Cantonese style chow mein noodles with saucy beef and crisp vegetables is one of my favorite restaurant dishes! The sweet potato made chow mein noodles are baked to golden crispy, loaded with extra chow mein sauce, tender beef, peppers, and onions on top. You’ll love this popular takeout dish made simple and healthy at home!

Cantonese beef chow mein crispy noodles feature images served on a large oval plate

One of my favorite things to do when I was studying in Taipei was visiting a Hong Kongese owned noodle restaurant nearby my college in Peitou. A big plate of crispy Cantonese style beef chow mein with crisp vegetables is perfect for two hungry students and is a fantastic one plate meal that basically has it all – extra saucy beef, crispy noodles, and crunchy vegetables. Oh so satisfying! 🙂

Today’s Cantonese beef chow mein is made paleo and whole30 and that means if you eat gluten-free, this dish is perfect for you, too! 🙂

What is Cantonese chow mein?

Traditional Cantonese style chow mein features chow mein noodles that are either flash fried or pan fried to super crispy. Because the noodles are crunchy (dry), the toppings are often saucy (wet) so that the chow mein sauce can soak it through some noodles. The toppings can be beef, pork, chicken, or vegetable. Quail eggs and napa cabbage are often used as toppings in the dish.

A close shot shows the chow mein and beef in an oval plate

What’s the difference between chow mein and Cantonese style chow mein?

Chow mein means stir-fry noodles. Chow means stir-fry, Mein means noodles. The noodles can be fresh noodles or boiled noodles, stir-fried on a stovetop. The noodle texture is soft and a little chewy. Cantonese style chow mein noodles are crispy. They are often made with wheat flour and thin noodles. They can be deep fried or pan fried to crispy texture.

Lo mein, chow mein. and Cantonese style chow mein are all under the umbrella of Chinese fried noodles. Fried noodles can mean stir-fried, pan-fried, or deep-fried noodle dishes.

Ingredients for the chow mein and chow mein sauce

  • Noodles – To keep this dish gluten-free and paleo, I spiralize Hannah Sweet Potatoes and roast them in 2 large sheet pans in the oven until crispy.
  • Protein – I thinly slice the beef and add the seasoning for more flavor.
  • Vegetables – Any crisp and crunchy vegetables are great for this recipe. I use bell peppers.
  • Chow Mein Sauce – chicken stock, coconut aminos, fish sauce, toasted sesame oil, rice vinegar, black pepper, and arrowroot starch to thicken the sauce.
Another shot angle shows the crispy noodles with beef and peppers on a large plate

Best types of sweet potatoes/yams for paleo crispy chow mein noodles

I use Hannah sweet potatoes that have a light tan skin and white flesh. Japanese yams also have a white flesh however the texture is too dense to make spiralized noodles. I recommend Hannah for white color noodles or garnet or jewel sweet potatoes for orange color noodles.

How to make crispy chow mein noodles with beef

  1. Season and bake the spiralized sweet potatoes in the oven over two large sheet pans until golden crispy. This will be the paleo Cantonese style inspired chow mein noodles.
  2. Season the thin sliced beef and sear them in a hot pan or wok.
  3. Saute the garlic, ginger, and onion then add the peppers
  4. Return the beef and the chow mein sauce to the pan.
  5. Place the crispy noodles on a large serving plate. Before serving, pour the saucy beef over. Serve hot and immediately.

Ingredient swap suggestions

  • Protein: If you don’t eat beef, you can also use chicken breasts.
  • Vegetables: If you can’t have bell peppers, use broccoli florets, cauliflower florets, julienned carrots, or diced celery.

Tips for making the best Crispy noodles Beef chow mein

  • Spread the spiralized sweet potatoes out in an even layer so that they don’t touch. If they are crammed together, they will steam instead of bake, and won’t be crunchy.
  • The edge of the noodles tend to get baked faster. Toss them at half baking point.
  • Once the noodles are out of the oven, let them cool. The noodles will turn even more crispy.
  • To keep the noodles crispy, only combine the toppings – saucy beef – and the noodles before serving.

