The Real Food Guide

Paleo Cantonese Chow Mein Recipe


Paleo Egg-Free Cantonese Chow Mein

I have to confess that I approach Chinese-style cooking with much the same attitude as my parents – chop a bunch of ingredients, toss them in, taste, season and voilà! Dinner! So I was inspired when I saw A Girl Worth Saving’s Paleo Crispy Noodle recipe, I wanted to make my own real food, safe-for-me-to-eat, Cantonese Chow Mein. Basically, this recipe is me throwing together ingredients that are typical to Chinese stir-frying and tossing them together and declaring it delicious.

And here’s the thing – that’s the way I think more people should approach cooking. Buy real, whole food ingredients. Toss them together. Season them. See what happens! This is why, you’ll see that the recipe below includes an ingredient that’s probably never seen in real Chinese cooking – nutritional yeast. I added the nutritional yeast to the spiralized turnip noodles because it worked in giving the noodles a more savory, ‘umami’ flavour. So how authentic is this recipe? Well, my mama will probably say it’s not, especially because of this ‘special’ ingredient. After all, she did say my ‘char siu’ recipe was a little lacking in authenticity ;) But for me, it works, so I write it down in hopes that I’ll be able to re-create it again when I want to.

I digress. This recipe isn’t going to be the same as your Chinese take-out version of Cantonese Chow Mein. While I love my spiralizer, and it’s a great way to make ‘noodles’ out of all sorts of vegetables, if you know what real, authentic Cantonese Chow Mein tastes like, this will merely be ‘good enough’ if you’ve got a craving. And that’s okay by me, if it means that I can satisfy a craving without breaking out in to a rash. If nothing else, I hope this recipe of sorts encourages you to get cooking and experimenting!

If your experiments work, great! Write it down! Make it again! If it doesn’t work, try and rescue it with different seasonings, or vow never to make it again and pretend like it didn’t happen ;) That’s the amazing thing about cooking with real food though – it’s just food. You’ll have to eat again. Don’t get too caught up in the pomp and circumstance of it all, especially if you’re just cooking a day-to-day meal.

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Paleo Gluten-free Cantonese Chow Mein Recipe

Paleo Gluten-free Cantonese Chow Mein Recipe


  • 2 medium lo bak (daikon) radish or 8-10 white turnips
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1/4 cup melted coconut oil or your cooking fat of choice, additional 1-2 tbsp oil or fat for stir-frying
  • 1 lb frozen shrimp and scallops
  • 2 large carrots, sliced
  • 1 lb baby bok choy
  • 1 can of sliced water chestnuts, drained
  • 1-1/2 tsp of white pepper (omit for AIP)
  • 1-1/2 tsp of sea salt
  • 1-1/2 tsp of grated ginger
  • 1-2 tbsp wheat-free soy sauce or coconut aminos
  • 6 oz char siu, sliced


  1. Preheat oven to 375F
  2. Wash, peel and spiralize the lo bak (daikon) or turnips. (The daikon has a milder taste, while the turnips have a more distinctive turnip flavor. Alternatively, you can do a mixture of both daikon and turnips.)
  3. Coat your spiralized turnips or daikon with melted coconut oil, sea salt and nutritional yeast. Bake for 35 minutes, flipping your noodles about half-way through the baking time.
  4. After you've flipped your noodles, about half-way through the baking time, heat coconut oil in a wok on medium-high heat. Add your shrimp and scallops and stir-fry until the shrimp are translucent and slightly undercooked. Remove them from the wok and set aside.
  5. Add more coconut oil, and add your carrots, baby bok choy, water chestnuts and seasonings. Stir-fry until the baby bok choy are slightly wilted, but still bright green. Add the shrimp and scallops back in, and stir-fry them with the vegetables until the shrimp are cooked through.
  6. Plate your stir-fry on top of your noodles to serve.

Vivian is the founder of the Real Food Guide and a Registered Holistic Nutritionist (RHN) who believes that each individual needs to go on their own Real Food Journey to find what works. While she herself eats a diet of real food (aka a paleo diet), some people may find that they can flourish on a vegetarian diet instead. However, universal to optimal health and well-being is good quality, nutrient-dense, Real Food.

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October 8 |

4 thoughts on “Paleo Cantonese Chow Mein Recipe

  1. elizabeth says:

    this is not paleo. char siu is made with soy!

  2. elizabeth says:

    ah i see the link to your version of char siu without soy now. you might want to link it in the ingredients list.

    have you thought about substituting anything in addition to coconut aminos? i was thinking of trying to come up with a paleo version of char siu but there just isnt anything that is close to fermented bean curd. i feel like this version would be lacking a lot - replacing dark soy, light soy, and the fermented bean curd with just coconut aminos doesn’t seem like it would have the same depth of flavor.

    • Yes, the link is in the ingredients now. No I haven’t thought much about substituting beyond coconut aminos, but you’re more than welcome to try and let me know how it turns out. You’re right though, all these substitutions for the soy-based Chinese ingredients makes it very hard to taste exactly like ‘real’ cha siu.

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