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Old 01-28-2008, 10:02 AM   #1
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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,

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Old 01-28-2008, 10:26 AM   #2
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I always heard one was served with noodles and the other with rice...never could remember which was which.
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Old 01-28-2008, 10:31 AM   #3
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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.
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Old 01-28-2008, 10:49 AM   #4
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"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.
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Old 01-28-2008, 10:52 AM   #5
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Yeah you're right Breezy. We did get crispy noodles with the chow mein. Like I said don't order it very often.
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Old 01-28-2008, 11:15 AM   #6
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"mein" means noodle in Cantonese, I think
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Old 01-31-2008, 10:08 PM   #7
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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)
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Old 02-01-2008, 08:38 AM   #8
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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.
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Old 02-01-2008, 10:14 AM   #9
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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.
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Old 02-01-2008, 10:15 AM   #10
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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!
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