Everything I know about Chinese Food Pt. 2

Jan 25, 2019 | Cooking Tips

Last Friday in part one of this post I talked about cooking with a wok, fried rice, basic Chinese food sauces, and a bunch more. If you haven’t read that yet, I suggest you go and check it out before jumping into this post. You can read it here.

Today we are going to talk about egg rolls, and noodles. Let’s get into it.



There are a lot of varieties of noodles in China. Like a lot. They come in different shapes and sizes and made with different ingredients. Wheat noodles are “mien” (or “mein) “as in “lo mien”. While fěn refers to noodles made of rice flour, or pretty much anything else. As the main focus of this post is North American Chinese food we are going to talk about wheat noodles.

There are way more Chinese noodle dishes than I could possibly talk about in this post. What I’m going to do instead is talk about one of the classic Chinese Restaurant noodle dishes, lo mien.

Lo mien is really simply soft wheat noodles stir fried with vegetables and a light sauce. Within those parameters there are a lot of possibilities. So let’s break it down.

The Noodles

The most important part of a noodle dish is obviously the noodles. But it can be daunting when trying to find the right noodles for the job. There are so many choices. I prefer Red Rooster Brand noodles which are an “instant” noodles you can get a pack for under $2 and they will feed 6-8 people easily.

When looking for a noodle you want something with a nice chew and that isn’t going to fall apart when boiled and stir fried. That’s really the most important part.

The Vegetables

The vegetables in lo mien can vary, however there some staples. Onions, some kind of cabbage or bok choy, bean sprouts, carrots, and often bell peppers. Other vegetables like mushrooms, broccoli, snow peas, green onions, and celery can be added as well. Of course, you can add whatever you want.

The secret here is that you want all of the vegetables sliced very thinly. You want everything to cook as quickly as possible so that means small pieces.


The sauce for lo mien is generally pretty simple. Often it is just a bit of soy sauce. Sometime it contains Chinese Five Spice (you can find a recipe for it here), hoisin sauce, or even oyster sauce. It may also contain small amounts of chicken, beef, or mushroom stock. Often sesame oil is used in the cooking process which also adds to the flavour of the dish.

More flavourful lo mien dishes start with a base of ginger and garlic, possibly fresh chili , which is stir fried with the onion before the other ingredients are added. This along with the ingredients I just mentioned would help to build and flavour of the sauce.

Most lo mien dishes don’t really have a sauce. They are mostly dry which is actually how I prefer my lo mien. However, saucy noodles can be really good as long as the sauce is good.

Generally, when I’m making saucy noodles I put all of the sauce ingredients together separately to make sure it all tastes good before I add it to the noodles. This prevents you having to add more and more of each ingredient into the stir fry while trying to get the sauce right.

Putting it together

The first step is to have all of your ingredients ready to go. Have your noodles cooked and rinsed under cold water. Get all of your vegetables sliced and ready to go. Have your sauce made and set aside.

Now, heat the wok. Get it really hot. Add your onion and ginger and garlic if you are using it. Stir it and cook only until the onion starts to soften. If your wok is as hot as it should be this will only take a minute or two.

Now add carrot, peppers, and any other firm vegetable. Cook for a few minutes making sure the wok gains it’s heat back before adding the cabbage and or bean sprouts. Stir fry until they start to soften, now add the cooked noodles.

Stir fry the noodles until they are hot, and combined with the other ingredients. Add the sauce, stir fry for another minute or two, and serve.

Egg Rolls

As we all know, there are many different types of egg rolls. We are going to stay away from the type that contains the unrecognizable grey paste and focus on the type that is loaded with vegetables.


egg roll wraps

Egg roll wrappers are essentially a type of fresh pasta made mostly of wheat flour and eggs. They are the same as won ton skins but larger. They can usually be found in the produce aisle by the bean sprouts and other Asian vegetables.

Egg roll wrappers differ from spring roll wrappers which are more like a crepe than pasta. Spring roll wrappers are generally found in the freezer section of the grocery store.

There are many different brands that make egg roll wrappers. However, you are likely limited to what is available in your area. Whatever you can get is fine.

Egg roll wrappers can be sealed with either a bit of water or beaten egg brushed around the edges of the dough.


The vegetables in an egg roll are stir fried, drained and cooled before being rolled in the wrapper. The egg roll won’t cook long enough to cook the vegetables from raw. The vegetables are drained because any excess liquid will cause the egg rolls to get soggy and possibly fall apart.

The vegetables in an egg roll are pretty much the same vegetables used in lo mien and most other Chinese food dishes. The standard vegetables are cabbage, onion, carrot, bean sprouts, and sometimes peppers.

As with lo mien the seasoning can be basic or more complex. Often the vegetables are stir fried with just a bit of soy sauce. However, other ingredients can be added like hoisin sauce, and Chinese Five Spice. Of course, garlic and ginger can be cooked in the mix as well.

All of these ingredients are stir fired together and then put in a strainer over a bowl to drain a bit and cool.

Making Egg Rolls

Actually assembling egg rolls is a pretty straight forward process. Lay out an egg roll wrapper. Brush the edges with water or beaten egg. Put some filling the the center of the egg roll wrapper. Roll the egg roll. Flatten the ends, fold them over on themselves, and pinch together. Repeat this process until you have made all of your egg rolls.


Heat 1-2 litres of canola or vegetable oil to 350°F in a deep fryer, wok, or deep pot. Cook the egg rolls a few at a time for about five minutes, flipping them half way through. Remove the egg rolls from the oil and drain on a wire rack.

You can cook off all of your egg rolls, let them cool completely and then freeze them. When you want to eat them again just take them out of the freeze and bake them at 400°f from frozen for about 30-40 minutes flipping half way thorough.

It goes without saying that you need to serve those bad boys with some delicious plum sauce.


Again, I find myself writing way too much. So, I am going to end it here and I am going to finish this up next week when I will talk about won tons, soup, and vegetable dishes.

Thanks for reading. I’ll see you soon.



  1. Everything I Know About Chinese Food PT. 3 – How To Not Burn Sh!t - […] talking about won tons, soup, and vegetable dishes. If you haven’t checked out part one and part two I…

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