Tag Archives: birthday noodles

Birthday Noodles


The informant makes a special kind of noodles, often just called “birthday noodles” for their children and grandchildren. The most notable feature of these noodles is the noodles themselves- they’re supposed to be long noodles, meant to represent a long life. While she used to make the noodles by hand, the informant now just buys spaghetti or lo meij egg noodles.
As for the rest of the cooking process, the informant says to cut the meat small before sauteing it with corn starch, soy sauce, oil, and pepper. She also likes to put in a teaspoon of sake, and sometimes some teriyaki sauce. Two cups of cut vegetables, consisting of chinese cabbage, carrots, and fresh mushrooms are also sauteed with the meat.


The informant is a first generation Taiwanese American. She notes that she isn’t particularly superstitious.


Birthday noodles seem to be an example of homeopathic magic, and a rather simple one at that, with the long noodles representing a long life for the consumer. The informant talked a bit about why noodles are specifically used, as they are a very common kind of food found all across Asia, including China, Japan, and of course, Taiwan. There’s quite a long history with the dish, and this presence in culture, combined with the general ease and flexibility of obtaining the ingredients, makes for a meal that can be enjoyed by many regardless of class or wealth.