Who doesn’t love a good discussion about Chow fun vs. Mei fun? Certainly not me. Let’s take a moment to see the difference between these two Chinese noodles.
What Is Chow Fun?
Chow fun is a Chinese dish made with rice noodles. It’s commonly served with beef, chicken, seafood, duck, and vegetables.
Chow fun is also known as chow mein and chow foon. The noodles are typically stir-fried with vegetables and meat in a wok before being combined with sauces like oyster sauce or hoisin sauce.
The word “chow” means rice vermicelli in Cantonese. The word “fun” translates to wide or flat rice noodles.
How To Use It
Chow fun is a wide rice noodle that’s used in stir-fries, soups, and more. Chow fun noodles are made from wheat flour and water. The noodles are cut into strips and dried before packaging to prevent spoiling.
Chow fun noodles come in different widths and thicknesses. The wider the strip of chow fun noodle, the bigger bite you’ll have when you eat it.
You can find Chow-fun noodles at your local Asian grocery store or online from Amazon or eBay. If you’re looking for a tasty Asian dish that’s easy to make, try this recipe for Chicken Chow Fun with Bok Choy and Mushrooms!
What Is Mei Fun?
Mei Fun is a traditional Cantonese noodle dish. It is made with wheat flour noodles, stir-fried in a wok with shrimp or other seafood and vegetables. It is usually served with soy sauce, chili oil, and oyster sauce as condiments.
This dish was originally invented by the Hakka people in Guangdong province as a way of preserving meat during the winter months when meat was scarce. The noodles were stored in clay pots and cooked with preserved pork or beef and dried shrimp. This dish soon became popular amongst all Chinese people due to its unique flavor, making it one of the most popular dishes at Chinese restaurants across the world today.
How To Use It
You can find mei fun in any Chinese grocery store. Look for packages that contain about a pound of noodles. The strands will be very thin and delicate, so handle them carefully to avoid breaking them.
Once you’ve got your package of mei fun on hand, here are some ideas for how to use it:
Stir-Fry: Mein Fun is perfect for stir-fries because it cooks quickly and absorbs flavors easily. You can toss it with sesame oil and soy sauce, then add vegetables like carrots or bell peppers and proteins like chicken or shrimp. Serve it over rice if you’re looking for a filling dinner that doesn’t take too long to make!
Salad: Mei Fun also makes an excellent salad base when paired with fresh vegetables, sauces like peanut sauce or tahini dressing, and hearty proteins like tofu or chicken breast. You can top this salad off with peanuts or cashews for extra crunch!
Chow Fun Vs Mei Fun- A Comparison
When it comes to Chinese noodles, we are spoilt for choice. There are so many different varieties of noodles available in the market today. The two most popular types of noodles used in Chinese cuisine are Chow Fun and Mei Fun.
Chow Fun noodles can be either dry or wet. The dry version has no sauce on it and is often served with gravy on the side. The wet version comes topped with soy sauce, oyster sauce, and other sauces for flavoring purposes. The noodles are thick and flat like spaghetti. They have an elastic texture when cooked properly and are chewy like al dente pasta.
Mei Fun noodles are also chewy like al dente pasta but they have a thinner texture than chow fun noodles do because they’re much thinner than chow fun noodles are. These noodles are served hot with soy sauce or fish sauce depending on what kind of dish it is being used in (dry or wet).
Chow fun has a stronger flavor and is less sweet than mei fun. The noodles are stir-fried with garlic, soy sauce, and other seasonings. The noodles are also fried before being cooked in water to give them a distinct taste.
Mei fun is lighter on flavor and sweeter. It is made from rice flour so it absorbs more moisture as it cooks compared to other noodles such as egg noodles or udon. This makes the mei fun softer than chow fun.
3. Use Cases
Chow fun is made from flat rice noodles that are stir-fried with meat or seafood. The dish also includes veggies like green onions and bean sprouts, as well as soy sauce for flavor. Chow fun is about twice as wide as it is long, so you can easily pick it up with chopsticks to eat it.
Mei fun is made from thin rice noodles that are stir-fried with meat or seafood. The dish includes veggies like green onions and bean sprouts, as well as soy sauce and oyster sauce for flavor. Mei fun is about double the width of chow fun, so it’s easier to eat with chopsticks than chow fun is.
4. Shelf Life
Chow fun can be kept in the pantry for up to two weeks, while mei fun noodles are best eaten within three days of opening the package.
Mei fun has a shelf life of about three days, while chow fun can be refrigerated for up to five days.
One of the biggest differences between Chow Fun and Mei Fun noodles is their gluten content.
Mei Fun noodles are made from wheat flour.
Chow Fun noodles are made from rice flour.
While you can find some varieties of mei fun that are made from gluten-free ingredients, chow fun is naturally gluten-free.
Mei Fun is usually served with a side dish called hoisin sauce or plum sauce. It can be eaten with chicken and vegetables, or even pork.
Chow Fun is often paired with vegetables, seafood, or meat. It can also be eaten with soy sauce, hoisin sauce, and chili oil.
Chow-fun noodles have a sweet, savory, and salty flavor. It is topped with a variety of condiments that add to the taste and texture. The condiments can include bean sprouts, garlic, scallions, cilantro, and chili pepper. The amount of each ingredient varies according to personal preference.
