Cantonese Soy Sauce Chow Mein – Ultimate Recipe Guide

Introduction to Cantonese Soy Sauce Chow Mein

Cantonese Soy Sauce Chow Mein is a beloved traditional breakfast dish in Cantonese cuisine that holds a special place in Cantonese culture. This dish is not just a meal; it’s a reflection of the rich culinary traditions that define Cantonese cuisine. As one of the most popular noodle dishes, soy sauce chow mein captures the essence of simplicity and flavour, making it an essential part of the breakfast table in many Cantonese households. Its popularity spans generations, showcasing the enduring love for this classic dish.

Important Ingredients for Cantonese Soy Sauce Chow Mein

Dark Soy Sauce and Regular Soy Sauce

In the world of Cantonese Soy Sauce Chow Mein, both dark soy sauce and regular soy sauce play crucial roles. Dark soy sauce, known for its thick texture and rich colour, adds a deep, caramel-like sweetness and a beautiful dark hue to the dish. Regular soy sauce, on the other hand, is lighter in both colour and flavour, providing the saltiness that perfectly balances the sweetness of its darker counterpart. While various soy sauce brands offer these types, understanding their distinct colour and flavour roles is key to achieving the authentic taste and look of this beloved dish. Their culinary uses extend beyond just colour and flavour enhancement; they contribute to the overall harmony of the dish.

Chinese Chives

Chinese chives, also known as garlic chives, stand out as a vital ingredient in Cantonese Soy Sauce Chow Mein for their unique flavour profile and cooking applications. Unlike regular chives, which have a mild onion-like taste, Chinese chives offer a garlicky flavour that adds a new dimension to the recipe. Their robust taste and versatility in cooking make them an indispensable component, providing not just taste but also a pop of green colour that enhances the visual appeal of the dish. The inclusion of Chinese chives ensures a layer of depth in the dish’s flavour that can’t be replicated with ordinary chives.

Egg/Chow Mein Noodles

The foundation of any delicious Cantonese Soy Sauce Chow Mein lies in its noodles – specifically, chow mein noodles or egg noodles. These noodles, often found pre-steamed in packaging, require proper preparation to achieve the ideal texture and flavour. Pre-steaming ensures they are quick to cook and capable of absorbing the rich sauces without becoming soggy. When preparing these noodles, it’s essential to follow packaging tips closely, ensuring they are perfectly al dente and ready to be tossed with savoury sauces and other ingredients. The right noodle preparation can make or break this classic dish.

Oyster Sauce

Oyster sauce is another key ingredient that brings a unique flavour to Cantonese Soy Sauce Chow Mein. Its thick texture and rich, savoury taste contribute significantly to the dish, adding layers of flavour that enhance the overall taste. While oyster sauce is irreplaceable in terms of the depth it brings, there are substitutes available for those with dietary restrictions, such as vegetarian oyster sauces made from mushrooms. These substitutes aim to mimic the umami qualities of traditional oyster sauce. Including oyster sauce and knowing how to utilize its flavour contributions and cooking tips is crucial for an authentic Chow Mein experience.

Bean Sprouts

Bean sprouts add a final touch of texture and freshness to Cantonese Soy Sauce Chow Mein, elevating the dish with their crispiness and nutritional benefits. Their light, refreshing crunch contrasts beautifully with the soft noodles and richly flavoured sauces, providing a balanced dining experience. Preparation methods for bean sprouts are simple yet essential for maintaining their freshness and crisp texture. Incorporating bean sprouts not only enhances the dish’s nutritional value but also its visual and textural appeal, making them a must-have ingredient for a truly authentic Chow Mein.

Step-by-Step Recipe Guide

Ingredients List

Here’s a detailed ingredients list with exact measurements for your recipe preparation:

  • 200g chow mein noodles
  • 2 tablespoons dark soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon light soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoons oyster sauce (optional for vegetarians)
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1 bell pepper, julienned
  • 100g bean sprouts
  • 2 spring onions, chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Preparation Instructions

Follow these step-by-step cooking instructions with tips to ensure the best flavour and texture:

  1. Cook the Noodles: Boil the chow mein noodles as per the package instructions, then drain and set aside.
  2. Prepare the Sauce: In a small bowl, mix dark soy sauce, light soy sauce, sugar, and oyster sauce.
  3. Stir-fry Vegetables: Heat oil in a wok, add garlic and onion, and stir-fry until fragrant. Add bell pepper and stir-fry for another 2 minutes.
  4. Combine Noodles and Sauce: Add the cooked noodles and sauce to the wok. Stir well to combine all the ingredients over medium heat.
  5. Final Touches: Add bean sprouts and spring onions, and stir-fry for another minute. Season with salt and pepper.
  6. Serve Hot: Serve your Cantonese Soy Sauce Chow Mein hot, garnished with additional spring onions if desired.

Cooking Tips:

  • For the best flavour, use high-quality soy sauce.
  • Cook the noodles until just al dente to keep them from getting soggy when stir-fried.


StepCooking TimeTemperature
15-7 minutesBoil water
33-4 minutesHigh
42-3 minutesMedium
51 minuteHigh


What makes Cantonese Soy Sauce Chow Mein different from other noodle dishes? Cantonese Soy Sauce Chow Mein is distinct for its use of dark and light soy sauces, creating a unique, savory flavour.

Can I substitute oyster sauce in the recipe? Yes, you can substitute oyster sauce with a vegetarian mushroom sauce for a similar umami taste.

What are the best types of noodles to use for Cantonese Soy Sauce Chow Mein? Thin, egg-based chow mein noodles are ideal for their ability to absorb flavours.

Where can I find dark soy sauce? Dark soy sauce is available in most Asian supermarkets or the international aisle of grocery stores.

Are there vegetarian options for this dish? Yes, by omitting oyster sauce or using a vegetarian alternative, you can easily make this dish vegetarian.