15 Must-Try Sides to Serve with Chow Mein for a Complete Meal

Chow mein is one of those versatile dishes that works beautifully as either a main course or a side.

With its long noodles tossed in a savory sauce along with stir-fried veggies and protein, it’s a satisfying all-in-one meal. But sometimes you just need a little something extra to round out the plate.

From fresh salads to fried appetizers, I’ve gathered some of my favorite tasty side dishes  to serve alongside chow mein.

1.Egg Rolls

You can’t go wrong kicking off your chow mein feast with a classic egg roll appetizer. The crispy fried exterior gives way to a hot, savory filling of cabbage, carrots, pork or shrimp.

It’s easy and makes for a perfect side dish or appetizer to serve alongside any Asian-inspired meal, like chow mein.

To make these tasty morsels, simply brown some ground pork (or chicken, if you prefer), then mix in the coleslaw, soy sauce, and a bit of salt and pepper. Let it cool slightly before wrapping it up in the egg roll wrappers, sealing the edges with a bit of beaten egg.

Then, just fry them up in batches until they’re golden brown and crispy. Trust me, these egg rolls are so good, you’ll want to make a double batch and freeze some for later!

They provide that irresistible crunch to contrast the soft noodles. Serve them on the side with a sweet chili sauce or mustard for dipping.

2.Beef Dumplings

Whether steamed to juicy tenderness or pan-fried until delightfully crispy on the bottom, these beefed-up dumplings make an exceptional accompaniment for chow mein.

This recipe shows you how to make them in 3 delicious ways: Mongolian steamed dumplings, Russian boiled dumplings, and Chinese pan-fried potstickers.

You can make a big batch and freeze them for later. Having these tasty dumplings ready to cook from the freezer is so convenient for busy days. Just steam, boil or pan-fry them – in 15 minutes or less you’ve got a great meal or snack.

Each tasty little bundle is packed with savory ground beef and veggie filling that’s an ideal partner for the noodles.

3.Crispy Fried Wonton

Speaking of crispy starters, no Chinese food spread is complete without some iteration of crunchy wontons.

Filled with succulent shrimp and tantalizing spices, these little pockets of joy make the perfect party appetizer. Just add your go-to dipping sauce and watch them disappear.

With only about 15 minutes of prep and 5 minutes to fry, you’ll have a plate of delicious wontons ready.

The crispy, golden brown wonton wrappers provide an irresistible crunch that contrasts beautifully with the tender, flavorful shrimp filling inside. Garlic, ginger, coriander and a dash of soy sauce elevate the taste to the next level.

These wontons pair perfectly as a side dish with some chow mein noodles and stir-fried veggies. The complementary Asian flavors and variety of textures make for a satisfying, well-rounded meal that feels like takeout but is so much better homemade.

4.Sweet and Sour Chicken

For more of a heartier protein option to serve alongside your chow mein, look no further than the classic sweet and sour chicken.I absolutely love this recipe from Nicky for homemade sweet and sour chicken!

The crispy fried chicken pieces are coated in a better-than-takeout sauce made with ingredients you usually have on hand.

The key to getting that addictively tangy, sweet, and sour flavor is the combination of those ingredients.It all comes together in about 30 minutes

This dish is delightful served over a bed of fried rice or chow mein noodles. The tangy, bright sauce complements the savory flavors in the Chinese-style rice and noodles perfectly.

5.Honey Walnut Shrimp

This wildly popular shrimp dish brings such amazing crunch and sweetness to the table. The shrimp are perfectly crispy and pair so well with the sweet honey sauce and homemade candied walnuts.

Making the candied walnuts from scratch is totally worth it in my opinion. You can control the sweetness level and they just taste so much better fresh. But if you’re short on time, store-bought works too.

This dish comes together pretty quickly. Once you’ve got your shrimp battered and fried, and your walnuts candied, all that’s left to do is mix up the sauce and toss everything together.

The variety of textures and blend of flavors complement chow mein so nicely.

6.Char Siu (Chinese BBQ Pork)

For an ultra-savory, umami-packed side dish for chow mein, look no further than this iconic Chinese BBQ pork char siu.

The recipe is easy to follow and doesn’t take too long to prepare. You just need to marinate the pork overnight (or at least 8 hours) and then roast it in the oven. The actual hands-on time is only about 10 minutes!

When it’s time to cook, pop it in a hot oven and baste occasionally with the reserved marinade. In about an hour, you’ll have an irresistible platter of sliced pork to serve alongside your chow mein.

The salty-sweet, garlicky flavors are the ideal complement to the savory noodle dish.

7.Hot and Sour Soup

I absolutely love hot and sour soup with chow mein, and I’m excited to share my go-to recipe with you! This soup is the perfect balance of spicy, sour, and savory flavors. Plus, it’s so easy to make at home.

The key ingredients are mushrooms (I prefer shiitake), tofu, bamboo shoots, and a flavorful broth seasoned with rice vinegar, soy sauce, ginger, and chili garlic sauce. A cornstarch slurry thickens it up nicely.

You’ll be amazed that you can whip this up in just about 15 minutes. Yep, it’s that fast! The hardest part is slicing your veggies.

The contrasting temperatures and flavors of the hot soup and savory noodles really complement each other nicely.

