Basic Stirfried Noodles – Lo Mein

Noodle dishes make frequent appearances at banquets and birthday parties in China – the long noodles symbolize long life, so they are never broken or cut before serving.

While the kids and my husband tend to prefer soupy noodles (see Pan-Asian Noodle Soup post, for example), I have a weakness for stirfried noodles, called lo mein in Cantonese or lao mian in Mandarin. This recipe, a sort of cross between a stirfry and a braise, can be made with just about any type of noodle (even spaghetti, linguine, etc.) and forms the base for an infinite variety of combinations – what in the fridge looks like it’s on the way out, in other words!


  • 1/2 lb noodles
  • 2 T oil
  • 1 T ginger, cut into thin slivers or minced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 scallions, cut into 2″ sections on the diagonal


  • 1 T light soy sauce
  • 1 T Shaoxing cooking wine or dry sherry
  • 1/4 c stock or broth
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 pinch freshly ground white pepper
  • salt to taste


  1. While you bring a pot of water to a boil, combine the sauce ingredients and set aside.
  2. Cook the noodles just past the al dente stage – there should be no white center when you bite into one.
  3. Immediately drain the noodles and rinse with cold water until cool and no longer sticky. Drain for 15 -30 m, then gently loosen with wet hands or chopsticks.
  4. Heat a wok over medium high heat, then add oil just until it shimmers.
  5. Explode the ginger, garlic, and scallions just until fragrant, then add the sauce and bring it to a boil.
  6. Add the noodles, stir to combine thoroughly, adjust seasoning, and serve immediately.


  • If you already have leftover stirfry, reheat it quickly in the fragrant oil before adding the sauce in step 5.
  • Quickly blanched or stirfried vegetables make a great addition – add them when you add the noodles in the final step, or you can stirfry them quickly before you add the sauce in step 5.
  • You can also add stirfried beef, pork, chicken, shrimp, or tofu – see Mooshu Vegetables post for the appropriate marinade, then stirfry the protein quickly before adding the sauce in step 5.
  • I tend to avoid heavily processed foods, such as prepared sauces, so I leave the oyster sauce out of the sauce mixture – for a more genuine Cantonese taste, you can add 1 T of it.

3 Responses

  1. what kind of noodle is a “real” lo mein noodle? I am having a hard time finding what I get in the restaurants…

    • Most larger conventional groceries have a refrigerated Asian section now – tofu and meat analogs, Asian produce such as ginger, snowpeas, bean sprouts – all in one section. Many carry fresh noodles that need to be cooked very little if at all before stirfrying. Look for fine (like angel hair) or flat and wider (like linguine) – both would work well for lo mein. If you can, look for those that are not dyed – a lot are bright yellow from artificial food coloring.

  2. Actually found lo-mein noodles in the store today – first time ever. Used this recipe it was fab. Thanks!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s