Chinese Birthday With Longevity Noodles

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Chinese Birthday longevity noodles

Chinese Birthday longevity noodles

I’m back from my holiday! Thanks very much for visiting my blog and also for all your lovely comments on my scheduled blog posts while I was away. You have brought me a lot of smiles!

I had a most wonderful time even though it was short considering all the places that I visited and all the things that happened. I was in Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur and Sibu to meet up with relatives, friends and family members. I attended 2 wedding receptions and 2 birthday celebrations. It was wonderful, too, meeting up with old secondary school classmates. All of them are doing very well in their careers.

I went back hoping to enjoy all the local food but I must say the intense heat and humidity just killed my appetite. Then I fell ill with high fever and cold for a few days which left me very little time to enjoy all the food that I love. Nevertheless, I still managed to enjoy a few. There are lots to share but I think I’ll just share some of the highlights.

Birthday cake

Birthday cake

One of the most important events was my father-in-law’s birthday. We had a beautiful kiwi birthday cake for him. On top of the cake were soft cream decoration of 2 peaches, a symbol of long life and immortality in the Chinese culture. This cake created a very happy atmosphere as all the little kids were very excited to sing the birthday song and blow the candles, making the grandpa beaming with joy on his birthday.

fresh longevity noodles

fresh longevity noodles

However, the most important dish was the Chinese longevity noodles, called ‘somen‘ locally. It’s a symbol of long life. These noodles are made locally and are very fine and long. They are at least 4 feet long. It is very easy and quick to cook them. My mother-in-law knows the best place to buy them. They come in different quality. Some low quality ones just turn soggy in the soup. You can buy them in packets from the Chinese supermarket but they taste very different.

Rounds of longevity noodles drying in the sun

Rounds of sun-dried longevity noodles

My mother-in-law always splits them into small portions and shapes them into rounds to dry them in the sun until crispy. Then she stores them in a tin to keep. It will keep a long time and is very convenient when you want a bowl of this noodle in soup. Drying enhances the texture when you cook it.

chicken soup

chicken soup

My mother-in-law cooked a big pot of chicken soup with some dried Chinese mushrooms. The soup was very tasty.

cooked Chinese longevity noodles

cooked Chinese longevity noodles

Cooking the noodles need some skill. It is important to boil more water when cooking the noodles so that the noodles do not clamp together in a gooey mass. Once the noodles float in the boiling water, it’s cooked and has to be dished out into a bowl immediately and the soup poured over it.

This noodle is always served in chicken soup and topped with 2 eggs and a big piece of chicken. But these days, most people only use one egg instead of 2. My mother-in-law makes very good red rice wine. Adding some to the soup before serving makes the dish very delicious.

Well, there were other dishes, too, but everyone especially enjoyed the noodles and the birthday cake. It was a lovely birthday celebration.

How do you celebrate birthdays in your culture? Please share, comment and add in the comment box below.

Other noodles in soup that you may be interested:
Fast And Easy Egg Noodle Soup
Making Hand-pulled Noodles
Hand-pulled Noodles And Char Siu Chicken Soup
Fish Ball Noodle Soup
Boiled Chicken And Vegetables Noodle Soup
Malaysian Prawn Soup Noodles

Quote of the day……

“The important thing is to dare to dream big, then take action to make it come true.”

Joe Girard

Keep Learning Keep Smiling

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Priya  on July 5th, 2010

Beautiful cake and droolworthy noodles..very tempting..

3hungrytummies  on July 5th, 2010

This is ultimate comfort food! Glad to have you back, you must have so much to tell and share about your holidays. Cant’ wait!

TasteHongKong  on July 5th, 2010

Welcome back, Mary : ).

Did the late afternoon rains in KL make you sick? I was there last week and back to HK now; we missed each other : (.

Take good rest!

Sushma Mallya  on July 5th, 2010

Hope you had a great time mary…cake really looks yum,hope your fil enjoyed his bday with all of you around…and noodles look healthy and nice…

Cheah  on July 5th, 2010

Welcome back, Mary! Love this ’somen’, think it’s a Hock Chew custom. Cantonese ’somen’ is different. Glad to hear that you enjoyed your holidays, too bad you got sick, must be the intense heat. Now it’s rain and rain!

anncoo  on July 5th, 2010

Hi Mary, welcome back! Can’t wait to hear more about your holidays and pictures too!
Yes the ’somen’is different from ours but looks very delicious. Do you add the ‘Hock Chew’meat ball in it? I love the meat ball very much, any tips to share how to make?

the lacquer spoon  on July 5th, 2010

Welcome back, Mary and glad to know your holiday was very productive! The noodle looks different from Japanese “somen”, which is relatively short in length. Interesting BD noodles :)

kristy  on July 5th, 2010

Mary, how nice of you guys flied all the way back to celebrate your FIL birthday! I’m sure he was so happy then. Looking forward to the up-coming photos. Hope you’re having a nice day and get some rest.
Cheers, Kristy

noobcook  on July 5th, 2010

welcome back! sorry to hear you were sick during the trip. yes the humid weather here is really nasty >.<

love this traditional bowl of longevity noodles. nowadays people put fancy stuff like abalone, lobster meat in it, but I personally prefer a simpler bowl with a chicken drumstick like the one you shown.

penny aka jeroxie  on July 5th, 2010

WElcome back and happy birthday lovely!

