This post may contain affiliate links.
This chop suey noodles recipe is a Chinese-Costa Rican fusion dish made from chicken, noodles, and vegetables sauteed together in a mild sauce that includes our signature Salsa Lizano.
About This Recipe
Like most countries in the world, Costa Rica has a lovely Chinese-Costa Rican immigrant community that forms the fabric of Costa Rican gastronomy. From chop suey soup to Cantonese rice, some of Costa Rica’s most popular dishes have Chinese influence.
Since the mid-1850s, Chinese immigrants have arrived in Costa Rica to work. Historically, they came first from the Guangdong province of China to work on the Panama Railway. As time went on, many immigrants arrived in Costa Rica as a stopover while they waited for visas to enter the United States and Canada- but eventually, they just stayed in Costa Rica.
Today, Chinese immigrants number nearly 45,000 in Costa Rica, and there are many Chinese-Costa Rican people throughout the country who are fully bilingual and run amazing businesses.
The biggest marks on Costa Rican cuisine that the Chinese immigrants have left are in the form of Chicken Chop Suey (both soup and the dry noodle recipe below) and arroz cantones. All of the recipes have a Costa Rican flair in that both soy sauce and Salsa Lizano are the main ingredients in the sauce.
This recipe combines chicken, traditional chop suey noodles, and lots of vegetables.
Chicken chop suey is made in many Costa Rican homes, and it is also a very popular Costa Rican street food. At festivals and community events, you will often see food trucks with huge portions of chop suey ready for purchase. The food is generally served in a round grey or red plastic container with a top and a plastic fork. Portions are huge, and people share them with friends.
Almost 20 years ago I worked at a bilingual school in Costa Rica, and the school cafeteria chef was Chinese. She made the absolute best chicken chop suey on the planet, and she explained to me how she makes the recipe. I have been making it this way ever since. There are many versions of Costa Rican chop suey recipe- but this is mine and I hope you love it as much as our family does!
Related post: 30+ Recipes to Try In Costa Rica
Chicken Chop Suey Recipe
Printable recipe below
- Chicken breast
- soy sauce
- white onion
- sweet red pepper
- celery stalks
- snap peas
- Suey Noodles
- Salsa Lizano
- soy sauce
- chicken broth
Cook and drain the chop suey noodles and set aside.
Slice your chicken breasts into fine strips and place them in a bowl to marinate. Whisk together ¼ cup soy sauce, salt, and corn starch. Pour over the chicken and stir until the chicken is coated. Set aside to marinate.
Julienne the red pepper, carrots, celery, broccoli and onion. Chop the cabbage into strips.
In a large skillet, heat the oil and crushed garlic over medium-high. Add the chicken (along with any sauce in the bowl) and saute until cooked. Turn down the heat to low.
In a blender, place the chicken broth, cilantro, soy sauce, Salsa Lizano and a healthy pinch of onion and celery. Blend until smooth.
Add all of the vegetables to your large skillet with the chicken and sautee everything on medium-high heat until the vegetables are tender.
Pour the sauce from the blender over the chicken and veggie mix and combine. Add in the noodles and stir until everything is well combined and coated with the sauce.
Many street food vendors in Costa Rica will add pork and Chinese sausage to this recipe.
There is a version of Costa Rican chop suey soup that is a bit lighter on soy sauce and is sort of a combination between this recipe and ramen noodles. It’s really good.
If you don’t have the Salsa Lizano you can omit it. Coconut aminos work great in place of soy sauce in order to make this a gluten-free recipe.
You don’t have to have all of the vegetables listed above- make do with what you have- that’s the Costa Rican way. You could also add chayote to this recipe- it would be so delicious!
You can use Costa Rican shredded chicken in place of the chicken breasts.
If you don’t have chicken broth on hand you can easily combine chicken bouillon with water and use it instead.
Related post: Costa Rican Cantonese Rice Recipe
For me, this chicken chop suey recipe is a meal in and of itself. I love to eat it with a fun Costa Rican juice or a traditional Costa Rican salad.
However, you will often find this dish served with a side of Costa Rican white rice. And yes, you read that right. Double carbs in a meal are a very Costa Rican food thing, and if you don’t believe me, check out this thread in our Costa Rican Food Lovers group on Facebook.
- 1-2 lbs chicken breast
- ¼ cup soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1 tablespoon oil
- ½ white onion
- 1 sweet red pepper
- 3 carrots
- 1/2 head broccoli
- 3-4 celery stalks
- ½ head cabbage
- 1/2 cup snap peas
- 2-3 cloves crushed garlic
- 1 package Vigui Chop Suey Noodles
- ⅓ cup Salsa Lizano
- ⅓ cup soy sauce
- ¼ cup cilantro
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 6-8 cups water
- Cook and drain the chop suey noodles and set aside. If you are using the Vigui, do not use the condiment packet- set it aside for the chicken.
- Slice your chicken breasts into fine strips and place them in a bowl to marinate. Whisk together ¼ cup soy sauce, salt and corn starch. Pour over chicken and stir until chicken is coated. Set aside to marinate.
- Julienne the red pepper, carrots, celery, broccoli and onion. Chop the cabbage into strips.
- In a large skillet, heat the oil and crushed garlic over medium high. Add the chicken (with any sauce in the bowl) and sautee until cooked. Turn down the heat to low.
- In a blender, place the chicken broth, cilantro, soy sauce, Salsa Lizano and a healthy pinch of onion and celery. Blend until smooth.
- Add all of the vegetables to your large skillet with the chicken and sautee everything on medium high heat until vegetables are tender.
- Pour the sauce from the blender over the chicken and veggie mix and combine. Add in the noodles and stir until everything is well combined and coated with the sauce.
- Serve hot!
Welcome! I’m Christa, a former high school teacher married to a handsome Costa Rican and mother of two bilingual daughters. I love all things Spanish and bi-cultural, (especially travel and food!) and you’ll find my observations on life here. Thanks for stopping by