This longevity noodles recipe makes long life noodles, a traditional Chinese noodle dish made during Chinese New Year or Lunar New Year to bring longevity, good luck and prosperity – as long as you don’t cut the noodles! Longevity noodles recipe are also served on other special occasions, such as birthdays and anniversaries.
It’s Chinese New Year’s Eve here in Cambodia, in China, and in other countries with Chinese communities, such as Thailand, Singapore and Malaysia, and Lunar New Year in neighbouring Vietnam and East Asian countries that follow the lunisolar calendar, such as Korea, Japan and Taiwan.
We’ve been getting into the spirit of things here in Cambodia and cooking lucky dishes for Lunar New Year or Chinese New Year, as it’s called in Cambodia’s Chinese-Cambodian communities, so thought we’d share a few recipes with you, beginning with this longevity noodles recipe.
While Chinese New Year is not an official government holiday here in Cambodia, you wouldn’t know it. Chinese-Cambodians close their businesses for the day, homes are decorated in red bunting and lanterns, a generous table of offerings made to the Kitchen God are visible in people’s homes, and joss paper is burnt on the road outside.
As you’d expect from a culinary culture as rich as China’s, food plays an important part in Chinese New Year celebrations. The night before Chinese New Year, families will make dumplings together, and on New Year’s Eve the day is spent visiting family, particularly elderly relatives, to whom gifts of food are taken.
Among the abundant offerings laid out in the morning for the Kitchen God and ancestors to be enjoyed by the family on New Year’s Eve is ‘lucky food’, such as citrus fruit, bamboo soup, a whole chicken – the word for chicken sounds like ‘luck’ – and longevity noodles.
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Now let me tell you about this traditional longevity noodles recipe.
Longevity Noodles Recipe for Lunar New Year for Long Life, Good Luck and Prosperity
Considering the population of China and that of the Asian countries that celebrate Chinese New Year and Lunar New Year, the holiday is one of the largest celebrations in the world. It’s also one of the largest mass migrations, as so many Asians from across the region who have moved to cities for work or education, head home to towns and villages to spend the holiday with family.
The Chinese have always been great travellers – from the emissaries, merchants and seamen of ancient times to the young people who have travelled far to make their fortune and a better life to support their family back home. Non-Chinese have benefited from the rich culture those travellers have carried with them to their new homes, including their culinary culture.
I, for one, would have been all the poorer had I not have grown up in western Sydney, where every suburb had a Chinese restaurant or three, and dining out at our favourite was a Thursday post-late-night shopping ritual for my family when I was a child. No, it wasn’t all Russian food nor that nostalgic Australian food from the Seventies I’ve been sharing.
Chinese food was very much a part of my childhood, and Terence’s, thanks to those neighbourhood Chinese restaurants – the dumplings (dim sim!), the wantons, the soups, oh, the soups – short soup and long soup, egg drop soup, crab and corn soup, wonton soup – chow mein, chop suey, sweet and sour pork, steamed fish, roast duck, fried rice, and fried ice cream for dessert!
Okay, so I should say ‘Chinese-Australian’ restaurants, as the more we’ve learnt about Chinese cuisines during our time abroad, especially the last decade or so living in Asia, the more we’ve appreciated that dishes we thought were ‘authentic’ Chinese, aren’t necessarily considered so by Chinese in China.
But as we all now realise, ‘authenticity’ is such a loaded term, and while Chinese-Australian food – or Chinese-American, British-Chinese, Thai-Chinese or Chinese-Cambodian food – might not always resemble the food from ‘home’, it’s ‘authentic’ for its people, community and culture in their time and place. Which brings me back to this longevity noodles recipe.
Tips to Making this Longevity Noodles Recipe for Lunar New Year
While this longevity noodles recipe is considered to be a classic and fairly traditional in many Chinese communities around the world, here in Cambodia longevity noodles tend to be plain when presented as an offering, with little else other than scallions/spring onions, chives and finely sliced mushrooms.
But after the offerings, when it comes to consuming this lucky dish later on in the evening or late afternoon, anything goes as far as condiments are concerned, and individuals might douse fish sauce, chilli sauce or chilli oil onto the noodles.
In Australia, a longevity noodles recipe might have included the addition of lap cheong (Chinese sausage), perhaps even prawns, and maybe snow peas. The amount of soy sauces and oyster sauce are often more generous, resulting in a richer tasting and darker noodle.
This longevity noodles recipe will give you something in between.
This is a super easy recipe, so my only tip is not to break the noodles, not when you’re boiling them, stir-frying them or eating them. Longevity noodles are also called long life noodles but if you break the noodles you’ll get bad luck and might not live as long as you hoped!
We buy a Singapore brand of longevity noodles here in Siem Reap produced by Hup Huat Noodles, supposedly to a recipe dating to 1930.
This brand of longevity noodles isn’t available on Amazon, but I’m sure you’ll find them or a similar noodle in an Asian market, specialty Asian grocer or a supermarket with well-stocked Asian sections. If you don’t have any luck, ask for yi mein, yi mian, yee mein, yee fu or e-fu noodles. Good luck!
Longevity Noodles Recipe for Lunar New Year
- 200 g longevity noodles
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tbsp light soy sauce
- 1 tbsp dark soy
- 2 tbsp oyster sauce
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 5 Shiitake mushrooms thinly sliced
- 50 g bean sprouts blanched
- 60 g spring onions/scallions chopped into 5cm lengths
- 60 g chives chopped into 5cm lengths
- Bring a large pot of hot water to the boil, then boil the longevity noodles as per the directions on the packet – probably around 3-4 minutes; take care not to over-cook them, as they’ll go mushy when you fry them – then drain the noodles and set aside.
- Dissolve the sugar and salt in a tablespoon of boiling water, then combine with the sauces and sesame oil in a measuring jug.
- In a large, round-bottomed wok, heat the oil then stir-fry the mushrooms, chives and spring onions for two or three minutes.
- Transfer the noodles to the wok, along with the sauce mix, distributing evenly across the noodles, then stir-fry gently for a minute or two, just enough to combine everything well and ensure an even colour, taking care not to break the noodles. Add more sesame oil if dry or clumping.
- Serve immediately, garnishing with additional chives or spring onions/scallions.
Please do let us know in the comments below if you make this longevity noodles recipe as we’d love to know how it turns out for you.
Aussie here with a Hong Konger hubby who was a very happy chappy when I made these for the fam. Better than mum’s he said!!! And I have to agree! Thank you guys!
Lara Dunston says
Hi Beth, that’s what we love to hear! I’m so pleased. Thank you so much for taking the time to drop by and let us know, too. Greatly appreciated :)