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

Chinese cho ma and clean pork and oyster noodle soup

Ilocos-Grown Pork

My guest cook from China, Lee Zeng Peng, speaks only Mandarin and I don’t speak his language, so the camera comes in handy to record details of the two recipes he is sharing with us.

First step was to find the meat he needed. I brought him to the newly opened Freddo in San Nicolas. Thank goodness, he found the pork! Btw, this local meat shop looks more like a bar, sparkling clean, with no meat visible unless you lean over and see what’s inside the black counter. The tagline reads: proudly Ilocos grown pork.


Next, we went to nearby Robinsons to get bok choy and scallions. He stopped by the seafood section to pick up some oysters.

Shopping for oysters

Here’s the first recipe. He calls it some other name which literally means clean soup. To make things easier, we’ll name it pork and oyster noodle soup. This is going to be the first time I’m having this soup with a rather uncommon combination.

What you’ll need: a bowl of oysters; chopped garlic and potato flour for the oysters; pig’s ham (thigh) and leg; salt, sugar and corn starch for the ham slices (cut into 1 1/2″ x 3/4 pieces); one whole crushed ginger; tung koi (Chinese herb); scallions and fresh noodles.

Clean Soup

How-to: Bring the leg chunks to boil in a potful of water. Add crushed ginger and tung koi (shown in photo 1, second row).  While waiting for the bone soup to simmer, strain oysters and add some chopped ginger. In a separate bowl, mix the pork slices (about 1/3  k) with a pinch of salt, a teaspoon of sugar and about 2 tbsps. of corn starch. When the bones are tender, add in bok choy. Sprinkle oysters with a tbsp. of potato flour, mix and throw in coated oysters a little at a time.  Do the same with the dredged pork. Add in caramelized chopped scallion heads. Serve soup in individual bowls and add noodles.

Voilà, the end result!

Clean Soup

The oysters gave the aromatic soup some depth and character. It was light, yet so tasty, with a well-balanced mingling of contrasting flavors.

Cho ma, the second pork recipe is less intricate. It’s the proportions that will  make the dish either a hit or a miss.

You will be needing: chopped garlic, about 3/4 k pork, soy sauce, an egg and salt and sugar to taste. (This dish has to be somewhat sweetish.) And lastly, potato flour for dredging.

Cho ma (Chinese-style breaded pork)

How-to: Add the garlic, egg, half a teaspoon of salt, more sugar and 1 and 1/2 tbsps. of soy sauce to the pork and mix well.  Sprinkle unto a plate 3 tbsps. of potato flour and coat pork one at a time. Heat oil on high heat and fry the dredged slices until golden brown. The result should be crispy on the outside and juicy and tender on the inside. Cut into smaller slices before serving.

Cho ma (Chinese-style breaded pork)

Cho ma is good as it it or with hot rice. The hubby likes his sandwiched in bread. Pan de sal to be precise. Kids will surely love this dish, promise.

Xie xie, Zeng!

Dragonfruit and Mooncake
Dragon fruit and mooncake season!

Photographed by Blauearth © Blauearth™ All Rights Reserved 2009-2012