Crispy Chow Mein Noodles Are The Ultimate Salad Topping

Although technically anything can be tossed into a bowl, there is a trick to achieving a truly tasty salad. While selecting a range of flavorful ingredients is important, that's just the start. A successful salad should also be visually pleasing, offering interesting pops of color. Additionally, and perhaps most importantly, salads should teem with texture. Despite that textural variety can be achieved through incorporating crunchy mix-ins like chopped nuts, bacon bits, or crushed chips, there's one ingredient that proves to be a real powerhouse as a salad topping, and that's crispy chow mein noodles.

Crunchy and crispy, the cracker-esque creations are made by frying chow mein noodles until puffed up and perfectly golden. Typically found decorating dishes in American Chinese cuisine, the noodles are commonly used as a garnish for chop suey and wonton soup. However, they also make an especially terrific final touch to salads.

Fried chow mein noodles tend to have a neutral flavor. But, what they lack in taste, they more than make up for in texture. Providing a starchy component to otherwise fresh veggie-based salads, their crunchy-meets-crumbly quality along with their richness (courtesy of being deep-fried) make crispy chow mein noodles the ultimate topping for bowls of leafy greens, grains, and beyond.

Make crispy chow mein noodles at home in just a few steps

Crispy chow mein noodles can be found at any grocery store, but they're also quite easy to make. All you need to do is seek out a package of egg noodles — ideally, a thinner variety — and break them into smaller pieces. Then, the noodles can be boiled partially before being strained and rinsed in cold water to stop the cooking process. After letting them dry briefly, toss the noodles in corn flour and deep-fry for a few minutes until golden.

When it comes to determining the quantity of chow mein noodles to use, that depends on personal preference and the size of your salad. That said, bear in mind that crispy chow mein noodles shouldn't totally take over the salad. Instead, add them more sparingly so as to allow the crunch to enhance the salad rather than detract from it.

Given their neutral flavor, crispy chow mein noodles can be worked into all sorts of salads. Of course, they work particularly well when used to finish Asian-inspired meals like a crunchy bok choy salad crafted with peppers, carrots, and sesame seeds, or even a shredded cabbage slaw that's been tossed in a ginger dressing. Similarly, bowls of Vietnamese vermicelli, lettuce, cucumber, and bean shoots will benefit from the crunch of the noodles, much like a mandarin chicken pasta salad. No matter the recipe, crispy chow mein noodles are guaranteed to make any and all salads all the more extraordinary!