Whether you are a pro or a newbie in traditional Chinese dishes, the diverse menu can sometimes be confusing. This is especially common for mei fun and lo mein, two types of traditional noodle dishes.
But the good thing is that this article discusses these two types of noodles and their differences. This will help you make an informed decision on your preference the next time you visit your favorite Chinese restaurant.
Mei Fun vs. Lo Mein
Both mei fun and lo mein are widely used globally and form an integral part of Asian cuisine. However, they have a few differences.
Mei fun, a white rice noodle, has a crunchy and crispy texture. It’s prepared by covering it with hot water for a couple of minutes, and then it’s ready.
On the other hand, lo mein is more yellow and made from wheat. It is also more chunky and comprises thick noodles. Lo mein is prepared by partially boiling the noodles before adding them to the rest of the ingredients.
About Mei Fun
Mei fun originates from China and is made from rice and water. However, there are wide varieties of these noodles containing other ingredients, which change the color and flavor of the noodles. E.g., eggs, beans, and wheat. These noodles are sometimes called rice vermicelli.
Once prepared, mei fun is often dried in bundles. The dried noodles can be stored for a long time. Once cooked, the unique white color of these noodles distinguishes them from other types.
Regarding taste, mei fun has a mild flavor like rice, mainly because it’s made from rice flour. The mild taste makes these noodles great at absorbing the sauce’s flavor and other additional ingredients you intend to dominate in the dish. Unlike other noodles, these are crunchy, giving the meal an edge.
Although mei fun refers to the noodles’ name, several other dishes, like Singapore Mei Fun, can be made from these noodles. Most meals containing these noodles contain protein, mainly meat, vegetables, and a rich sauce.
Mei fun noodles are easy to cook. You only need to cover them with hot water until soft, taking a couple of minutes. The hot water hydrates the noodles, turning them white and soft.
Healthwise, these noodles are bland, neither good nor bad, as they’re mainly starch. What you cook with them determines if they’re a healthy dish or not. Pairing them with vegetables makes the noodles a nutritionally balanced dish.
About Lo Mein
Lo mein is prepared from wheat and eggs. These noodles are yellowish and contain gluten. This makes them not ideal for people with gluten intolerance. They are also thick and absorb the flavors of the sauce and colors, making them very delicious
Unlike mei fun, lo mein is cooked before other ingredients are added. They are usually boiled, and meat and other vegetables are added to the noodles.
The term “lo” in lo mein means to toss, which is how the noodles are prepared. Once the noodles are boiled, they are added to the saucepan alongside other ingredients and tossed.
Differences Between Mei Fun And Lo Mein
There are a couple of differences between mei fun and lo mein. They include:
This is one of the main factors distinguishing mei fun from lo mein. Mei fun is white and appears thinner than lo mein.
On the other hand, lo mein noodles are thicker and more yellow. They are also super absorbent and keep changing depending on the color of the sauce.
The texture is a crucial aspect that can make a big difference to the entire dish. This means you may opt for similar ingredients for the noodles, but they don’t end up tasting the same. Mei fun and lo mein have distinct textures, making them taste differently.
Mei fun noodles are dried. And for this reason, they are crunchy, adding an edge to the dish. These noodles also contain lots of starch as they’re made from rice flour. This makes them stick together when cooked.
As for lo mein, these have a softer texture. They are also super absorbent, taking the color and flavors of the sauce they’re cooked in.
The difference in the ingredients results in unique flavors. Mei fun noodles are sweeter than lo mein. They are also milder, making them not stand out in a dish.
As for lo mein, these are heftier and filling. They are also excellent at absorbing the flavor of the sauce. This makes them blend into the dish’s taste more than mei fun noodles.
Both mei fun and lo mein can be accompanied by similar ingredients. They are best in soups, and stir-fries served alongside protein, vegetables, and a sauce.
However, mei fun pairs well with spring rolls, while lo main is great with crunchy vegetables and mushrooms. Lo mein is also best served with a more liquid sauce as it will be absorbed in the noodles.
Mei fun noodles are made from water and rice flour, making them great for people with gluten intolerance.
Lo mein noodles are prepared from wheat and eggs, which give them a yellow tinge. The wheat and eggs make these noodles unsuitable for people with gluten intolerance or protein allergy.
Fresh Or Dried
Mei fun noodles are dried, making them great for long-term storage. On the other hand, lo mein is fresh and cannot be stored for long.
Mei fun comprises water and rice only. This makes the noodles’ nutrient composition to be starch only. These noodles have fewer calories than lo mein.
On the other hand, lo mein is made from wheat and eggs. These noodles have considerable amounts of protein, starch, vitamins, and some minerals. However, they are higher in calories.
Mei fun and lo mein are two famous Chinese noodles. The former is made from rice flour and water, is more white, crunchier, and best served with spring rolls. The latter is made from wheat and eggs, is yellow, more filling, and best served with crunchy vegetables, mushrooms, and a more liquid sauce.