Why is noodle counted as an Asian food

The birthday noodle: the longer the noodle, the more blessed the future. The owners of Hamburg's oldest Chinese restaurant explain what this Chinese tradition is all about.

Not typically Italian: the Chinese also love noodles. The popular pasta in Asia comes in many shapes and colors - and has been for more than 4,000 years. The oldest traditional pasta recipe also dates from this time. And since almost everything in Far Eastern culture has a symbolic background, this can also be found in Asian pasta. The traditional birthday noodle Chang Shou Mian is of particular importance. It is a symbol of a long life, guarantees happiness and health. Mary-Ann and Dennis Kwong, who run the Dim Sum Haus, Hamburg's oldest Chinese restaurant, reveal what is hidden behind the myth and how a Chinese birthday is celebrated.

The longer the pasta, the more blessed the future: on important occasions such as birthdays, the pasta plays a very special role. In the land of smiles, traditional birthday cakes are not baked to celebrate the day, but pasta is eaten. “For many Chinese, a successful festival is only characterized by the traditional Chang Shou Mian birthday noodle. The special feature is its length, because it symbolizes a long, healthy life, ”summarizes Mary Ann Kwong, who together with her husband Dennis represents the Dim Sum House in Hamburg. “The pasta is usually served in a soup. Great caution is required when eating the dish: Under no circumstances should it be broken up, because tradition has it that this brings great misfortune. ”In the Middle Kingdom, traditional dishes are not always characterized by rice: pasta can be found in menus much more often than assumed. Especially the everyday cuisine of north and north-west China makes the hearts of all pasta lovers beat faster. While fresh, handmade noodles can only be found in upscale restaurants in Germany, they are served in countless, inexpensive, small restaurants in China. They are often fried, mixed with vegetables and soy sauce, or complete warm soups.

Chinese birthdays are a bit of a mystery for the rest of the world anyway. The puzzle starts with the date of birth. The “right” calendar plays a decisive role here. If the date is based on the Chinese lunar calendar, the birthday is shifted by a few days every year compared to the western Gregorian calendar. For this reason, older people in particular were subsequently assigned a birthday in the Gregorian calendar. “With all this confusion, it is very practical that all Chinese people automatically get a year older on New Year,” explains Dennis Kwong.

Always a year ahead: Another difference to the Occident is that Chinese babies are quite a bit ahead of their western offspring - in fact, a whole year of life. This is because, according to Chinese tradition, age is counted from the time of conception. As a result, when the children are born, they are already one year old.

But anyone who hopes for annual birthday events from then on is mistaken: according to traditional custom, extensive celebrations are only held at an advanced age. At 60, the first life cycle is completed and all important life tasks related to work and family should be fulfilled. This success is usually celebrated with a big party organized by family members and children. The birthday noodle as an integral part of the party should of course not be missing here and should bring further happiness for the future.