Lo Mein is one of our favorite Chinese takeout meals. We loved it so much that we have even started making it at home. And, what is possibly the best thing about it, is that it allows you to use leftover ingredients too!
But, one of the most important factors of Lo Mein isn’t the ingredients used, but the type of noodles.
So, what is the best type of noodle to use for Lo Mein? Your best options are egg noodles. They are excellent at retaining sauce in your dish, adding a nice chewy texture, and adding a little bit of their own unique flavor. Alternative options are anything that is slightly thicker than spaghetti and which can absorb the sauce from the dish well.
In this article, we will explore the many fantastic noodle options that are available for making Lo Mein. While we have included mostly traditional options, we will also look at some gluten-free options that you can try.
What Is Lo Mein?
Lo Mein is a very common Chinese dish that is typically served at Chinese takeout restaurants. The “Lo” in Lo Mein directly translates to “tossed”, “stirred”, or “boiled”, whereas “Mein” stands for “noodles”.
So essentially, Lo Mein noodles are simply tossed or stirred noodles as the name suggests!
Lo Mein specifically refers to how the noodles are prepared. There isn’t a specific group of ingredients used for this dish and not even a specific type of noodle!
This dish differs from the better-known Chow Mein dish that is also found in Chinese cuisine.
When making Chow Mein, the noodles are fried along with the other ingredients and sauce. Lo Mein on the other hand is prepared in an entirely different manner.
To make Lo Mein, the noodles are prepared and cooked separately.
Only after the two elements have been prepared is it added to the cooked vegetables and sauce. Once added, they are tossed or stirred to make sure they are evenly distributed.
What Type Of Noodles Is Used For Lo Mein?
Typically, in China, yellow egg noodles are the most common type of noodle that is used to make Lo Mein. These noodles are made yellow by adding an alkaline salt to them.
They are very soft in texture and are not (and should never be) chewy at all.
Unlike spaghetti, once they are cooked, they shouldn’t be al dente. These noodles are also very long but are sold in varying lengths.
And finally, one of the easiest ways to recognize these noodles is by their thick diameter.
They are slightly thicker than spaghetti once they have been cooked. But, even this couple of millimeters make a massive visual difference.
These specific characteristics help heavy thick sauces and robust meats to stick to the noodles. Ultimately it helps every bite get the most flavor.
The Lo Mein flavor that benefits most from this is the thick chicken or beef Lo Mein.
All that said, depending on whether you have any specific dietary requirements, you can use any other type of noodle (or even pasta) that suits your needs. According to those who know what they’re talking about, Lo Mein doesn’t judge!
Below we have created an in-depth guide to help you choose the best Lo Mein noodles for your needs.
Type Of Noodles
As we mentioned before, yellow egg noodles or noodles that are specifically labeled as “Lo Mein noodles” are the best options for making Lo Mein.
This type of noodle is typically made from wheat flour, water, salt, and sometimes other additives, such as lye-water (alkaline).
For many types of Chinese noodles, once eggs have been added they become a type of egg noodle.
Now, you may not know this, but there are many different kinds of noodles that are made from different ingredients.
These different kinds of noodles have various characteristics which make them unique, and consequently, ideal to use in specific dishes.
Some other types of Chinese noodles that can be substituted for traditional Lo Mein noodles are Yaka Mein noodles, Lamian noodles, wonton noodles, and udon noodles.
When deciding which one you have to ultimately choose (if you aren’t choosing a type of traditional egg noodle) the best way to find what you like is to try it.
Luckily, these noodles aren’t that expensive, so experimenting won’t break your piggy bank.
It is very important to note that no matter what the recipe says, you always accommodate to your own dietary requirements first.
We know that you probably want to make it the way that it is typically made, but you cannot put yourself at risk in pursuit of authenticity.
So, be sure to check for allergens such as egg and gluten when buying noodles to make your next Lo Mein dish. Eggs and wheat are very common ingredients in Chinese egg noodles and Japanese noodles.
Japanese soba noodles, for example, are a good option for someone needing a gluten-free noodle, as they are made mainly from buckwheat. It’s still a good idea to check with the store staff that you’re getting the right product for your needs.
Price Vs Package Size
Obviously, there are noodle types and brands that are more expensive and less expensive.
Depending on your budget, you can opt for fresh Lo Mein noodles that only need to be heated or boiled for a very short time before being ready.
Buying fresh noodles has three benefits: it saves you cooking time, it is very flavorful, and it is often close to being cooked to perfection.
The problem with fresh noodles is that they are more expensive than dry noodles. They also don’t last as long (a week maximum) and are sometimes very hard to find as compared to dry noodles.
Less expensive dry noodles are great for other reasons. The first is that they are often cheaper, come in bigger packages, last longer, and can be bought in bulk.
The 5 Best Noodles For Lo Mein
With noodles for Lo Mein, more expensive is not always better. Sometimes cheaper, dry noodles are more suited for making “traditional” Lo Mein.
Remember, “Lo Mein” is not meant to be an extravagant delicacy. Lo Mein is meant as a simple, tasty meal for any occasion!
With that in mind, we have assembled a list of our ultimate favorite options for noodles. These are all excellent specifically for Lo Mein, but will also work for loads of other dishes.
|WEL PAC Lo Mein Egg Noodles
|Best overall noodles for Lo Mein
|Simply Asia Chinese-Style Lo Mein Noodles
|365 by Whole Foods Market Organic Fresh Egg Noodles
|Roland Noodles Lo Mein Organic
|King Soba Gluten-Free Organic Pasta Noodles
1. WEL PAC Lo Mein Egg Noodles
This is our favorite option because of its affordability, flavor, and sauce-absorbing properties.
Since Lo Mein dishes have to be saucy, they require a noodle that can absorb a lot of sauce and flavor, while still retaining a good amount of chewiness.
These noodles have consistently performed well at delivering all three of those properties and pass the Lo Mein test with flying colors, without breaking the bank!
2. Simply Asia Chinese-Style Lo Mein Noodles
Our second favorite option comes in very hot on the heels of its superior.
The only reason it came in second is that it is a more expensive option for a product that basically performs equally well.
In all other aspects, many people (including us) have said that the flavor, sauce retention, and chewiness of this brand of noodle are ideal for making Lo Mein the way it was meant to be made.
3. 365 by Whole Foods Market Organic Fresh Egg Noodles
Admittedly, these noodles aren’t those which are traditionally used for making Lo Mein.
However, they are still a fantastic egg noodle option, and possibly the best of all, they are completely organic!
These noodles are also made fresh, so don’t need to be cooked for very long. And, their flavor is out of this world.
The wheat used to make these noodles are a little more robust, so they are very hard to overcook. This also gives them a little more chewiness, which is great for Lo Mein.
4. Roland Noodles Lo Mein Organic
These noodles rank lower on the list because they are significantly less affordable.
Although they are organic, they are quite expensive in terms of the price vs the package size ratio.
Also, we have heard a ton of mixed reviews about this product. Personally, we love it and didn’t find anything wrong with it at all.
However, one should never ignore the potential problems that others may experience.
If you are willing to give it a try, we found these noodles to be incredibly chewy, retain a ton of sauce, and have a pretty delicious flavor on their own.
5. King Soba Gluten-Free Organic Pasta Noodles
100% buckwheat noodles, or 100% buckwheat pasta, is one of the best options out there for gluten-intolerant folks looking for a gluten-free option to make Lo Mein.
Although the noodle themselves taste is very different from traditional yellow Chinese egg noodles, they are still tasty and have a great texture that is well suited to making Lo Mein.
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