Vermicelli, also long as longevity noodles, is used as the main ingredient in this dish of longevity mee suah, prepared for the birthday boys and girls to wish them a long and healthy life. Many Chinese families still cook this dish on birthday occasions in place of a cake, which, in my opinion, is much more practical than a birthday cake as it feeds a person and an entire family well as a meal and isn’t unnecessarily expensive. The tradition stems from the Hokkien dialectal group but is a practice that is commonly seen in many other dialectal groups as well.
Mee suah, as it is, is long and symbolises a long and healthy life, so you are supposed to slurp up the noodles in one gulp and not bite them off as this would mean cutting away years from your own life. A bowl of this soup noodle usually comes with a pair of hardboiled eggs as well as a chicken drumstick – very typical of Chinese customs symbolising perfection (圆圆满满) and a sufficient and good life.
But having two eggs in a bowl can be rather excessive (think high cholesterol) and as such, I have reduced this to just one per bowl. Have also decided to go with shredded chicken meat too, to make it less of a mess to eat and clean up after.
A very simple to prepare and makes for an easy meal to have at any time of the day!
- Egg: 3
- Chicken breast fillet: 1
- Oil: 2 tbsp
- Garlic: 1 clove, minced
- Stock: 750ml – 1 liter
- Ikan bilis: 2 tbsp
- Pork liver: 50g, thinly sliced
- Minced pork: 100g, marinated with 1 tbsp fish sauce, 1 tsp sesame oil, white pepper
- Salt: a pinch
- Sesame oil: 1 tbsp
- Fish sauce: 2 tbsp
- Vermicelli: 3 bundles
- Boil egg and chicken breast fillet. Peel egg shell and shred chicken breasts. Set aside.
- Heat oil in wok. Saute garlic till fragrant.
- Add in stock and ikan bilis. Bring to a boil.
- Add in pork liver and minced pork to cook.
- Season with salt, sesame oil & fish sauce.
- Add in vermicelli to cook.
- Scoop into 3 serving bowls. Drizzle with sesame oil.
- Garnish with hardboiled egg and chicken breast meat to serve.
Vermicelli absorbs water like nobody’s business. As such, you may want to add in more water right from the start so that the soup does not dry up too quickly.
If not serving immediately, scoop noodles into serving bowls first and separate them from the soup so that they do not get too soggy.