Read this to learn how to make Cantonese Chow Mein from scratch

For many of us, Chinese food is our go-to hangover food. Personally, I enjoy eating Chinese food regardless if I am hung over or not. Still, there is something to be said pertaining to the satisfaction earned munching on some chicken balls and egg rolls when your liver could rival that of formaldehyde in terms of pickling abilities.

I should stipulate that for the sake of this post, when I say Chinese food, I’m referring to the North American version. I would absolutely love to try genuine Chinese cuisine, but that can be difficult to come by out here in rural Ontario.

Some of my favourite Chinese food dishes include chicken balls, wonton soup, almond soo guy, and Cantonese Chow Mein. Cantonese Chow Mein would be my pick if I could only choose one item, and I wanted to try and find a recipe to make this beauty of a dish right from your own kitchen. This recipe comes from

“Main Ingredients

  • 12 oz Hong Kong style pan fried noodles (buy the unsteamed variety)
  • 0.50 onion
  • 5 piece green onion
  • 4 oz bean sprouts
  • 1 tbsp dark soy sauce (Tamari works as a substitute – Amazon​)
  • 1 tbsp light soy sauce (Amazon​ )
  • 1 tbsp oyster sauce (Amazon​ )
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 1 tsp sesame oil (to taste. Buy on Amazon​ )
  • 3 tbsp corn oil

Step 1: Steam noodles, drain, cool

Here’s a quick run-down of the types of HK-style noodles you can buy:

  • fresh, unsteamed
  • fresh, steamed
  • dried

In the video, we demonstrate how to cook with fresh, unsteamed noodles (which is my dad’s preference). This takes a little bit of extra work but is worth it.

We’ll need to cook the noodles by steaming them, which is one of the main keys to nailing the perfect texture.

Here’s what you do:

  • Place your steamer rack in a wok on high heat. Pour enough water so that the top of the rack isn’t submerged, and start boiling water.
  • Take the rack out, separate and lay out noodles (12 oz) on top of the rack.
  • Once boiling, set the steamer rack + noodles back in the wok and cover for 10 minutes. Leave the stove on high heat.
  • If you’re using a steamer rack without holes (i.e. steaming on a plate where the steam can’t easily access the bottom, steam for 2-3 extra minutes.)
  • Once the 10 minutes is up, quickly dump the noodles in the water for 15-30 seconds.
  • Drain the noodles through a colander, and spend about 1-2 minutes fluffing and separating the noodles with a chopstick.
  • Let it cool for 3-5 minutes.

If you’re using fresh, steamed noodles, you can skip the steaming step. Instead dunk the noodles in boiling water for about 2 minutes before draining.

If you’re using dried noodles, it’s somewhat similar to cooking instant ramen. Cook according to the package’s instructions, erring on the more al-dente side, and rinse with cold water afterwards to stop the cooking.

Step 2: Chop vegetables

We’ll wash and chop our vegetables:

  • green onion (5 piece) – cut into about 1.5 inch pieces. Separate the roots and the shoots, as we’ll be cooking the roots first.
  • onion (0.50 ) – cut in half, and then julienne (see video for example)
  • bean sprouts (4 oz) – you can leave these as is. Some traditional restaurants will remove the beans and the tips, which is A LOT of work.. but feel free.

Step 3: Create sauce

Mix dark soy sauce (1 tbsp), light soy sauce (1 tbsp), oyster sauce (1 tbsp), sugar (2 tsp), water (1 tbsp) in a bowl until the sugar dissolves.

We’ll be adding the sesame oil later.

Step 4: Heat wok, start cooking

We’ll start by heating our wok to around 350-400°F (176-204°C). Depending on your stove, this should take around 2-3 minutes.

AFTER the wok is hot, we’ll add corn oil (0.99 tbsp) and heat that to 350-400°F. As a visual cue, it should be ‘shimmering’ – rippling, but not smoking. If it’s started smoking, the wok is too hot.

Then, we’ll start cooking our green onion roots and onions for right around 1 minute, and set them on a plate for later.

Heat the wok again and add more corn oil (0.99 tbsp). Once the oil is shimmering, add the noodles.

We want to be really gentle with the noodles. DO NOT flip them yet, and only occasionally move the noodles around. Let the bottom get nice and crispy for about 3 minutes.

Then, we’ll flip. My dad does a graceful wok-flip (which I don’t have the confidence to pull off), but the rest of us can just use a spatula and flip that way 🙂

Once flipped, add more corn oil (0.99 tbsp) along the perimeter of the noodles to help develop a nice crisp. Let the noodles cook on this side for another 3 minutes, occasionally prodding and moving the noodles.

Letting the noodles adequately cook and crisp on each side is one of the main keys to perfecting this dish.

Step 5: Cook bean sprouts, add veggies, flavors


  • Bean sprouts: 30-45 seconds
  • Green onions + onions: 1-2 minutes
  • Sauce: 1 minute
  • Sesame oil: 1-2 minutes

Add the bean sprouts:

  • Make room for the bean sprouts by pushing the noodles aside in the wok.
  • Set the bean sprouts in the wok, and then cover them with the noodles. This helps trap some of the heat inside to help them cook more evenly and quickly.
  • Let the bean sprouts cook underneath the noodles for 30-45 seconds.

Add the green onions (everything, the cooked roots + raw shoots) and onions, and cook for about 1-2 minutes. Continue separating the noodles with chopsticks and a spatula.

Pour in the sauce mix, and mix everything around for 1 minute. We’ll want to let the sauce evaporate as much as we can.

Add sesame oil (1 tsp), and mix and separate the noodles for another 1-2 minutes, and then we can start plating.

At this point, you should taste the noodles and see if the flavor and color is to your liking. My dad added another splash of dark soy sauce (0.5 tbsp) in the video to make the noodles a little darker.

Step 6: Plate & enjoy!

Transfer the noodles onto a plate, and call your loved ones over.

Time to eat!” the recipe states.

Enjoy, my friends!

Image from

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