Shortly after I went vegan in 2004, somebody told me that lo mein noodles were egg-based. At the time, it seemed like everyday, some food item was being struck from my list of what I could still eat. I was crushed. Veggie lo mein was always one of my favorite dishes, especially back then because I was all about Chinese buffets. I soon realized that a Chinese buffet doesn't have much to offer vegans. Sadness. From then on, I've always stuck with veggie fried rice (hold the egg).
Well, turns out some lo mein noodles are vegan! I'd guess the kind served in most casual Chinese restaurants are the egg kind. But Explore Asian has a Lo Mein Noodle in its line of organic, wheat noodles, and they sent me some to try. The lo mein is there on the end.
I know I could never recreate the traditional oil-heavy, MSG-laden lo mein that you'd get in a restaurant without balking at the calories. So I didn't even really try to go there. I made a much healthier, low-calorie(ish) Veggie Lo Mein instead. It's basically noodles, a homemade brown sauce (vegan oyster sauce, soy sauce, garlic, etc.), and veggies (I used bok choy, broccoli, mushrooms, carrots, onions, garlic, and summer squash).
I'm planning to save the recipe for my next cookbook, which will be a look at veganized food trends through the past decades. The history of Chinese food in America is fascinating! Much of the stuff served in Chinese restaurants here isn't even Chinese.
Dishes like egg fu young and General Tso's chicken were invented here for American palettes when Chinese immigrants were opening restaurants to feed Americans in the post-World War II era. Thrillist has a great list with "10 Little Known Facts About American Chinese Food."
I ate my lo mein tonight with Fried Cream Cheese Wontons (made with vegan wrappers and Daiya chive & onion cream cheese). You can find that recipe here (just leave out the vegan crab for straight-up cheese ones). Here's an old pic of those since the ones I made tonight didn't turn out as pretty.