Noodle Showdown: Mei Fun Vs Chow Fun

Mei Fun vs. Chow Fun: Understanding the differences

Mei Fun and Chow Fun are two popular noodle dishes that have gained worldwide recognition. While they may seem similar at first glance, these dishes differ in appearance, taste, and preparation methods. In this article, we will delve into the nuances of Mei Fun and Chow Fun, exploring their unique characteristics, ingredients, and cooking techniques.

The difference is in the noodles

The main difference between Mei Fun and Chow Fun is the noodles used. Chinese cuisine boasts a wide variety of noodles, and it is easy to get confused with the different names and types. Mei Fun, Chow Fun and Chow Mein are all prepared using similar methods, but the noodles used are different, resulting in different flavor and texture profiles.

Mei Fun: Thin and flavorful rice noodles

Mei Fun offers thin rice noodles, also known as vermicelli noodles. These delicate noodles are commonly found in authentic Chinese restaurants and are popular in countries such as the USA and Australia. The thinness of the rice noodles contributes to their irresistible texture as they effortlessly absorb the flavors of the accompanying ingredients.

Chow Fun: Wide and flat noodles

Chow Fun, on the other hand, uses wide, flat noodles. These noodles provide a heartier and more substantial mouthfeel compared to Mei Fun. Chow Fun noodles are softer and have a wider shape, making them an ideal choice for stir-frying and pairing with various meats and vegetables.

Cooking Methods

Both Mei Fun and Chow Fun can be prepared by either stir-frying or boiling in a broth. Mei Fun noodles are typically soaked in hot water for a short period of time, usually about 3-4 minutes, until they reach a tender consistency. Similarly, Chow Fun noodles can be rehydrated in warm or boiling water for a similar amount of time, depending on the recipe.
It should be noted that overcooking either type of noodle can cause breakage and compromise the desired texture. Care should be taken not to cook or rehydrate for longer than necessary.

Mei Fun vs. Chow Fun: A Quick Overview

To better understand the differences between Mei Fun and Chow Fun, let’s take a quick look at their main features:

Mei Fun

– Noodle shape: Thinner rice noodles (vermicelli)
– Preparation: Stir-fry or rehydrate in broth
– Pairings: Served with vegetables and meats
– Condiments: Made with soy sauce and other Asian seasonings
– Texture: Usually a dry noodle dish, but can be served with some extra sauce.

Chow Fun

– Noodle shape: Wider and flatter noodles
– Preparation: Stir fried or rehydrated
– Pairings: Served with thick cuts of meat and vegetables
– Condiments: Usually has a thick sauce and spices
– Texture: May be served with some extra sauce

Nutritional and Flavor Profile

In terms of nutrition, both Mei Fun and Chow Fun provide similar amounts of carbohydrates. A 100 gram serving of Mei Fun provides about 25 grams of carbohydrates, while the same serving size of Chow Fun provides about 26 grams of carbohydrates. These noodles also provide about 5-6 grams of fiber and are low in fat.
It is important to note that the overall nutritional value of these dishes can vary widely depending on the specific ingredients, proteins, and seasonings used. The calorie content can increase significantly depending on these factors.

Texture and eating experience

In addition to nutritional aspects, the texture of pasta can greatly influence the eating experience. In terms of satisfaction, vermicelli noodles (used in Mei Fun) tend to be more pleasurable to eat. They are easy to grip with chopsticks and provide a denser and more chewy texture, allowing for a substantial mouthful in each bite.
Chow Fun noodles, with their wider and flatter shape, offer a different eating experience. While the taste may be similar, the satisfaction of eating Chow Fun noodles may not be as pronounced as eating vermicelli noodles.

Seasonings and Protein Pairings

Both Mei Fun and Chow Fun can be enjoyed with similar flavors, but the additional sauces and condiments used in each dish contribute to their distinct profiles. Soy sauce is commonly used in both dishes, but Chow Fun often incorporates thicker sauces and seasonings. Vegetables such as cabbage are often included in both dishes, enhancing their flavor and nutritional value.
The versatility of Mei Fun and Chow Fun allows for a variety of protein pairings. Beef, pork, chicken and shrimp are all viable options that can be combined with these noodles to create delicious and flavorful meals. The choice of proteins, along with carefully selected vegetables, adds depth and variety to the overall dish.


Mei Fun and Chow Fun are two noodle dishes that may share similarities in their cooking techniques and flavor profiles. However, they differ in the type of noodles used, their texture, and the seasonings used. Mei Fun uses thin rice noodles for a delicate and comforting eating experience, while Chow Fun uses wide, flat noodles for a heartier and more substantial meal.
Understanding the differences between Mei Fun and Chow Fun allows for a greater appreciation of these popular Chinese noodle dishes. Whether you prefer the tender and flavorful noodles of Mei Fun or the satisfying and robust texture of Chow Fun, both dishes offer a delightful culinary experience that can be customized with a variety of proteins and vegetables.
So the next time you find yourself craving Chinese noodles, you can make an informed choice between Mei Fun and Chow Fun based on your preferences for noodle thickness and overall texture. Enjoy exploring the world of Chinese cuisine and savoring the unique flavors these dishes have to offer.


What is the main difference between Mei Fun and Chow Fun?

The main difference is the type of noodles used. Mei Fun uses thin rice noodles, while Chow Fun uses wide, flat noodles.

Can I stir-fry both Mei Fun and Chow Fun?

Yes, both Mei Fun and Chow Fun can be stir-fried. However, the cooking time and technique may vary due to the difference in noodle thickness.

Are there any special seasonings used in Mei Fun and Chow Fun?

Both dishes commonly use soy sauce, but Chow Fun often uses thicker sauces and seasonings compared to Mei Fun.

Can I customize the protein and vegetable options in Mei Fun and Chow Fun?

Absolutely! Mei Fun and Chow Fun offer great versatility when it comes to protein pairings. You can choose from beef, pork, chicken, shrimp or even vegetarian options. You can also add a variety of vegetables to suit your taste.

Are Mei Fun and Chow Fun gluten free?

Mei Fun, which uses rice noodles, is usually gluten-free. However, it is important to ensure that the soy sauce and other condiments used in the dish are also gluten-free. Chow Fun, on the other hand, often uses wheat-based flat noodles and may not be suitable for those with a gluten intolerance or sensitivity.

Can I find Mei Fun and Chow Fun in Chinese restaurants outside of China?

Yes, Mei Fun and Chow Fun are popular dishes found in Chinese restaurants around the world. They have gained international recognition and are enjoyed by noodle lovers around the world.