happy new year! taiwanese rice vermicelli

Taiwanese Rice Vermicelli

It’s Lunar New Year.  I love New Year.  There are two holidays that will always make me think of home, family, and community:  Thanksgiving and Lunar New Years.  Whereas Thanksgiving was the day that my father was the main chef for the feast, Lunar New Years was when my Mom would have control, butcher cleaver waiving and all.  When I was young, I thought the actual holiday was more about food and having friends together, but as I got older I understood more of the power and importance of it.
I think, more than anything, I look at it as a way to have new beginnings and new opportunities.  Unlike it’s American/Western counterpart that has become more of a binge drinking event, Lunar New Year for any Asian community is more about getting rid of the bad stuff from the past year and really moving forward and changing things around.  Everything, from the food you eat, actions you take part in, and people you meet have a reason to help build a great and positive year.  One of the fun things about Lunar New Year is the types of food that you should eat to bring luck and prosperity for the following year.  Everything from fish to rice cake, there is a reason to eat it.  Be it the shape, how it moves, or the similarity in sounds of its name; it is eaten on this very special day.

One thing that brings long life for the year are dishes that have noodles.  The noodles represent long and full lives.  Usually served really long and uncut, the individual strands are eaten in one bite paying close attention to not bite the noodle or possibly cutting your life short.  Some people say you just have to serve the noodles long, but its mostly family tradition and preference.

My mom made this a lot when we had a lot of people over for a party.  It’s a traditional Taiwanese dish that can be made vegetarian or with meat, (pork….always pork…).  The noodles have many names:  rice noodle, rice stick, rice vermicelli.  Try to buy the Chinese kind, which is not like the Vietnamese kind.  When the noodles are prepared for shipment they are wound up and then dried.  Because it’s so thin, the strands are really long which make it perfect for long life.  Also, food will always have its meaning and symbolism, so don’t wait till next New Years to make these dishes.  Make them any time you want.  It never hurts for extra luck, happiness, fortitude, prosperity, and life.

Happy New Year!  It’s the year of the tiger!  Rawr!


¼ cup pork belly, sliced

¼ cup shitake, re-hydrated and sliced

½ cup green onion, minced

2 tbs soy sauce

1 tbs sugar

2-3 cups chinese cabbage (looks like a giant waxy cabbage, you can substitute with napa cabbage)

1 cup carrot, julienne

32 oz. dry rice vermicelli (2 packets)

1 cup chicken broth, or vegetable broth

2 tbs black vinegar

1-2 tbs canola oil

cilantro, minced (optional for garnish)


soak rice vermicelli in a big bowl of room temperature water and put to the side

stir fry pork, mushroom green onion, soy sauce, sugar, cabbage and vegetables until fully cooked and slightly tender on high with the oil in a wok

remove vegetables from wok and reserve

mix the noodles, chicken broth, and black vinegar in the same wok on high and stir until liquid is half way gone

add vegetables to the noodle and toss until liquid is completely absorbed

season to taste and garnish with cilantro

-serves 12 –


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