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Chinese Long Life Noodles (E-Fu Noodles)

Growing up, my mom and grandmother would prepare long life noodles (also called E-Fu noodles or Yee Mein) for my birthday each year. It is a Chinese tradition to eat noodles on your birthday to wish for longevity. These noodles are sometimes called "Birthday Noodles".

As if eating with chopsticks was not challenging enough, you must not break the noodles when you are serving or eating the noodles. Severing the noodles will mean you are "cutting your life short". (Psst, don't be too worried if you break the noodles.)

Long life noodles are also served on Chinese New Year and at wedding banquets. It is always one of the most popular dishes served. So act fast, otherwise you will miss out on some very delicious noodles.

1 package (226 g/8 oz) deep fried noodles (yee mein/E-Fu noodles)
10 medium dried shitake mushrooms
250 ml reserved shitake mushroom soaking water
2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tbsp chicken bouillon (optional)
4 tbsp oyster sauce
4 tbsp dark soy sauce
2 tsp sugar
200 g bean sprouts

1. Place shitake mushrooms in a large bowl and add enough boiling hot water to cover. Soak the dried shitake mushrooms for an hour. Cover the bowl with a plate.

2. After an hour has passed, reserve the soaking water and wash the shitake mushrooms thoroughly under running water. Squeeze dry. Cut off the stems (optional for a nicer presentation).

3. Line a fine mesh sieve with a coffee filter. Place the sieve over a bowl and pour the mushroom soaking water into the sieve. Reserve liquid and discard coffee filter.

4. Bring a pot of water to a boil and cook the noodles according to package directions. Drain.

5. In a wok or large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil and saute the mushrooms over low heat for 8 minutes until cooked; flipping occasionally.

6. Mix reserved mushroom soaking water, chicken bouillon, oyster sauce, dark soy sauce and sugar in a bowl. Pour in the skillet and bring the mixture to a boil.

7. Next add in the noodles and carefully stir until the noodles are coated with the sauce. Add in the bean sprouts.

8. Simmer until most of the sauce has evaporated. Serve immediately.

Source: Slightly adapted from Cuisine Paradise

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