Is Lo Mein Vegan?
The vegan journey does not know the boundaries of the world and the local cuisines – you can be vegan where you are, in whatever country you live in, and regardless of your culinary inheritance or misconceptions that you have of vegan food.
Sometimes it is the question of what you get used to in life, but all habits can break and all things that you use to can be altered, in according to your diet that is currently active. Like vegan one, that can be one of the best decisions that you have made for yourself.
But things are not perfect, and neither is a vegan diet, of course. You will still have some struggles in life, and you will go through some stress, and you will probably crave certain things – something sweet, something savoury, something specific, something maybe spice and exotic, maybe.
And the first thing that comes to your mind is Asian food – may be the only in this group. We all know that for example, Chinese food does involve meat and eggs, not so many dairy products, so is it safe for vegans out there?
It is, of course, you have to opt for a vegan version, so instead of eating meat, you can use some “meaty” vegetables, etc. The same process is with sauces.
Many of us that are on a vegan journey still have some cravings, and one of them can be Chinese food, even the one that is fast food, western version.
Now, when it comes to Chinese food, it is one diverse country that has specific cuisine – this is one huge country that has some many regions and all of them have their own uniqueness.
For example, in northern parts of China, they eat so many products that come from wheat, while they do not eat rice. But in some other parts, like is the south, they eat so much rice and a little bit of wheat.
But all parts of China have some common traits – it is based on four groups of food- grains, vegetables, meat and fruits.
Chinese people are not tolerant of dairy products, so they never cook with, for example, cow milk. They use soy milk, and right away, you know that it will be perfect for vegans.
Given its low tolerance to dairy products, the Chinese almost never use cow’s milk for cooking, replacing it with soy milk, making it the most popular tofu cheese.
The most consumed grain is rice, rich in dietary grain.
In Chinese cuisine, food is most often either steamed or cooked briefly over high heat, ensuring that it retains a natural aroma and does not deprive itself of vitamins and minerals.
This entire ok for vegans, in a sense, that the process of making food that is based on veggie elements, is great, only you have to choose vegan ingredients, and we can tell you that this is possible, even with your favorite dishes like Lo Mein.
What is Lo Mein?
The imperative of Chinese food is the fact that when you look at it, it is based on vegetables, first of all, rice, cabbage, mushrooms, carrots, zucchini, all those chopped veggies dipped into some delicious sauces.
For those who are not vegans, it is combined with mainly chicken, pork, veal or duck in soy and Sichuan sauce, and an extension to soup with noodles and tofu.
We often order Chinese food or go to restaurants where it is served, we consume it like any other, while for the Chinese, the selection of food, combining it, the way of preparation, serving and consuming it have special meanings. And when you start making your own vegan versions, be mindful of what you are doing, when you are choosing ingredients for your meal.
Now, one of the most favorite meals in all Chinese cuisine is for sure Lo Mein, for some it Chow Mein, and there are those who claim that it is basically the same dish.
In some simplest way, Le Mein is usually one of the most manageable and most affordable courses on offer where ever you eat it. It is, just like Chow Mein based on noodles mixed with sauce and vegetables.
Both of these are eaten so abundantly all over the world, and in the simplest way to call these dishes is to translate them as stirred noodles. They come with beef, chicken, and they can be vegan.
So, it all depends on the ingredients you put in them, and in the next section, we will show you one simple recipe for homemade Lo Mein.
Noodles that are made out of soybean oil, some wheat flour, and water), then some soy sauce is added, spices and corn starch, and some white wine. Onions, garlic, ginger is added, along with some chili paste, and mushroom paste (concentrate).
All are cooked in a vegetable broth with some vegetables are added (celery, carrot, mushrooms, whatever you like, and whatever it tastes best for you, and some even put tofu in various Chinese dishes) Enjoy in your creative vegan meal.
You can use rice, but to make this recipe authentic you should use noodles, and you find some that do not include eggs or some other non-vegan ingredient.
Is Lo Mein vegan?
The two of the most favorite Chinese dishes are Lo Mein and Chow Mein – and those who know say that the main difference are in the way of how you make it.
In Le Mein, you boil the noodles, and they became soft, whole in Chow mein they became crispy. But they are the same meal, as those know like to say.
Both of them are also considered not to be vegan friendly because they have some egg noodles that cannot be vegan, of course.
But the main problem is that both meals usually have some meat in the – pork, beef or chicken, or some kind of seafood.
But, in today’s market, you can certainly find some vegan versions that are vegan.
In regular versions they come with egg noodles, so they are off the limit for vegans. And we firmly believe that without the noodles they would not be what they are, Le Mein, because when you translate it, it says stirred noodles. They are made out of flour and egg, so they are very elastic.
In Chow Mein, the meal is made that noodles are left to dry, so they become crispy, and the eggs go on the side.
Whatever you choose to make from these two, you should know that if you want to make this dish authentic, it cannot be vegan, because the noodles are originally made with eggs, and in both recipes go with fish or oyster sauce, and even more they are made out of meat.
But, as in everything, there can be alternatives, both in restaurants and at home.
So, Le Mein as original recipe is not vegan, but you can make your own version and make it vegan, just by choosing some other ingredients or skipping some ingredients. The spices are the there, and sauces are there along with vegan noodles, and vegetables.
We must say that on the market you can avoid pasta that comes with eggs or dairy, you can find a lot of vegan pasta.
You can opt for some of them, like rice noodles, they are the ones that are completely translucent.
Eggs are used to give the pasta its elastic shape and the great yellow pigment, a golden color; and we can understand why the egg noodles are so important in Chinese cooking.
You can modify your recipe – and you should not know that noodles in Asia can be made out of rice, tomato, corn or even beans.
Some people like to use ramen instead, and they make some vegan. You just put some water over them, and they will be rehydrated.
But be careful here also, because on the market there are some ramens that are not vegan.
Is Lo Mein Healthy?
In Chinese food, special attention is paid to understanding the nature of food. The Chinese believe that each taste individually can be linked to a specific organ in the human body, and in Le Mein, in for example the vegan version that we have suggested, there are a lot of vegetables, soy sauce that can be a problematic part because of the amount of salt that is in this sauce.
Spices and garlic, along with the chili paste are great for you – by consuming a particular product, you can influence a weakened organ, for example, green cucumber has a beneficial effect on the liver and intestines, red tomatoes heal the heart and blood pressure, and garlic affects the lungs.
So, the situation is mixed, but the preparation is ok, in a sense, that there is not some incredible amount of oil in this dish, like in some others.
In a case when noodles are made with eggs, they are high in fat and in that way some say that they make our cholesterol rise. All pasta have carbs, and this also, but you do not have to it too much of it.
But if you are able to find some pasta that can be low fat and that is made off some rice, for example, it is a healthier option.
Unfortunately, Le Mein, just like Chow Mein, at least in their original recipes, originally Chinese, are not vegan! They include meat, non-vegan, and also noodles that are made with eggs.
Some sauces are also added that make this dish non-vegan, just like oyster sauce and also the fish sauce.
But, in vegan restaurants, you can find vegan Le Mein that has substituted for all these ingredients that come from an animal source.
You can find Lo Mein that has some vegetables like cabbage, bok choy, etc. All along with soy sauce that is vegan, you can have an amazing alternate version of Lo Mein, and what is even better you can alter your version, maybe add some herbs or some tofu, add some corn starch for thickness. And with noodles, you can mix it up, in so many ways.