Birthdays are incomplete without the noodles.
“Noodles are the symbol of longevity in Chinese culture. They are as much a part of Chinese birthday celebration as a birthday cake with lit candles in many countries, so that youngsters or seniors will have a bowl of long-Life noodle in the expectation of a healthy life,” says a website. This must was part of the recent birthday treat with friends at David’s Tea House at Cedar Peak along Mabini Street, Baguio City.
Birthday noodles in this restaurant is different from the preparations in others because this has a thick starchy sauce that accompanies rice noodles topped with sauteed cabbage, carrots, beans, mushrooms, and quail eggs with shrimps, pork, and liver. Literature says that the noodles should not be cut if one wants to fulfill the wish for long life and good health, which one could abide by. The mushrooms and quail eggs are equally symbolic of the good luck, prosperity, rebirth, energy, and safety which are wishes that one gets on natal days.
The spinach soup or polonchay is made with pureed Chinese spinach that has a richer flavor. This healthy soup that is mixed with separated egg whites and yolks is thickened with corn starch too. Bits of seafood are added for a chewy mixture. This is a filling soup on cold days in Baguio. Although spinach has some bitter and tart taste to it, this preparation is without its vegetable flavor. The colorful effect of the egg with the emerald green spinach helps to whet one’s appetite.
Pata tim is braised pork leg. There is something different in the taste of pork leg compared to the other parts of the pig. This dark meat has some sweet gummy scent that makes it special. Many restaurants have different preparations for this dish, but David’s Tea House has a faintly sweet sauce made with sesame oil that makes it unique. The blanched bok choy when eaten with the tender meat or smooth sauce makes for the crispy texture. Pan seared then stewed in low heat for a long time in soy sauce, makes this dish melt in your mouth. This is perhaps the main course during a small birthday celebration that is equivalent to the roast pork or lechon.
Minced pork with eggplant is another delight. Although, one would not recognize the eggplant in this food, it is a pleasant surprise to know it comes in long strips. This also comes in a thick sauce; the pork bits are good eaten with the strands of eggplant. Sesame is a predominant flavor with a hint of oyster sauce.
Salt and pepper squid was perhaps the only seafood ordered without the thick sauce. The slices of squid were dipped in a flour or corn starch batter that made the outer part crunchy. This was garnished with slices of chili peppers and salt and pepper. The charm of salt and freshly crushed peppercorns is indescribable. It must be the scent of pepper that makes this appealing. The sweet-sour vinegar dip with the chewy texture of the squid is a savory experience. It seems to make all the taste buds come to life.
Dimsum is popular at David’s Tea House too. I cannot resist chicken feet, which was to my surprise, never tried by the birthday girl. She was happy when she savored the salty sweet but tender skin that came off the feet. This was prepared with salted black beans that perked up the texture and flavor of the chicken slow stewed with star anise and soy sauce.
Here’s to birthdays with all the wishes of long life and good health incorporated in the food. You should try it with these food offerings at David’s Tea House.