Birthday Cha Misua Recipe

A Year Older

Cha misua, a traditional light-but-festive Chinese food as the first meal of the day for someone who’s celebrating a birthday, is believed to symbolize long life.

It was my late mother-in-law who, without fail, prepared the birthday noodles whenever someone was turning a year older in the family. This morning, we made cha misua for the hubby and several platters more to share with his friends.

It’s not a simple dish to make, but it turned out fun because I helped Lynne color the eggs and arrange the toppings. The hubby says we should start accepting orders:) Hahah, aging with you. Happy birthday!

Birthday Misua Ingredients

Posting the recipe for everyone.

Ingredients per platter (good for 6 servings):

1 liter chicken stock
1 box misua
1 cup fresh shrimps
1/2 cup boiled shrimps, shelled and deveined (for garnishing)
1 cup kidney and liver, sliced
1 cup chicken breast
1/2 cup squid or special fish balls, sliced
2 cups Chinese cabbage
1 cup carrots, julienned
1 cup shiitake mushrooms (washed, soaked in hot water and sliced)
1/2  cup roasted peanuts
3 tbsps fried red onions
2 tbsps fresh garlic
10 pcs quail eggs
red food coloring


Boil chicken breast in water. Add salt to suit your taste. Shred chicken and set aside. Boil misua in the same chicken stock for two minutes, drain and set aside.

Saute garlic in 3 tbsps oil. Add fresh shrimps and cook until color turns pink. Follow with kidney and liver and stir. Throw in squid balls, chicken and mushrooms until cooked.  Stir in vegetables. Add one cup of used chicken stock and leave to boil. Season with salt.

Arrange cooked misua in platter and top with sauteed ingredients, roasted peanuts, cooked shrimps, colored quail eggs and fried red onions.

You may garnish with chopped spring onion leaves if desired.

Cha Misua
Photographed by Blauearth © Blauearth™ All Rights Reserved 2009-2014

Li Jun Xiong and Zeng Peng: The master and his apprentice

St. Paul Cathedral (Vigan) Communion Rail

Image courtesy of Mike Chuaunsu

Amidst a territorial dispute over an island in the South China Sea, renamed West Philippine Sea as of late, the friendship between the citizens of the Philippines and China, which dates back before the coming of Magellan, remains cordial. Notably, the communion rail in the St. Paul Cathedral in Vigan suggests the early Filipino-Chinese cultural connection. Our very own Filipino cuisine has been significantly influenced by the Chinese settlement during the Spanish Colonial Era, in the manner that we have adopted Spanish and American cuisines as components of the diverse Filipino food culture.

Remember the guest cook, Zeng Peng Lee, who shared authentic mainland Chinese recipes for the blog? The dad, the biggest influence on his culinary skills, followed him to Ilocos in a brief vacay. A native of Jin Jiang, Li Jun Xiong might have wanted to see for himself what makes Ilocos tick for his son.

Jun Xiong Lee and the apprenticeJun Xiong LeeBeef Ribs Stew

At a dinner prepared by Jun Xiong, his beef ribs stewed in ginger and spices and the plain-looking bones and tang kwa soup made us swoon. Interestingly, traditional Chinese food appears spartan, quite deceiving of the natural rich flavors of tried and tested combinations. He used local dried fish for the mouthwatering salted fish rice, which was cooked like kiam peng (akin to arroz a la Valenciana). The deep-fried spareribs were cooked the way Zeng Peng did cho ma.

Deep-Fried Spareribs

The Lees in Ilocos extended their hospitality to Jun Xiong by way of a send-off dinner at Fort Ilocandia’s Red 8, the best Chinese tea house in town. Because Chinese cooking is regionalistic, taste differs from country to country. In busy rotation was the Lazy Susan with 2-way Peking duck, seafood hot pot, salt and pepper spareribs and hot prawn salad.

Red 8 DinnerTsinoy Hospitality

Photographed by Blauearth © Blauearth™ All Rights Reserved 2009-2013