Christine@Christine's Recipes  on July 5th, 2010

Mary, welcome you back.
You’ve visited many places and relatives. It’s such a busy holiday full with joys. Sad that you got sick for a few days. You’ve got all those good memories after all.

somewhere in singapore  on July 5th, 2010

Welcome back!!!

U didn’t at the same time come to Singapore, kekeke…

Belinda @zomppa  on July 5th, 2010

Happy birthday! Sorry to hear you got sick, but glad that you were fed well. Sounds like an awesome vacation!

shirley@køkken69  on July 5th, 2010

Visiting friends and relatives is always a wonderful thing. Looking forward to your new posts!

Sidney  on July 5th, 2010

I miss this very much…i remember this when my mom cooked this for me on my birthday (chinese calendar)…she also cooks for my grandpa (pass away last year) and grandma…although it looks plain but the taste is really nice…i think is because she cooked it with her heart and soul…THANKS mummy!!! come back to this ‘mi sua soup’ (hokkien) mom used to used mince pork and make it into pork ball (some pepper and salt)..after the water is boil together with the mince pork, mi sua will goes into the soup together for awhile and it is ready to serve in just 1-2 minutes…

Tasty Trix  on July 5th, 2010

I’m so sorry to hear that you got sick on your trip! I’m glad you’re feeling better now. Well, it seems cake is a universal way to celebrate a birthday!!

Jeannie  on July 5th, 2010

Wow, sounds like a very grand birthday celebration… the noodles looks very delicious indeed, so did the cake, so gorgeous!For my mom, we just had a simple celebration at our eldest sis’s house with potluck dishes. Netherless, it was still a very happy ocassion:D

tigerfish  on July 5th, 2010

Happy Birthday to your father-in-law! I am also for this kind of classic noodle soup with simple ingredients and the signature hard-boiled (birthday) egg. Hope you enjoyed yourself and feeling better now.

lequan@luvtoeat  on July 5th, 2010

Sorry to hear you were not feeling too well Mary :( I hope you are feeling much better now.

Wow, so many celebrations to attend. I’m sure there were many many tasty and beautiful dishes! That chicken soup looks so flavorful…mmmm. Reminds me of the ones my mom cooks for hours with Chinese herbs and medicines. Glad you are back safe and sound.

Cook with Madin  on July 5th, 2010

Hi Mary, welcome back. I’m glad you had a great time, I’m sorry you weren’t feeling well at one point.
Beautiful cake and longevity noodle soup.
We always have to have noodle dish on all birthday celebrations, it is also a sign of long life in our culture. The kind of noodles we serve is the rice noodle, we call the dish “Pancit”.

Have a great day Mary.

Amy @ cookbookmaniac  on July 5th, 2010

The cold weather in Sydney is making me crave a bowl of these noodles!

Mary  on July 5th, 2010

@Priya - Thanks very much, Priya! :D

@3hungrytummies - Yes, lots to share but don’t know where to start now…haha :D I’m glad to be back but miss home lots!

@TasteHongKong - Thanks very much! :D I was glad that it rained. At least it brought down the heat. We could have met and not recognised each other…haha. Hope you enjoyed the trip there.

@Sushma Mallya - My father-in-law was indeed very happy that we were back home for his birthday :D With all the grand kids around him, he must be the happiest man!

@Cheah - Yes, it’s the Hock Chew way of cooking it. The heat and the humidity was really unbearable :( Coming back, I was greeted by the cold. I don’t like that either. But am thankful it’s not cold like in winter :D

@anncoo - My pictures are all still so unorganised. I should have taken more pictures. Thought I had time but then I fell sick and didn’t manage to take them :( Oh, is there such a thing as Hock Chew meat balls?? Didn’t know that. My mother-in-law never mention it and never make that. I’ll have to find out.

@the lacquer spoon - Thanks very much! :D I did had a good time apart from falling ill. Yes, the noodles were very long. You are not supposed to cut it when cooking but we are not superstitious so my mother-in-law cut it shorter to dry it under the sun.

