Chow mein is basically stir-fried noodles; its name comes from chau-mèing, which belongs to the Taishanese dialect of Yue Chinese. ‘Chow’ means fried, whereas ‘mein’ refers to noodles. Chop suey, on the other hand, is an American-Chinese cuisine, and could also be called other overseas cuisines such as Filipino cuisine, Indian-Chinese cuisine, Polynesian cuisine, Indonesian cuisine, etc. It was thought to be invented in 1896 by the Chinese ambassador Li Hung Chang’s cooks, who cooked the dish for some American guests for dinner.
Chop Suey is a stir fry made with vegetables, meat, seafood, and gravy. How it was developed has many versions. One is that it was that it started in the State of California, in the United States in the mid of 1800s by Cantonese immigrants. Another is that it was a Japanese chef who created it.
Chow Mein is a stir fry made with noodles, meat, seafood, and vegetables. The noodles are made with wheat flour, egg, and water which are crispy when fried. It is an authentic Chinese dish that originated in northern China where the staple food is noodles.
- Chop Suey is a stir fry made with various vegetables, meat, and spices while Chow Mein is a stir fry made with noodles, meat, vegetables, and spices.
- Chop Suey originated in southern China while Chow Mein originated in northern China.
- Chop Suey is served with rice while Chow Mein is made with noodles.
- Chop Suey is usually made with thickened sauce while Chow Mein is usually mixed with soy sauce.
- There is only one type of Chop Suey but it can be made with different ingredients like pork, beef, or chicken meat and different kinds of vegetables, while Chow Mein is prepared in two different ways, either steamed (steamed Chow Mein) or fried (crispy or Hong Kong style Chow Mein).
- The concept of chow mein widely differs in both the east coast as well as the west coast areas of the US. Chop suey, on the other hand, is typical to the American-Chinese cuisine.
- Likewise, chow mein is cooked with slight variations in different parts of the world, like Brazil, Canada, South Asia, Australia, etc., but is particularly popular in the States and the United Kingdom. Unlike chow mein, noodles in chop suey cannot be steamed; deep-frying noodles is mandatory when cooking chop suey.
- Chow Mein is dry or not thicken, were as Chop Suey is thickened with cornstarch or tapioca to make the liquid cling to th veg, and chop suey may not have the same vegetable combo as CS.