Chow Mein (with beansprouts)

Chow Mein (with beansprouts) is among the most popular of dishes on Chinese takeaway menus, and for good reason.  Smokey, charred onions, crispy beansprouts and soft noodles combine with soy sauce & white pepper for a deliciously fragrant dish.

Second perhaps only to fried rice, this side dish of chow mein (with beansprouts) is an essential part of the Chinese takeaway experience.  You can make your own in just a few minutes by following the recipe below.

As with almost every Chinese takeaway style dish, it’s worth taking the extra few minutes it will take to ensure your carbon steel wok is roaring hot before cooking.  This will ensure everything fries quickly at a high heat and will add a delicious smokey flavour (the breath of the wok!) to the noodles.

It’s also worth using the correct brand of egg noodles to properly replicate the takeaway flavour.  You can buy Lucky Boat Thick Noodles or Lucky Boat Thin Noodles in bulk and they’ll keep well in a sealed container for several months.

5 from 2 votes
Chow Mein (with beansprouts)
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
5 mins
Total Time
15 mins

Stir-fried egg noodles, onions & beansprouts, a Chinese takeaway classic!

Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Chinese, Takeaway, fast food
Keyword: noodles, chow mein, beansprouts, stir fry, chinese, chinese takeaway, takeaway secret
Servings: 1 portion
  • 1 nest egg noodles
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1/2 large onion sliced
  • 100 grams beansprouts
  • 1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
  • 50 ml water
  • 1 teaspoon light soy sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon msg
  • 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1 spring onion sliced
  • Dash seasoned oil or toasted sesame oil optional
  1. Add the dry egg noodle nest to a bowl. Cover with boiling water. Stand for 2-3 minutes until the noodles are just softened. Separate with a chopstick. Drain and set aside to cool.

  2. Add the vegetable oil to a hot wok over high heat. Add the sliced onions, beansprouts and prepared noodles. Add the dark soy sauce, water, light soy sauce, sugar, msg, white pepper and spring onion.

  3. Stir-fry for 1-2 minutes over a high heat or until the noodles are well fired. Finish with seasoned oil or toasted sesame oil if desired and serve.

If you like this chow mein (with beansprouts) recipe, you might be interested in buying my book: The Chinese Takeaway Secret is packed full of over over 120 takeaway & fast-food recipes and is available to buy in kindle or paperback form here.

7 thoughts on “Chow Mein (with beansprouts)

  1. Would omitting the msg make too much of a difference to the taste? If so, can you recommend a substitute?

    1. You could omit the msg and add a touch more salt instead if desired Stuart – unless you have a specific allergy to msg it’s worth getting hold of some, it’s a flavour enhancer and brings out the flavour of the other ingredients which is particularly useful in a simple chow mein dish.

  2. 5 stars
    As good an explanation and recipe of how to get that British takeaway chow mein flavour that I’ve seen. I used lower sodium soy sauces and cut the salt and msg back to .5g each and it was still perfectly seasoned. Doing that reduced the dish down from 8g of salt to just under 4g.

    1. Thanks so much TJ! I appreciate you taking the time to leave some feedback – low sodium soy sauce is always good to have in the storecupboard, it’s true that a lot of takeaway style dishes can soon reach high salt levels when lots of soy sauce and other flavourings are included, great tip for reducing the salt levels!

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