Cantonese Chow Mein Recipe – Just 4 Steps!

by Ella

Cantonese cuisine is celebrated for its rich flavors, delicate textures, and meticulous preparation methods. Among the myriad of delectable dishes in Cantonese repertoire, Cantonese Chow Mein stands out as a savory and satisfying noodle dish that encapsulates the essence of this culinary tradition. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the nuanced techniques and authentic ingredients required to create a truly professional Cantonese Chow Mein that will transport your taste buds to the bustling streets of Guangzhou.

Cantonese Chow Mein: History and Origin

Origins in Cantonese Cuisine:
Cantonese cuisine, renowned for its diversity and sophistication, has deep historical roots that date back centuries. Guangdong, the province that gave birth to Cantonese cuisine, boasts a temperate climate and fertile land, providing an abundance of fresh produce, seafood, and meats. This abundance laid the foundation for the development of a cuisine that places a premium on the natural flavors of ingredients.


Cantonese Chow Mein, with its combination of stir-fried noodles, succulent meats, and crisp vegetables, embodies the principles of Cantonese cooking. The dish is a testament to the culinary ingenuity of the Cantonese people, who skillfully combine various textures and tastes to create a harmonious and satisfying meal.


Street Food Origins:
Historically, Cantonese Chow Mein had its humble beginnings as street food, served by hawkers and vendors in bustling markets. The dish was a quick and convenient option for those seeking a flavorful and filling meal on the go. Street vendors would deftly stir-fry fresh ingredients in large woks, creating a tantalizing aroma that drew people to their makeshift stalls.


The street food version of Cantonese Chow Mein often featured simple ingredients like egg noodles, bean sprouts, and a variety of meats, all tossed together in a wok with savory sauces. This accessible and delicious street food quickly gained popularity, becoming a beloved comfort food for locals and visitors alike.


Cantonese chow mein

Cantonese chow mein is a delicious and popular Chinese dish that features stir-fried noodles with a variety of vegetables and meat. Here's a simple recipe for making Cantonese chow mein at home:
Prep Time5 minutes
Active Time15 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Chinese
Yield: 3
Cost: $4


For the noodles:

  • 8 ounces of Hong Kong-style chow mein noodles (or egg noodles)
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil

For the sauce:

  • 2 tablespoons oyster sauce
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon water

For the stir-fry:

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup julienned carrots
  • 1/2 cup sliced bell peppers (different colors)
  • 1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup sliced bok choy or Chinese cabbage
  • 1/2 cup sliced bamboo shoots
  • 1/2 cup sliced water chestnuts
  • 1/2 cup sliced green onions
  • 1/2 cup bean sprouts
  • 1/2 pound thinly sliced chicken, beef, or shrimp (optional)


Cook the noodles:

  • Boil the chow mein noodles according to the package instructions.
  • Drain and toss with 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil and 1/2 teaspoon of sesame oil to prevent sticking. Set aside.

Prepare the sauce:

  • In a small bowl, whisk together the oyster sauce, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, cornstarch, and water. Set aside.

Stir-fry the ingredients:

  • Heat 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil in a wok or large skillet over medium-high heat.
  • Add the minced garlic and stir-fry for about 30 seconds until fragrant.
  • If using meat, add it to the wok and stir-fry until cooked through.
  • Add the carrots, bell peppers, mushrooms, bok choy, bamboo shoots, and water chestnuts. Stir-fry for 2-3 minutes until the vegetables are slightly tender but still crisp.

Combine noodles and sauce:

  • Add the cooked noodles to the wok, along with the green onions and bean sprouts.
  • Pour the sauce over the noodles and vegetables, tossing everything together until well combined and heated through.

Tips for Making Perfect Cantonese Chow Mein

To ensure you make perfect Cantonese chow mein, consider the following tips:

Prepare Ingredients in Advance:

Chop and prepare all your ingredients before you start cooking. This will help you focus on the stir-frying process without having to pause to chop more vegetables.

Use the Right Noodles:

Hong Kong-style chow mein noodles or egg noodles work best for this dish. Follow the package instructions for boiling and draining the noodles to achieve the right texture.

Hot Wok or Skillet:

Ensure your wok or skillet is very hot before you start stir-frying. This helps to achieve the desired smoky flavor and prevents the ingredients from getting soggy.

Work in Batches:

If you have a lot of ingredients, stir-fry them in batches to avoid overcrowding the wok. Overcrowding can lead to steaming instead of stir-frying, resulting in soggy noodles and vegetables.

Proper Stir-Fry Technique:

Use a quick, tossing motion to stir-fry the ingredients. This helps distribute the heat evenly and prevents sticking. A wok spatula or long cooking chopsticks can be handy for this.

Cook Meat First:

If you’re including meat in your chow mein, cook it first before adding the vegetables. This ensures the meat is fully cooked without overcooking the veggies.

Add Vegetables According to Cooking Time:

Add vegetables with longer cooking times (like carrots and mushrooms) earlier in the process and those with shorter cooking times (like bean sprouts and green onions) towards the end.

Use High-Quality Sauces:

Choose high-quality oyster sauce, soy sauce, and hoisin sauce for a flavorful and authentic taste. Adjust the sauce quantities to suit your personal preferences.

Customize Your Ingredients:

Don’t hesitate to customize the ingredients based on your preferences or what you have available. Cantonese chow mein is versatile and can accommodate various vegetables and proteins.

Garnish Thoughtfully:

Garnish your chow mein with additional green onions, sesame seeds, or a sprinkle of white pepper for extra flavor and presentation.

Serve Immediately:

Cantonese chow mein is best enjoyed immediately after cooking while the noodles are still crispy. Serve it hot and savor the fresh flavors and textures.


In conclusion, mastering the art of Cantonese Chow Mein requires a combination of time-honored techniques, quality ingredients, and a passion for precision. By following this comprehensive guide, both novice and experienced cooks can embark on a culinary journey that brings the authentic flavors of Cantonese cuisine into their homes. Elevate your stir-fry skills, savor the nuances of each ingredient, and revel in the satisfaction of creating a Cantonese Chow Mein that rivals the best found in the bustling streets of Guangzhou.



Wellfoodrecipes is a professional gourmet portal, the main columns include gourmet recipes, healthy diet, desserts, festival recipes, meat and seafood recipes, etc.

【Contact us: [email protected]

Copyright © 2023