Lo mein is a popular Chinese noodle dish that can be found in many Chinese restaurants. If you have recently been diagnosed with celiac disease or are avoiding gluten, you might wonder if you can safely enjoy your favorite noodle dish.
So, are lo mein noodles gluten-free? No, lo mein noodles aren’t gluten-free. Lo-mein noodles are Chinese egg noodles that are made from eggs and wheat flour, which contain gluten. Although lo mein noodles aren’t safe for people with celiac disease, they can be substituted with rice noodles for a gluten-free lo mein recipe.
In this article, we’ll cover what lo mein is and how lo mein noodles are made. Plus, we will also tell you how to make a gluten-free version of your favorite Chinese dish with a few simple swaps and substitutes.
What Is Lo Mein?
Lo mein is a popular egg noodle dish that comes from Chinese cuisine. This dish is usually made with soy sauce, vegetables, egg noodles, and some type of meat or seafood, like beef, pork, chicken, or shrimp.
In American-Chinese cuisine, lo mein is a versatile dish that can be made in many variations.
In traditional Chinese cuisine, lo mein is a soup without broth. The broth is separated from the noodles and other ingredients and is served on the side.
Lo mein is often confused with chow mein, which is also a popular Chinese noodle dish. The biggest difference between these two dishes is how the noodles are prepared.
Lo mein noodles are tossed with vegetables, meat, and sauce. On the other hand, chow mein noodles are fried in oil without accompanying ingredients. After frying, the sauce, meat, and vegetables are added to the noodles.
Origin of Lo Mein Noodles – Brief History
The term lo mein comes from Cantonese, and means stirred noodles. Lo mein noodles originated in the Northern part of China, where wheat is much more cultivated than it is in the southern part of the country.
It’s unknown who invented the process of mixing flour and water to make noodles, but noodles have been a part of Chinese cuisine for over 2,000 years. Noodles are a staple in Chinese cuisine and have become synonymous with Chinese dishes.
In China, noodles symbolize longevity and are almost always served long and uncut. Because of this, it’s considered unlucky in Chinese culture to cut a cooked noodle.
Even today, noodles are included in big celebrations and are typically served on birthdays and New Year for good luck.
What Are Lo Mein Noodles Made of?
There are several types of noodles. Lo mein noodles are essentially Chinese egg flour noodles.
These noodles are made with eggs, wheat flour, and water. Fresh egg noodles that are about ¼ inches thick are the best for lo mein, while fresh or dried noodles can be used to make chow mein.
Regardless of the type, both fresh and dried noodles must be softened in boiling water before cooking with other ingredients.
What Is Lo Mein Made of?
Lo main dish is made from Chinese egg noodles, soy sauce, vegetables, and a protein source. The most commonly used proteins are beef, chicken, pork, and shrimp or tofu for vegetarians and vegans.
When preparing lo mein, cooked and drained Chinese egg noodles are added to the wok or a frying pan after the vegetables and protein have been cooked and coated in the soy sauce. The noodles are then tossed with the vegetables just until they are covered in sauce.
Is Lo Mein Gluten-Free?
Unfortunately, lo mein isn’t gluten-free. Lo mein is made using noodles that contain wheat which is a major source of gluten. Furthermore, soy sauce used to add flavor to lo mein is another source of gluten in this dish.
Avoid ordering lo mein at Chinese restaurants if you have celiac disease, gluten intolerance, or non-celiac gluten sensitivity.
Having said that, you can make gluten-free lo mein at home with a few simple ingredient swaps and substitutes.
Best Gluten-Free Noodles for Lo Mein
You don’t have to stop eating your favorite Chinese dishes for good if you have celiac disease, gluten sensitivity, or intolerance. There are many different types of gluten-free noodles, but some are better for lo mein than others.
Here are the best gluten-free noodles you can use to substitute regular egg flour noodles in lo mein recipes:
Rice noodles are made from rice flour and water and are naturally gluten-free. These noodles are readily available in most supermarkets. As always, check the ingredient list just in case, or look for certified gluten-free rice noodles.
Brown Rice Noodles
Brown rice noodles are made from water and brown rice flour, which is made from ground brown rice. This makes brown rice noodles naturally gluten-free and suitable for people who try to avoid gluten.
Brown rice noodles are easy to cook and add a natural flavor to lo mein recipes. Another great thing about these noodles is that they are high in fiber and low in fat. Brown rice noodles are sold in most supermarkets and health food stores.
Lo mein is a popular Chinese noodle dish that can be made in many different variations. Lo mein is made with soy sauce, egg noodles, vegetables, and protein, like chicken, pork, beef, shrimp, or tofu.
If you’d hoped to order lo mein while sticking to a gluten-free diet, we are sorry to disappoint. This dish contains gluten and isn’t safe for people with celiac disease or other gluten-related disorders.
Egg noodles and soy sauce used to make lo mein contain gluten. Luckily, it’s easy to substitute these two ingredients to make a gluten-free lo mein. Instead of egg noodles, choose rice noodles and substitute soy sauce for tamari sauce to make your gluten-free version of this dish.