8.Bok Choy in Ginger Sauce

I’ve got the perfect side dish to pair with your favorite chow mein – Bok Choy in Ginger Sauce! This recipe is my go-to for loading up on healthy Asian greens.

The great thing about this recipe is that it literally takes only 5 minutes to prepare. You just sauté some ginger in oil, toss in the bok choy leaves, quickly steam them in the pan, then pour over the tasty sauce.

The bok choy gets nicely coated in the gingery goodness while still retaining a slight crunch.

Their juicy crunch provides a bright contrast to the heavier chow mein noodles without overwhelming them.

9.Egg Drop Soup

Another comforting soup option, this eggy chicken broth delivers such tasty simplicity.

The best part about this recipe is how quick and easy it is. In just 15 minutes, you can whip up a hot, satisfying bowl of egg drop soup that rivals any restaurant version.

To make it, simply simmer chicken broth with sesame oil, seasonings, and turmeric for color. Then stir in a cornstarch slurry to thicken it up. The finale is swirling in beaten eggs to create those signature “egg flowers“.

Garnish with scallions and serve! This comforting soup makes a wonderful appetizer or side dish to accompany any Chinese meal, especially chow mein or fried rice.

10.Crispy Sesame Chicken

For more of an indulgent crispy chicken route, this sesame chicken is utterly irresistible. It’s my go-to when I’m craving takeout but want something a bit healthier. The chicken turns out crispy, sticky, and full of flavor from the sweet and savory sauce.

Preparing this dish is a breeze. Simply coat the chicken pieces in cornstarch, egg, and seasoned flour, then fry until golden brown. The sauce comes together quickly in the same pan, and toss the crispy chicken to coat it evenly.

You can have this side dish ready in under 30 minutes, making it perfect for busy weeknights.It’s an awesome textural partner for chow mein.

11.Easy & Quick Crab Rangoon

If you’re still wondering what to serve with chow mein, these creamy, crispy wontons are the ultimate chow mein companion. They’re stuffed with a creamy mixture of cream cheese and crab meat (I use imitation crab to keep things budget-friendly).

You only need a handful of ingredients and about 30 minutes to whip up a batch. Perfect as a starter, snack, or party appetizer.

Simply mix the filling, wrap it up in wonton wrappers, and fry until golden. For a healthier twist, you can even bake or air fry them.

These crab rangoons pair wonderfully with sweet chili sauce for dipping. But honestly, they’re so addictive on their own, you might not even need a sauce!

They’re best served piping hot, straight out of the fryer, so the creamy filling stays molten within the crispy shell.

12.Chinese Coleslaw

When you need a bright, crunchy counterpoint to the heavier chow mein noodles, look no further than this refreshing coleslaw.

This salad takes about 15 minutes to make! Slice up your veggies, mix together the simple dressing ingredients, and toss it all together.

I top mine with sliced almonds and sesame sticks for an extra crunch factor that really takes this slaw to the next level.

This Chinese Coleslaw is the perfect side dish to serve alongside Chow Mein. The bright, fresh flavors and satisfying crunch perfectly complement the savory noodles. Plus, it adds a nice pop of color to your plate!

13.Chinese Chicken Salad

Building off those coleslaw flavors, this protein-packed salad makes an exceptional partner for chow mein.

It’s got all my favorite things – crunchy veggies, sweet mandarin oranges, and a tangy ginger-sesame dressing that ties it all together.

It only takes 15 minutes to throw together! I like to use rotisserie chicken to keep things simple, but you could use any cooked chicken you have on hand.

The key to this salad is the mix of textures and flavors. The lettuce and cabbage provide a crisp base, while the carrots, green onions, and almonds add extra crunch. The mandarin oranges bring a burst of sweetness that pairs perfectly with the savory dressing.

Speaking of the dressing, it’s a game-changer! The combination of soy sauce, honey, ginger, and sesame oil is so delicious, you’ll want to put it on everything.

This salad is filling enough to be a meal on its own, but it also makes a great side dish. It’s the perfect light and refreshing complement to heartier Chinese dishes like Chow Mein.

14.Fried Rice

Let me tell you about my all-time favorite side dish to serve with Chow Mein – The Best Fried Rice! It’s super easy to make at home and tastes just as good (if not better) than what you’d get at a restaurant.

The secret ingredient that takes it over the top? Butter! It adds such a rich, savory flavor and helps the rice get that irresistible golden-brown color.

To make it, scramble eggs, sauté the veggies until tender, then toss in cold leftover rice, peas, soy sauce, oyster sauce, and a dash of sesame oil. In under 20 minutes, you’ve got restaurant-quality fried rice!

A simple dish but such a perfect side dish.

15.Quick and Easy Fruit Salad

For a light, refreshing way to cleanse the palate between bites of rich chow mein noodles, you can’t go wrong with a vibrant fruit salad for the spread.

The combination of fresh berries, grapes, apples and bananas tossed in a creamy yogurt and whipped topping is so refreshing and light. Plus, you can use any seasonal fruits you have on hand.

In just 20 minutes, you have a colorful, crowd-pleasing salad ready to go.

The sweet, juicy fruits really complement the savory flavors in Chow Mein. It adds a nice balance to the meal.