Appears in
Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets

By Darra Goldstein

Published 2015

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East Asia embraces long and broad historical continuities and connections in the confectionery cultures of China, Japan, and Korea that remain strong today. Sweets made from glutinous rice, for instance, are found in all these countries, as well as in Southeast Asia, notably Thailand and the Philippines. One can also trace the adoption of early versions of Western confectionery throughout Asia, as the example of Portuguese egg threads (fios de ovos) illustrates. See portugal’s influence in asia. This sweet, made by drizzling egg yolks into sugar syrup to form noodle-like strands, was originally a preserved food for Portuguese ships’ captains and their officers embarking on voyages of discovery and trade. It was introduced to Japan in the sixteenth century, where it came to be known as egg noodles (keiran sōmen). See nanbangashi. Versions of this Portuguese recipe may be found in China, Thailand, and Cambodia.