@kristy - Yes, my father-in-law and everyone at home were really happy…me too :D The jet lag is still getting on my nerves…sleeping and waking at the wrong time :(

@noobcook - Yes, the heat and humidity was really unbearable. There was a few showers and it really helped. I really love the noodles, especially with the red rice wine :D

@penny aka jeroxie - Thanks very much, Penny! :D

@Christine@Christine’s Recipes - Thanks very much, Christine! :D I think I accomplished a lot this trip…sounds super…haha.

@somewhere in singapore - Thanks very much! :D I must try to drop by Singapore next time.

@Belinda @zomppa - Thanks very much, Belinda! :D It was an awesome vacation apart from falling ill.

@shirley@køkken69 - I sure had a lot of fun :D Will share more.

@Sidney - It’s really nice that your mom still cooks this for you. You have such a wonderful mom! :D So sorry to hear that your grandpa passed away last year. Thanks very much for sharing the way your mom cooks it. I’m sure it tastes very delicious with all the flavour from the meat balls. Do you have the recipe for the meat balls? Ann or Anncoo would like to make it.

@Tasty Trix - I’m really glad that I’m feeling well now :D It was a wonderful trip though.

@Jeannie - Glad we were there to celebrate the birthday. Makes my father-in-law very happy :D I’m sure your mom was very happy too when you all celebrated for her. Doing potluck is a very good idea.

@tigerfish - Thanks very much! I’m fine now. Lovely to know you like this noodles too. We do share similar favourites! :D

@lequan@luvtoeat - Thanks very much, LeQuan! I’m feeling fine now. Yes, this is the first time I have to attend so many celebrations in so short a time! Sound super huh…haha :D

@Cook with Madin - Thanks very much, Madin! I’m fine now…..happy me again :D It’s wonderful to know that you celebrated birthday with this noodle in your culture too.

@Amy @ cookbookmaniac - We are living in opposite sides of the world. We are having summer now . But then, it’s still cold :( I would love a bowl of this noodle soup too.

Joy  on July 5th, 2010

Love the cake. it is great that you were able to see much of you family. I’m glad you had a good time.

Julie Lynn  on July 5th, 2010

I’m so sorry that you were ill part of the time. {{{hugs}}} Otherwise it sounds like a wonderful trip.

The noodle dish brings back fond memories. And such a lovely cake. =)

Faith  on July 5th, 2010

I’m glad you had a nice holiday, Mary! The bowl of noodles looks delicious and the cake is really lovely.

Cenwen  on July 5th, 2010

Hello Mary:)

Thank you for this nice sharing!

I’m sorry that you were sick! Fortunately you have enjoyed your family and your friends.

The noodle soup is one of my favorite dishes ^ _ ^ I love noodles and pasta of any country in the world! I make my pasta and I use different flours to experiment other flavors and textures :)

The cake is very pretty! Thank you for your explanation:)

Good day!


Mary  on July 5th, 2010

@Joy - Yes, the best part is really to see my family, relatives and friends :D Now I miss them a lot again!

@Julie Lynn - Thanks very much, Lynn! :D I really had a great time apart from the few days that I was ill.

@Faith - Thanks very much, Faith! :D

@Cenwen - Thanks very much, Cenwen! :D It’s wonderful to know you make your own pasta and with different flours. You are just amazing. I’m sure they taste very delicious. Nothing beats homemade food. Keep Cooking Keep Smiling! :D

Magic of Spice  on July 5th, 2010

Welcome back:) The cake looks great!

Drick  on July 5th, 2010

I always learn so much from you Mary, this one too… glad you are back safe and well and that is a beautiful cake, like the peaches and symbolism representation in the cake and soup as well…..

Chef Dennis  on July 5th, 2010

what an excellent soup!! those noodles look so good in that lovely broth!!

zurin  on July 5th, 2010

mmmmm the noodle soup looks os mouthwatering. I just love soupy noodles. N the cake is gorgeous too. :)

Jess @ Bakericious  on July 6th, 2010

Hi Mary, welcome back! Looking forward for your posts on trip. :)

Mary  on July 6th, 2010

@Magic of Spice - Thanks very much! :D

@Drick - Thanks very much, Drick! :D Very glad to be back but miss home lots!

@Chef Dennis - Thanks very much, Dennis! :D I do need it again…still cold here.

@zurin - Thanks very much Zurin! :D

@Jess @ Bakericious - Thanks very much Jess! :D Will be posting more about my trip.

Shirley  on July 6th, 2010

Good to have you back. It sounds like a great trip. Gosh have never seen never ending noodles like that!

Roti n Rice  on July 6th, 2010

Wellcome back Mary! Glad to know you had a good time. I just got back from my travels too. Those noodles look very delicious!

pigpigscorner  on July 6th, 2010

Welcome back! The noodle dish looks so healthy and yummy!

Mary  on July 6th, 2010

@Shirley - Thanks very much, Shirley! :D It was a great trip apart from falling ill.

