Chow mein is a classic Chinese dish, but have you ever tried the lesser-known chow fun or mei fun?
These two noodle dishes are often confused with each other, but the primary differences are the taste and the type of noodles used (thin noodles for mei fun and thick, flat noodles for chow fun).
We’ll break down all the similarities and differences of chow fun vs mei fun in this guide.
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Chow Fun Vs. Mei Fun: 15-Second Summary
Comparing chow fun vs mei fun, we can conclude that they are similar dishes with similar ingredients, though the type of noodles used completely differentiates these two meals.
The noodles change the taste and texture of these dishes.
Chow fun uses wide, flat rice noodles, and the most popular preparation is beef chow fun, a savory sweet dish.
Mei fun uses thin, vermicelli rice noodles, and the most popular preparation is Singapore mei fun, a spicy dish that uses curry.
What Is Chow Fun?
Chow fun is a stir-fry noodle dish popular at many dim sum  restaurants. Chow fun is made with thick, flat rice noodles.
Chow fun, like many Asian stir-fry dishes, is prepared in a wok, a deep cooking pot typically made out of carbon steel or cast iron. Protein and chopped vegetables are mixed in with the noodles and stir-fried with a soy sauce-based marinade.
Beef chow fun is one of the most popular variations on the dish. Beef chow fun has become a popular street food, especially in Hong Kong, where the meal is known as “Hong Kong Noodles.”
Follow this video to make your own Chou Fun now!
What Is Mei Fun?
Mei fun is a stir-fry noodle dish that originated in China. Mei fun has become particularly popular in Singapore, where it is one of the most popular noodle dishes in the country.
Mei fun is made with thin rice noodles known as vermicelli . Vermicelli is also popular in many Vietnamese and Thai recipes, such as spring rolls, noodle bowls, and fried rice noodles.
Many people will refer to the rice noodles as “mei fun”, so a dish may be served as a “stir fry dish with mei fun.” However, mei fun also refers to the classic preparation of the noodles in a stir-fry dish.
Forllow this video to make your own Singapore Mei Fun now!
Differences Between Chow Fun and Mei Fun
Although the ingredients and names of these dishes are similar, they are different in a few ways. Let’s compare chow fun vs mei fun.
Type of Noodles
The most notable difference between chow fun and mei fun is the type of noodle used in the dish.
Chow fun contains thick, flat rice noodles, while mei fun contains thin rice noodles known as vermicelli.
As far as taste, it all depends on how the dishes cook.
The most popular preparation of chow fun is beef chow fun, a variation that uses thin slices of beef marinated in soy sauce and stir-fried with bean sprouts and spring onions. The finished product is a beef noodle dish with a slightly sweet, thickened sauce.
A popular preparation of mei fun is “Singapore Mei Fun .” This dish consists of stir-fried vermicelli noodles, eggs, onions, bell peppers, peas, carrots, and curry powder topped with thinly-sliced scallions. The result is a spicy and savory dish.
The texture of each dish is different, primarily because of the noodles used. Although both come from rice grains, the noodle shapes create two different textures.
The vermicelli noodles used in mei fun are so thin that a bite of the dish will contain many individual noodles.
The thick, flat noodles used in chow fun may only get you one or two noodles at a time in a bite. This thinness makes mei fun bit of a chewier and more textured dish.
FAQs About Chou Fun and Mei Fun
Here are some frequently asked questions about the differences and similarities between chow fun and mei fun.
What is usually in chow fun?
The typical ingredients of chow fun are:
- Wide, flat rice noodles
- Your choice of protein (beef and pork are most popular)
- Your choice of vegetables (typically bean sprouts, green onions, yellow onion)
- Soy sauce
- Oyster sauce
For chow fun, the protein is marinated in a combination of soy sauce and cornstarch before being stir-fried.
Is mei fun healthier than chow fun?
The nutritional value of mei fun and chow fun depends on how the dishes cook. Neither of these meals is typically considered healthy dishes due to the oil and heavy sauce.
A recipe for homemade beef chow fun has the following nutrition facts:
- 615 kcal
- 51g carbs
- 31g protein
- 30g fat (21g saturated fat)
- 68mg cholesterol
- 1978mg sodium
- 4g sugar
A recipe for homemade Singapore mei fun has the following nutrition facts:
- 402 kcal
- 38g carbs
- 16g protein
- 21g fat (13g saturated fat)
- 145mg cholesterol
- 866mg sodium
- 3g sugar
Above are the most popular preparations for chow fun and mei fun.
Mei fun is healthier in areas like fat content, lower sodium, and reduced calories per serving, but it has a lower protein content and higher cholesterol than chow fun.
It really depends on what you focus on to make your diet healthier. If lower cholesterol is vital to you, chow fun is healthier, and if a low-fat content is necessary, mei fun is healthier.
What does mei fun taste like?
Mei fun can be prepared in many ways, though the most popular are chicken mei fun and Singapore mei fun. Mei fun is always made with thin, vermicelli rice noodles.
Singapore Mei Fun
Singapore mei fun is made primarily with vermicelli, pork, shrimp, eggs, soy sauce, and curry powder. Due to the inclusion of curry powder, this dish tastes spicy and savory, while the vermicelli rice noodles help the dish feel light compared to other dishes.
Chicken Mei Fun
Chicken mei fun is made with vermicelli, chicken, shallots, cabbage, carrots, dark soy sauce, and oyster sauce.
The use of dark soy sauce and oyster sauce in this dish makes it a bit sweeter, similar to the type of savory sweetness we see in meals like sesame chicken. When a marinade like oyster sauce and dark soy sauce is used, mei fun often feels a bit more filling and heavier.