Wishing you a long life


Today is himself’s birthday and we celebrate it with a bowl of Japanese ramen.
Traditionally Chinese eat noodles during their birthday as the long noodles symbolise long life. During my wedding we had a bowl of sweet noodles with egg. Eggs represent new life. In the old days, when food was scarce and expensive, was the best source of protein, and the birthday person gets the egg. New couple are supposed to feed each other. Sweet life.

This is my favourite Japanese ramen place. Not many other people think so. We share one bowl of ramen = $17.50, which comes with free hard-boiled eggs. I am usually so full, I don’t go for it. Singapore’s Japanese ramen scene is sooo good, I don’t both eating ramen in Japan.

[The Japanese have tea soba eaten cold with tempura prawns and udon (fat white noodles).]

Tonkatsu Kazan Ramen
117 River Valley Road, Liang Court
Level 1 next to McDonalds

If you want to try to make ramen at home (secret is in the broth- 48 hours):

My mom made a pot of red bean soup with glutinous rice balls (tangyuan) to celebrate fullness and one family. Boil the rice balls separately.  In Northern China, rice balls are cooked with savory minced meat inside. Whereas in the South, its eaten plain, with sweet soup boiled with slices of ginger and brown sugar.

Here, as our ancestors hailed from Southern China we eat it sweet. The red bean soup is boiled with dried longan, sprinkled with sesame seed and topped with glutinous rice balls.  There’re only 3 ingredients. If you’re feeling luxurious, top with lotus seeds, barley, gingko, sweet potato, and you have 5 treasures = one meal rich in fibre.

[Tangyuan is traditionally eaten during the last day of Chinese New Year, YuanXiao, and DongChi Winter solstice. It was first invented to celebrate the end of Yuan dynasty or Yuanxiao (sounds like).]

Similar recipe, except that we mix ours with half glutinous rice flour and half tapioca rice flour for a more springy texture.



In the past, before birthday cakes, Chinese in Singapore would eat the longevity steamed buns, tinted with red with lotus bean paste. It represents the Shou tao, or longevity peach which ripens every 1000 years and grants immortality to whoever eats it. Nowadays, its only served when we celebrate birthdays of older folks, especially my mother in law, who doesn’t like the taste of butter. Hurray for keeping to traditions.

How do you celebrate your birthday? With any special food?

Longevity bun

Longevity bun

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