Difference Between Chop Suey and Chow Mein

Main Difference – Chop Suey vs Chow Mein

Chinese cuisine is loved all over the world, and Chinese restaurants have now become a common feature in many countries of the world. Chop Suey and Chow Mein are among most famous dishes in Chinse restaurants. Chop Suey, which belongs to American Chinese Cuisine, is a stir fry made with vegetables, meat, and spices. Chow mein is fried noodle with vegetables, meat, and/or seafood. The main difference between Chop Suey and Chow Mein is that Chop Suey is believed to be invented in America by Chinese immigrants whereas chow mein is believed to be invented in China. Therefore, Chow Mein is believed to be the most authentic of the two dishes.

What is Chop Suey

Chop Suey is a popular dish in American Chinese cuisine. Chop suey literally means mixed pieces. As this name suggests, various ingredients can be used in the preparation of a chop suey. It consists of meat and egg cooked together with vegetables such as bean sprouts, celery, and cabbage. These ingredients are bound together with a starch-thickened sauce. Chop suey is typically served with rice, but can be also served with noodles. Adding stir-fried noodles to this dish can result in a chow mein.

There are many tales about the origins of chop suey. It is believed that it was invented in America by Chinese immigrants. According to the anthropologist, E.N. Anderson chop suey is based on tsap seui  common in Taishan.Difference Between Chop Suey and Chow Mein

What is Chow Mein

Chow Mein refers to stir-fried noodles. Chow means fried and Mein means noodles. Vegetables, meat, seafood, are added to this stir-fry. Celery, onions, bean sprouts, cabbage, are some common ingredients used in this dish. This dish is considered to be the most authentic of the two dishes, chop suey, and chow mein. It is a popular dish in many Chinese restaurants. This dish was first introduced to the United States in 1850’s. However, this dish varies from restaurant to restaurant, country to country. In China, this dish usually incorporates the basic flavors of bitter, sweet, salty and pungent. But in the United States, chow mein is not made with all these flavors.

In the United States, there are two types of chow mein dishes. The first type uses streamed noodles that add a soft texture to the dish. This dish uses long, round noodles. The other type is crispy chow mein which is also known as Hong Kong stir fry. This dish uses fried flat noodles.Main Difference - Chop Suey vs Chow Mein

Difference Between Chop Suey and Chow Mein


Chop Suey is an American Chinese dish consisting of vegetables, meat, eggs and various spices.

Chow Mein is a stir-fried noodle with vegetables, meat, and various spices.

Main Ingredients

Meat and vegetables are the main ingredients in Chop Suey.

Noodles are the main ingredients in Chow Mein.


Chop Suey is typically served with rice.

Chow Mein is made of noodles.


Chop Suey is an American Chinese dish that was invented in America.

Chow Mein is believed to be more authentic than chop suey.


Chop Suey is believed to be influenced by Southern Chinese cuisine.

Chow Mein is from Nothern China.Difference Between Chop Suey and Chow Mein -infographic


Newman, J.A. (2010). Chinese Food in the USA: Chow Mein. Flavour and Fortune: Dedicated to the art and science of Chinese Cuisine, Summer Volume(17 (2)), 25, 26, and 27. Retrieved 29 December 2015, from 

Newman, J.A. (2014). Chinese Food in the USA: Chop Suey. Flavour and Fortune: Dedicated to the art and science of Chinese Cuisine, Fall Volume(11 (3)), 10, 13, 14,29.Retrieved 29 December 2015, from 

Image Courtesy:

“Chow mein 1 by yuen” by ♡yuen♫ – Flickr. via

“Chop Suey” by AnyFuchok  via

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