Also check out these helpful articles –

How to make the best beef stir-fry
7 stir-fry mistakes to avoid

What goes well with Crispy Beef Chow Mein

More Paleo Whole30 Healthy Takeout!

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A cover image shows the Cantonese chow mein dish
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Cantonese beef chow mein (paleo, whole30)

Prep Time: 20 mins
Cook Time: 25 mins
Total Time: 45 mins
Servings: 6 people
Author: ChihYu
Cantonese style beef chow mein with crispy noodles and extra chow mein sauce is a fantastic Chinese takeout made healthy at home!
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Ingredients

For the chow mein noodles:

  • 2 lb Hannah sweet potatoes, white flesh, or garnet or jewel sweet potatoes (orange flesh)
  • ¼ tsp garlic powder
  • ¼ tsp onion powder
  • 4 tbsp avocado oil
  • ½ tsp coarse sea salt

For the beef:

For the chow mein sauce:

Others:

  • 2 whole bell peppers, sliced
  • 4 oz. yellow onion, about 1 small, sliced
  • 0.6 oz garlic cloves, about 4 large cloves, sliced
  • 0.4 oz ginger, julienned
  • 2.5 tbsp avocado oil, for the stir-fry

Instructions

For the crispy chow mein noodles:

  • Preheat the oven to 400F. Spiralize the sweet potatoes and add them to a large mixing bowl. Season and toss with garlic, onion, powder, oil and salt.
  • Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper. Spread out the noodles on the prepared baking sheet so that they don’t touch. If they are crammed together, they will steam instead of bake, and won’t be crunchy.
  • Bake for 20-25 minutes. The edge of the noodles tend to get baked faster. Toss them at half baking point. Once the noodles are out of the oven, let them cool. The noodles will become even more crispy.

For the beef and other ingredients:

  • Thinly sliced the beef against the grain. Mix them well with the seasonings from coconut aminos to baking soda. Set aside in the fridge.
  • Slice the peppers in one plate. Prepare the onion, garlic, and ginger on another plate.

To cook:

  • In a well-heated large cast iron or stainless steel saute pan, add 1.5 tbsp oil. Sear the beef over medium-high heat in one layer without disturbing until crisp brown, about 2 minutes. Use a firm tip spatula to flip and cook for 30 seconds additional. Set the beef and pan juice aside in one bowl.
  • Use the same skillet and start it dry, add 1 tbsp oil. Add the onion, garlic, and ginger. Season with a pinch of salt. Saute over medium heat for 10-15 seconds. Add the peppers. Season with another pinch of salt. Saute for 15-20 seconds.
  • Return the beef to the pan. Give the chow mein sauce a stir then add it to the pan. Toss for 1 minute. Turn off the heat.
  • To serve, place the noodles in a large serving plate. Pour the saucy beef and vegetables on top of the noodles right before serving so that the noodles remain crunchy. Serve hot and immediately.

Notes

Types of sweet potatoes/yams
I use Hannah sweet potatoes that have a light tan skin and white flesh. Japanese yams also have a white flesh however the texture is too dense to make spiralized noodles. I recommend Hannah for white color noodles or garnet or jewel sweet potatoes for orange color noodles.
To make ahead, I recommend seasoning the beef a night before. You can also spiralize the sweet potatoes and store them in a large container lined with paper towels. The noodles are most crunchy when they are made and enjoyed the same day.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving, Calories: 449kcal, Carbohydrates: 38g, Protein: 20g, Fat: 25g, Saturated Fat: 4g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 1g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 48mg, Sodium: 959mg, Potassium: 796mg, Fiber: 5g, Sugar: 7g, Vitamin A: 21461IU, Vitamin C: 6mg, Calcium: 59mg, Iron: 2mg
Course: Main Dish
Cuisine: Chinese, Taiwanese
Keyword: beef chow mein, Cantonese chow mein, chow mein sauce, Crispy Chow Mein Noodles, crispy noodles
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Saucy beef stir-fry on top of crispy chow mein noodles