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Difference Between Chow Mein and Chop Suey

Whenever you are in a mood to taste Chinese Cuisine, then you always think of stir-fried vegetable rice or noodles, which translate into two most popular dishes, “Chow Mein and Chop Suey.” However, people who eat these dishes often wonder about the difference between Chow Mein and Chop Suey. If that’s what you are wondering at the moment, it’s time to continue reading and find out what’s the difference between both cuisines.

What Is Chow Mein?

chow mein

I’m sure that many of you have already tasted chow mein. It is a famous Chinese Cuisine where stir-fried vegetables are mixed with boiled noodles. You can find Chow Mein in two different variations: vegetables are fried and tossed with boiled noodles. You get a chance to taste soft noodles.

Another variant of this dish is Hong Kong Style; in this dish, noodles are fried, not boiled before adding into a stir-fried vegetable mixture.

What Is Chop Suey?

chop suey

In this particular American-Chinese dish, vegetables and meat are stir-fried and then served with Fried rice and gravy. It’s an entirely different cuisine than Chow mein, but people often get confused between both.

Main Difference Between Chow Mein and Chop Suey

Here are highlight some main differences

  • Origin – Chow mein is a classic Chinese cuisine that was first made in China. On the flip side, Chop Suey is an American dish inspired by Chinese cooking and ingredients.
  • Gravy Texture – Chow mein always has a thin gravy texture as it mostly has soy sauce. Nothing is added to thicken its sauce. Contrary to this, Chop Suey is always served with thick gravy.
  • Main Ingredient – Once vegetables are fried, then they are always mixed with noodles in Chow Mein, while the main ingredient of Chop Suey is rice. Therefore, when you want stir-fry vegetables with rice, ask for chop suey, not Chow mein.

People get confused when stir-fried vegetables are served with stir-fried noodles and thick gravy. They don’t know whether it is chow mein or Chop Suey. The right answer is Chop Suey. Are you still confused? It’s time to find out the main difference, so next time when you order and eat something, you are sure what you are tasting.

Main Ingredients

The difference between Chow Mein and Chop Suey can also be noticed during cooking and gathering ingredients. There is a story in America where a Chinese Chef had to make the most of all available ingredients in the kitchen and leftovers in the fridge to make something for American guests, and it’s when Chop Suey came to life.

How to Make Chow Mein?

You will notice the difference while cooking both cuisines as slight changes in the recipe are present.

Chow Mein Recipe

  1. Take a pot, fill it with water, and once the water starts boiling, add noodles to it and cook them for five minutes.
  2. Remove the pot from the heat and add one teaspoon of sesame oil to the water, so that noodles don’t stick with one another.
  3. Take a chicken breast piece and marinate it by adding Chinese five-spice powder, soy sauce, and a bit of cornstarch. You can marinate chicken for 20 minutes to get the best flavor.
  4. Take a saucepan and add some oil. Turn on the heat and let the pan get adequately heated. Now put the chicken on this pan and stir fry until the time you notice its tenderness. It must be well-cooked to add that later to the dish.
  5. Now start adding vegetables to the same pan. First, you can add the red bell pepper, then bean sprouts, and spring onion. Stir fry all the vegetables and then add cooked noodles to your pan.
  6. Season your Cuisine with Soy Sauce and one tablespoon of sesame oil. Two pinches of black pepper will ignite the taste of your Cuisine. Stir well and serve your dish quickly.

How to Make Chop Suey?

It takes a little more time to make Chop Suey compared to Chow Mein.

Chop Suey Recipe

  1. You will start by preparing a yummy sauce in which you need to mix one tablespoon of vinegar with one tablespoon soy sauce, one teaspoon sugar, and half a cup of ketchup. Once your sauce starts simmering on the pan, you need to thicken your Chop Suey sauce. For this purpose, dilute two tablespoons of cornstarch in two tablespoons of water. And then gradually add in your sauce. Keep adding this mixture until you get a thick gravy.
  2. Take a saucepan and add two tablespoons of oil. Add onion and sauté it on medium heat for at least three to five minutes. Once your onion changes its color from white to light golden, you need to add meat and cook it for 10 minutes.
  3. Add all the vegetables you got and stir fry them at least for 5 minutes.
  4. Toss your vegetables with gravy. Mix it well and serve your Chop Suey with fried rice.

Cooking Styles

Expert chefs always keep some differences between Chow mein and Chop Suey. You can see this difference in their cooking styles. You might add steamed noodles in Chow mein, but when you plan to mix noodles in Chop Suey, the only option you have is fried noodles.

Chop Suey

Although Chop Suey is an American-Chinese Cuisine, you can see its variants in different countries like India and Indonesia. When you follow an Indonesian version of Chop Suey, you don’t add meat but keep all your focus on adding as many varieties of vegetables as you can.

Chow Mein

When you order Chow Mein in East America, then it always comes with crispy deep-fried noodles. In case you want steam noodles, then you need to order Lo mein there. As far as the West is concerned, you always get Chow Mein with Steamed noodles. In case you are in the mood for crispy noodles, then order Hong Kong Style Chow Mein.

Wrap up

I’m sure after reading this post, you would be able to make a big difference between Chow mein and Chop Suey. You won’t have any confusion anymore.

Also Read: How to Thicken Spaghetti Sauce