Birthday Longevity Noodles
Asians have the tradition of eating longevity noodles (aka long life noodles, or 长寿面, “Chang Shou Mian”) on their birthdays and special occasions such as Ren Ri 人日 (7th day of the Lunar New Year, commonly known as “everyman’s birthday”). It is believed that eating these noodles is auspicious as the long strands of noodles symbolize a long life. Therefore, when eating the noodles, one tries not to break the noodles using the chopsticks or teeth, but instead chew on the noodles when they are inside the mouth. Quite a challenging task if you’d asked me ;)
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There are various versions of these noodles served in different countries and ethnic groups. All kinds of long noodles such as mee suah, udon, soba, yee mien and even spaghetti have been used. There are dry and wet versions as well. One can go really fancy and creative with the type of broth and ingredients used too. Here in Singapore, the version that I see often is the soup version with mee suah and served with a whole hard boiled egg. Those who are really traditional will insist on not one, but two hard boiled eggs which are dyed in red food colouring, and it is the task of the birthday boy or girl to peel the eggs by themselves. Of course, in our modern age, people are now flexible and make their own variations and special touches to this dish. As for the soup broth, anything goes. Some people used leftover steamboat broth, some used chicken stock and some prefer pork ribs soup. The essential ingredients are just long noodles and hard boiled eggs.
This year for B’s birthday, I decided to make him a bowl of longevity noodles to wish him good health because I thought it will be a fun thing to do. I did not follow the tradition of giving him two hard boiled eggs, because I thought the high cholesterol content of two eggs is quite ironic for something termed as longevity noodles ;) So I gave half a hard boiled egg instead just for symbolic purpose. I also added some sliced abalone, Japanese kanimi crab sticks, shredded cucumbers & carrots for added colour, crunch and taste. I used abalone and chicken broth for the soup base. It turns out to be quite nice though I think it’s not something which I will cook normally as a one dish meal.
- 1 can abalone, thinly sliced and abalone broth reserved
- 1 can clear chicken broth
- 10 Japanese kanimi crabsticks
- 1 carrot, peeled and cut to thin strips
- 1 Japanese cucumber, cut to thin strips
- 2 hard boiled eggs, halved
- spring onions, finely chopped (for garnishing)
- 2 bundles of mee suah noodles (or any other long noodles)
1. Rinse mee suah pieces in cold water to remove the starch, then cook them in a wok of boiling water for about 2-3 minutes, separating the strands with chopsticks.
2. Take out the cooked mee suah and set in a serving bowl.
3. To cook perfect hard boiled eggs, place eggs in saucepan of cold water (enough water to cover eggs). Bring to a boil for about 2 minutes, off the flame and cover with lid for about 10 minutes. Rinse the eggs with cold water till they are cooled. Crack the eggs gently with a spoon and remove shell. Cut in half.
4. In a wok or saucepan, bring abalone broth, chicken broth and water to a boil.
5. Heat the kanimi crabsticks and abalone slices using a wide slotted ladle.
6. Pour the hot broth over the noodles, then place abalone slices, crabsticks, cucumbers, carrots, eggs on top and garnish with spring onions.