"Discover Cooking, Discuss Life."

Go Back   Discuss Cooking - Cooking Forums > Recipes & Ingredients > International Cuisines and Ethnic Cookery
Click Here to Login
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 01-28-2008, 09:02 AM   #1
Executive Chef
larry_stewart's Avatar
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Long Island, New York
Posts: 2,502
Chow mein vs Chop suey

Anytime I order from a new restaurant, I usually get a few different dishes just to sample everything and decide what I like and dont like from the menu so i have a better idea what to get in future orders.

Anyway, I once ordered vegetable chow mein and vegetable chop suey. One was more expensive than the other, yet ,I couldnt see or taste any difference.

I was just wondering what the actual difference there is ( assuming there is any) or were they just laughin in the kitchen when some jackass ( me ) spent more on a dish that was identical to the other,


larry_stewart is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 01-28-2008, 09:26 AM   #2
Master Chef
Constance's Avatar
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Southern Illiniois
Posts: 8,175
I always heard one was served with noodles and the other with rice...never could remember which was which.

We get by with a little help from our friends
Constance is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-28-2008, 09:31 AM   #3
Executive Chef
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Perth, Western Australia
Posts: 3,270
Doesn't chop suey come with crispy noodles? Don't usually order it. Chow mein is nice though but again, tend not to order it very often.

I'm doing something with my local Chinese too Larry. They just changed hands so I'm not ordering the same dishes twice so that I get an idea. The part of Perth I live has awful Chinese - very commercial style and very pedestrian. Go over the river or into the West and things improve.
Too many restaurants, not enough time...
Bilby is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-28-2008, 09:49 AM   #4
Master Chef
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Culpeper, VA
Posts: 5,803
"Chow Mein" is the one normally served with crisp noodles. In fact, while I may be wrong here, I do believe I read somewhere that it's the opposite of "Lo Mein", which is virtually the same dish, but with soft noodles.

"Chop Suey" isn't served with noodles at all - in fact, it's not even really of Chinese origin, more of a bastardized American version of Chinese food from way back when. Just a bland mixture of vegetables & meat served over rice.
BreezyCooking is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-28-2008, 09:52 AM   #5
Executive Chef
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Perth, Western Australia
Posts: 3,270
Yeah you're right Breezy. We did get crispy noodles with the chow mein. Like I said don't order it very often.
Too many restaurants, not enough time...
Bilby is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-28-2008, 10:15 AM   #6
Master Chef
jennyema's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Boston and Cape Cod
Posts: 9,779
"mein" means noodle in Cantonese, I think
Less is not more. More is more and more is fabulous.
jennyema is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-31-2008, 09:08 PM   #7
Assistant Cook
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 15
BTW.... being Chinese.... everyone has heard of chop suey, but i have never seen that at a respectable Chinese restaurant (and never ate it or made it)

If you are Chinese, you usually only go to Chinese restaurants for holidays because you could probably make..... 3/4ths of the food better than the restaurant did. (at least that is true in my family)
gamecube10074 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-01-2008, 07:38 AM   #8
Chef Extraordinaire
buckytom's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: My mountain
Posts: 20,421
i agree with breezy that chop suey was invented in america, probably by chinese imigrants trying to recreate dishes of their home land. using american ingredients, they made a dish of "tsap soo-ee", translated as "mixed pieces".

i've also noticed that some restaurants serve pretty much the same thing for either dish, just including fried noodles with the chow mein.

the better places will make chow mein with mostly white veggies and sauce, while chop suey had more varied/colorful ingredients and a slightly darker suace.
May your kilt be short enough to do a jig, but long enough to cover your Lucky Charms.
buckytom is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-01-2008, 09:14 AM   #9
Head Chef
Chopstix's Avatar
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Singapore
Posts: 1,323
Chop = mixed
Suey = vegetables or any accompaniment to rice (which may include meat/fish)

Chow = stir-fried
Mein = noodles

Chow mein is basically stir-fried noodles topped with chop suey.

This may explain the confusion.
'Never eat more than you can lift.' - Miss Piggy
Chopstix is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-01-2008, 09:15 AM   #10
Master Chef
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Metro New York
Posts: 8,763
Send a message via Yahoo to ChefJune
In high school I sat in front of a Chinese girl in home room. Her family owned a Chinese restaurant nearby. this was seriously "back in the day," when Chinese restaurants DID sell "Chop Suey," along with the real Cantonese dishes.

Anyway, Janice told me that Chop Suey was invented by the Chinese restaurateurs FOR Americans because they wanted the food to be bland. and most restaurants used tossed all the leftovers from the other dishes into one pot and sold it as "Chop Suey!" I learned long ago to order one meat and one veggie in most old-time Chinese restos -- such as beef with broccoli.... or pork with Chinese spinach. Still like both of those, today!

Wine is the food that completes the meal.
ChefJune is offline   Reply With Quote


Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

» Discuss Cooking on Facebook

Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 11:46 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.