Mei fun noodles are usually served without any toppings or condiments. The noodles have a milder flavor than chow-fun noodles.
Chow fun is flat and wide.
Mei fun is round and thin.
Both noodles are low in calories and fat, but they have different nutritional values.
A serving of mei fun contains around 150 calories and 2 grams of protein/100 gram
A serving of chow fun contains approximately 210 calories and 5 grams of protein/100 grams.
Both noodles are rich in carbohydrates,
Chow fun has more fiber than mei fun (2 grams vs 1 gram).
How To Make Delicious Chow Fun and Mei Fun at Home
The best thing about chow fun and mei fun is that it’s easy to make at home. The dish is essentially a stir-fry of noodles and ingredients with a sauce. No fancy ingredients are required!
Chicken Chow Fun with Bok Choy and Mushrooms
This is a delicious one-pot dish that is perfect for those busy weeknights. It is quick to put together and the flavors are amazing! The noodles soak up all of that yummy sauce and the chicken is so tender. You will love this dish!
- 1 pound thin Chinese egg noodles
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided use
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup fresh ginger, minced (about 1″ piece)
- 2 cups thinly sliced bok choy (about 3 stalks)
- 8 ounces cremini mushrooms, sliced (about 2 cups)
Step 1: In a large bowl, combine soy sauce, cornstarch, and 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil.
Step 2: Add chicken and toss to coat. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat.
Step 3: Add 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil to the pan and then add chicken, stirring constantly until browned on all sides (about 4-5 minutes).
Step 4: Transfer cooked chicken to a large bowl. Heat a second large skillet over medium-high heat, add remaining oil, and then garlic, ginger, bok choy, and mushrooms. Saute for about 2-3 minutes or until garlic is fragrant and mushrooms begin to brown.
Step 5: Add soy sauce mixture to the skillet with vegetables and toss well to combine. Return cooked chicken to the same skillet. Add cooked noodles and toss until well coated.
Step 6: To serve, top with remaining soy sauce mixture, sprinkle with toasted sesame oil and additional grated ginger, if desired.
Shrimp Mei Fun Noodles
This is a very easy recipe for shrimp mei fun noodles, for those of you who have never tried this noodle dish before. It’s very similar to chow mein and lo mien, but without the thick sauce. This recipe uses a simple stir fry technique with some eggs, garlic, green onion and bean sprouts. The noodles are cooked separately in boiling water and then tossed together with the other ingredients just before serving.
- 1 lb uncooked shrimp (peeled and deveined), chopped into bite-size pieces
- 1 tbsp canola oil (or vegetable oil)
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 green onions, chopped
- ½ cup bean sprouts (optional)
- 2 eggs
- 3 tbsp water
- 1½ tsp sugar (optional)
- 12 oz rice noodles (glass or cellophane noodles)
Step 1: In a wok or large frying pan, heat oil over medium-high heat.
Step 2: Add the shrimp, salt, and garlic and saute for about one minute or until the shrimp is pink.
Step 3: Add the green onions, bean sprouts, and eggs. Stir everything together rapidly so the eggs don’t scramble too much.
Step 4: Only cook for about 30 seconds or so, until the eggs are set but still wet. Add cold water to a large pot (about 3 liters) and bring it to a boil.
Step 5: Add the rice noodles and cook according to the package directions. Drain the noodles into a colander and rinse under cold water so that they stop cooking immediately. Transfer the noodles to a large mixing bowl, add sugar (if using), and toss with the remaining ingredients in the wok.
Step 6: Divide evenly onto plates and serve right away.
1. Does Chow mein have bean sprouts?
No, it doesn’t. However, bean sprouts are usually added to chow mein dishes at home by people who like them or want more crunchiness in their dish.
2. Is Mei fun vegetarian?
Yes, it is vegetarian unless it has meat toppings added on top of it like chicken or beef slices.
3. Is chow fun better than mei fun?
Chow fun is a stir fry noodle dish that originated in southern China. It’s made with flat rice noodles, which are similar to linguine, but thicker and wider. The noodles are stir-fried with a variety of meats and vegetables, then topped with oyster sauce and sesame oil for flavor.
Mei fun is a Cantonese-style noodle dish from Hong Kong that’s similar to chow fun, but it’s made with thin rice noodles instead of flat ones. It also has meat, but the meats used tend to be pork or chicken rather than beef or shrimp-like in chow fun. Both dishes can be enjoyed as an appetizer or main course at dinner parties or family gatherings.
4. Where can I buy Chow Fun and Mei Fun noodles?
The best place to buy Chow Fun and Mei Fun noodles is in Chinatown. You’ll find them all over the place. If you can’t find any, try asking someone who looks Asian. They’ll probably be able to point you in the right direction.
5. What kind of sauces are used for Chow Fun and Mei Fun?
Chow Fun and Mei Fun are rice noodles. Chow Fun is wide, flat, and thin. Mei Fun is round, thin, and curly.
Chow Fun sauce: sweet and sour sauce, soy sauce, sesame oil, white vinegar
Mei Fun sauce: soy sauce, sesame oil
So…which noodles do you prefer? Chow Fun or Mei Fun? Or have you never heard these names and would like to try them once? Please feel free to leave us a comment below; we’d love to hear more about your favorite noodle dishes!