Forget Cake: These Birthday Noodles Are Their Own Cause for Celebration
In Filipino culture, noodles are about as emblematic of birthday celebrations as cake. That's because—as your parents and their parents before them have already explained countless times—noodles represent long life. It's said that the longer the strand, the longer the life you wish to live, and because birthdays are meant to celebrate your years of life, they're the perfect occasions on which to slurp noodles whole, manners be damned.
Birthday noodles feature heavily in East Asian cultures, particularly in Chinese and Korean cultures. One particularly colorful account of the history of birthday noodles suggests that the tradition can be traced back to the Han Dynasty. In the emperor’s court, a long face was said to imply longevity, and because the Chinese words for "face" and "noodles" were closely related, it came to be understood that long noodles were a symbol of long life. Though mostly unverified, this has become a widely accepted version of its history, if not only a story that's fun to tell at birthday parties.
Today, birthday noodles—shorthand for any stir-fried noodle dish, really—are de rigueur for Chinese-themed restaurants, so it's easy to think you've tasted it all. But if you’re looking for something new to try, consider the birthday noodles of the restaurant Ho Lee Chinese Food. Part of The Abaca Group (which is best known for the Abaca Baking Company, Tavolata, Maya, and Phat Pho), Ho Lee is a Chinese-American concept that puts flavor first, flatly rejecting any pretensions of authenticity in favor of just being delicious. David Chang would be proud.
Judging the restaurant on its birthday noodles alone, it’s easy to see that Ho Lee is following the path of its older siblings, which is to say that it's en route to success. Ho Lee's birthday noodles are glistening with fat, and fat, as you know, is flavor. The noodles are laced with whole pieces of shrimp and bear the strong, irresistible aroma of bell peppers and soy sauce. (As soon as that hits you, you just know it’s going to be good.)
Its thick udon-style egg noodles are dense and full-bodied without being overly chewy—just the right degree of bite. Generous with proteins, every forkful is sure to have morsels of pork and chicken. Then there’s cabbage and spring onions that cut through the grease and add a bit of freshness to the dish. But anyone familiar with the Abaca Group's Asian offerings knows that the fried shallots are the real scene stealer here.
Pair Ho Lee's birthday noodles with a tall glass of cola and you'll be partying like it's your birthday. Which is just as well, because it may very well be your birthday, in which case, you're in for a treat.
Anyone can order Ho Lee's birthday noodles on Abaca Eats, which delivers to Metro Cebu, including Consolacion, Lapu-Lapu, Mandaue, and Talisay. But the deal is sweeter for Cebu-based Globe Platinum subscribers, who can expect their own Ho Lee Birthday Noodles for free on their birth month, compliments of Globe Platinum. A personalized code will be sent to their mobile for redemption through Thea, the Platinum Digital Assistant. From there, the noodles will be delivered straight to their doorstep. So if you're a Globe Platinum subscriber and you're celebrating your birthday soon, you may want to skip the cake.
Promo runs from April 17, 2021 to May 15, 2021 for this month's celebrants.