
Originating from Japan, ramen is another delicious alternative to Lo Mein noodles. While it’s generally soup-based, ramen can actually be prepared and eaten in other ways. One of which is turning it into a savory stir-fried ramen dish.
With some veggies and a choice of protein, you can cook ramen the same way you would Lo Mein. Of course it would be an even better choice to try out its packet of flavoring if you’re not a fan of oyster sauce.
7. Rice noodles
For people who don’t eat eggs or are allergic to gluten, you can use rice noodles. Made from rice flour, rice noodles are a healthier substitute for Lo Mein noodles. It has a similar texture to pasta but some would add some cornstarch or tapioca in the mixture to make the noodles more chewy.
If you’ve run out of the Chinese egg noodles that are for Lo Mein, try using these noodles. It will absorb the sauce you would use in a Lo Mein making just as good of a noodle dish. Otherwise you can try out the number of recipes that you can use this ingredient in.
8. Vermicelli noodles
Another doable option to replace Lo Mein is vermicelli noodles. Made from durum semolina and water, these long and thin noodles would give a different take to your Lo Mein recipe.
Vermicelli noodles go great in stir-fried recipes where you can add in and mix it with pork, beef, chicken, carrots, bean sprouts, cabbages and more. It’s a popular type of noodle in Southeast Asia used in stir-fries, soups, salads, and spring rolls. Like rice noodles, this is also good for people who are avoiding egg-based noodles.
One of the staple foods in Western cuisine, pasta can also work for your Lo Mein dish. There are many types of pasta available but you would be better off using spaghetti. This long cylindrical pasta is closest in terms of looks and texture to Lo Mein noodles.
Spaghetti can also pretty much work in a stir-fried dish like Lo Mein. When cooking the noodles, try to make it al dente so it can give a good bite like the egg noodles in Lo Mein. It’s quite efficient to get this option because if you’re tired of the stir-fried Chinese cuisine, you can easily make Western-style noodle dishes.
10. Whole Wheat Spaghetti
In a pinch, whole wheat spaghetti would also be good to go in a Lo Mein recipe. What’s even better about it is its availability in grocery stores plus its health benefits.
Whole wheat spaghetti is rich in fiber and has many other nutrients. It’s also easy to cook with and goes well with vegetables and sauces.
1. What kind of noodles are used in Lo Mein?
Chinese egg noodles are the main ingredient in this popular comfort food. It is made from wheat flour, egg and water. This mixture results in a dense, chewy noodle that gives a full bite.
While this is the typical noodle that represents this dish, you can totally still make Lo Mein with other noodles. You can choose noodles like ramen or spaghetti for the closest results or you can explore other options for a tasty surprise.
2. How do you cook Lo Mein?
There are plenty of ingredients that go in Lo Mein depending on your preference or who the cook is. In general, it is made with egg noodles, sauce, veggies, and meat.
Here’s an easy guideline and samples to cook Lo Mein noodles:
First, whisk soy sauce, ginger, sesame oil, and sugar in a bowl then set it aside. Boil the egg noodles according to its package instructions. Once done, drain the water. Next, heat olive oil in a wok or skillet and add onion and garlic. Stir-fry for 30 seconds or so.
Add pieces of chicken and stir-fry for about a minute. Add in carrot and bell peppers and cook until chicken is fully cooked. Add in the noodles, sauce, and water. Mix and toss. Add green onions for garnish and serve.
To sum things up:
Lo Mein noodle dish is really easy to make, hits the taste buds, and provides satiety. It’s an intercontinental recipe that satisfies many palates so replacing it is not an option for other people.
However, for reasons like allergies, unavailability, or boredom, you can easily mix things up with the Lo Mein noodle alternatives above.