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Difference Between Chop Suey and Chow Mein

Chop Suey vs Chow Mein

No other food has influenced more people than Chinese food. Perhaps this is due to their distinct taste or the huge influx of Chinese people into other countries and culture. Since ancient times they have crossed over to other lands in search of better lives and for trade.

Not only are they common in the Asian region but they are also numerous in other parts of the world. Everywhere they go, they bring with them their customs, including their distinct style in preparing food.

Whatever country you may go to, expect to find a Chinatown, a place where you can eat authentic Chinese food like Chop Suey and Chow Mein. Some might confuse one for the other but although they are cooked the same way, the ingredients and the way they are served are different.

Chop Suey

Chop Suey is a stir fry made with vegetables, meat, seafood, and gravy. How it was developed has many versions. One is that it was that it started in the State of California, in the United States in the mid 1800s by Cantonese immigrants. Another is that it was a Japanese chef who created it.

The most credible version though is that it was first introduced in the southern china countryside of Toisan. It was made from leftover vegetables and noodles which are stir fried. When some Chinese immigrated to the United States, they prepared the food there which then became very popular.

It is usually served with rice. The first Chop Suey recipe consisted of ingredients such as liver and gizzards, bamboo buds, bean sprouts, mushrooms, and spices. The sauce is usually thickened with starch.

Chow Mein

Chow Mein is a stir fry made with noodles, meat, seafood, and vegetables. The noodles are made with wheat flour, egg, and water which are crispy when fried. It is an authentic Chinese dish that originated in northern China where the staple food is noodles.

There are two main kinds of Chow Mein, one is steamed Chow Mein which is softer and topped with a variety of vegetables and mixed with soy sauce. Another is crispy Chow Mein which is also known as Hong Kong style and is drier, crisper, and topped with a thick brown sauce. Crispy Chow Mein is also served as Chow Mein sandwich.


1. Chop Suey is a stir fry made with various vegetables, meat, and spices while Chow Mein is a stir fry made with noodles, meat, vegetables, and spices.
2. Chop Suey originated in southern China while Chow Mein originated in northern China.
3. Chop Suey is served with rice while Chow Mein is made with noodles.
4. Chop Suey is usually made with thickened sauce while Chow Mein is usually mixed with soy sauce.
5. There is only one type of Chop Suey but it can be made with different ingredients like pork, beef, or chicken meat and different kinds of vegetables, while Chow Mein is prepared in two different ways, either steamed (steamed Chow Mein) or fried (crispy or Hong Kong style Chow Mein).

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1 Comment

  1. Chow mein has many variations from many different countries than chop suey. And the simpliest ways to define chow mein is chow means fried and the word mein means noodles.

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