@Roti n Rice - Welcome you back, too, Biren! :D Bet you had a great time also.

@pigpigscorner - Thanks very much! :D I want to eat the noodle dish again :P

Shawnee  on July 6th, 2010

I love how different cultures have different meanings behind their food. It’s fun to learn about. YOur cake is beautiful and looks delicious!

Janet @Gourmet Traveller 88  on July 6th, 2010

Welcome back! Glad to hear u had a wonderful time. Thanks for the highlights. Thanks for the tips for cooking the longevity noodles : ) It’s very hot here in Switzerland too, making me losing my appetite too. Also the heat makes the pregnancy more unbearable.

Gera @ Sweets Foods Blog  on July 6th, 2010

Mary, welcome back! :)

How many wonderful places you’ve visited and nice moments you’ve had too.

These noodles have super powers - need to try it, look so yummy!

All the best,


Mary  on July 6th, 2010

@Shawnee - Thanks very much, Shawnee! :D You are very right. I love to learn about other cultures too. It’s very fascinating how we live, eat and believe differently.

@Janet @Gourmet Traveller 88 - Thanks very much, Janet! :D I didn’t know that Switzerland is hot. May be you should move to Aberdeen :P It wasn’t too bad here yesterday….16 degrees Celsius. Wonderful to know you are pregnant….congrats! Please take care.

@Gera @ Sweets Foods Blog - Thanks very much, Gera! :D
Yes, wonderful people I met, wonderful places I visited and wonderful food I enjoyed! Now I miss all :(

DG  on July 6th, 2010

It’s a beautiful cake and the longevity noodles looks really yummy.

Juliana  on July 7th, 2010

Nice cake and the noddles sure look yummie…happy birthday to your father in law :-)

sweetlife  on July 7th, 2010

glad your back, I love the beautiful cake..and the longevity noodles are super cool, I love that she dries them to have on hand..we celebrate with famil, food,and pinatas!!

Suman Singh  on July 7th, 2010

WOW…home made noddles…looks de-lish…liked that beautiful kiwi cake…love the green colors in it…looks awesome…

Sook  on July 7th, 2010

Mary! The broth in this noodle dish looks amazing! It’s always my favorite part about soupy noodle dishes. :)

Sidney  on July 8th, 2010

Well, no special recipes for the meatball…but i know that there is some pepper, salt and that’s it….nth special but really taste good..i try to ask my mom on this on the 26 July which I am going back…

Mary  on July 8th, 2010

@DG - Thanks very much, DG! :D

@Juliana - Thanks very much, Juliana! :D

@sweetlife - Thanks very much, SweetLife! :D

@Suman Singh - Thanks very much, Suman! :D

@Sook - Thanks very much, Sook! :D

@Sidney - Sometimes simple can come out to be the best. Your mom is just such a good cook! Lovely to know that you are going back soon. Bet your mom is thinking what to cook for you :D You are very lucky! Thanks very much for asking. Sidney, I think one day you will be a great cook like her. I can be your taster….hehe

Kristi Rimkus  on July 9th, 2010

What a wonderful celebration! I’m so glad you enjoyed your trip. The noodles are mouthwatering!

My Simple Food  on July 9th, 2010

Hi Mary!! Is this mee suah?? My mom used to make me mee suah for my birthday. Heard you were just back from Malaysia!! Am sure you had a great time!!!

Mary  on July 11th, 2010

@Kristi Rimkus - This celebration was very meaningful. It was a happy occasion. As usual, the noodles went down very well….everyone’s favourite! :D

@My Simple Food - Yes, this is mee suah…..ooooh…just so delicious!! Now I’m craving for it again :( I wish I can cook the same one year! I can’t get the same mee suah and I can’t get the red rice wine so it will be different. Looking forward to my next trip back :D

lisa ng  on July 12th, 2010

wonderful! Mary I always enjoy your post. Thank you and i love Chinese soup. it’s lite and very healthy.
I made a similar soup with the same ingredients and added ginseng for a boost!

Mary  on July 23rd, 2010

@ lisa ng - Thanks very much, Lisa! :D Whah….added ginseng! That makes it really tonic. I should do that next time.

Blogging, Social Media, Food Bloggers – Best of the Week  on February 14th, 2011

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Blogging, Social Media, Food Bloggers – Best of the Week | Sweets Foods Blog  on February 15th, 2012

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janiestewart21  on February 9th, 2014

I live in Seoul, Korea and my students have been reading about Chinese birthday celebrations. We read about the tradition of eating the LONG noodles for birthdays and I was wondering where I could buy these to show my kids. Do you know of any website I could buy them from. I shop at our military commissary and they do not sell them. Thanks for helping me locate these so I can share them with my kiddos.

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