Happy New Lunar Year to all! I have gone to a couple of Chinese New Year parties yesterday and I was initially bewildered with the what I was served when I got to the first party. Yes, you guessed it. They gave me a bowl of misua. I tell you dear reader, it felt very weird to be served misua in a party where there so much food overflowing. So I wanted to share some of the things I learned from those parties.
Top 3 things I learned about Misua:
- It is a special dish served during birthdays and other auspicious events among the Filipino-Chinese community and perhaps all other Chinese communities all over the world.
- It is made from wheat flour and not rice, as I originally thought.
- It can be cooked with soup or stir-fried like all other noodles.
The first one made me think twice. Misua is served on birthdays and auspicious occasions. Why? Because Misua is long, thus it is used to symbolize long life. Unlike most Filipino uses for Misua, it is not eaten only because there is nothing else available. On the contrary, it is a special noodle reserved for special occasions. In many Filipino households, Misua symbolizes poverty, because when a family begins eating Misua it usually means that the budget is very tight. Misua is relatively cheap, around P25-30 pesos per kilo, even less when you buy from a public market and not a grocery store. In many sari-sari stores, Misua is repacked and sold in small packs of around P5 each. They mix this with sardines and voila, instant ulam for a family of 4.
Misua is not always soupy, but the Filipino way of preparing it is mostly soupy. Many of us may be familiar with the Almondigas (Albondigas as the Spanish would say). It is Misua cooked in broth with Patola and meatballs, mostly pork than beef. It may be a surprise to many of us that in Chinese cuisine, Misua is also stir-fried and not always soupy. If you want to try stir-friend Misua, best to go to a restaurant that serves authentic Chinese cuisine. This coming Chinese New Year, I recommend that you try visiting Binondo church and dine at the surrounding eateries for a real authentic Misua experience.
Remember to make Misua come Chinese New Year, Feb 10. I know I will.