|Alternative names||Angel hair|
|Place of origin||Portugal|
|Main ingredients||Eggs (chiefly yolks), sugar syrup|
Angel hair, called in Portuguese Fios de ovos ("egg threads") is a traditional Portuguese sweet food made of eggs (chiefly yolks), drawn into thin strands and boiled in sugar syrup. They are a traditional element in Portuguese and Brazilian cuisine, both in desserts and as side dishes.
The preparation is also known in Spain as Huevo hilado ("spun egg"), in Japan as Keiran Somen (鶏卵素麺, "hen's egg noodle"), in Cambodia as Vawee, in Malaysia as Jala mas ("golden net"), and in Thailand as Foi Thong (ฝอยทอง; "golden strands"). In North Malabar Region of Kerala,India it is known as Muttamala (മുട്ടമാല; "egg strands").
Like other egg-based Portuguese sweets, fios de ovos is believed to have been created by Portuguese nuns around the 14th or 15th centuries. Laundry was a common service performed by convents and monasteries, and their use of egg whites for "starching" clothes created a large surplus of yolks. The recipe was probably taken to Japan and Thailand by Portuguese explorers between the 16th and 18th centuries.
Fios de ovos is called Foi Thong in Thailand. The name of the dessert comes from the observation that it has fine, long stripes and is shiny like silk. It is considered a fine dessert. The word Thong (gold) has an auspicious connotation to Thai poeple. The long stripe is also seen as symbolizing a long life and undying love. Fios de ovos was introduced from Portugal to Thailand by Maria Guyomar de Pinha, sometimes considered the Queen of Thai desserts. It is served as a dessert in propitious ceremonies.
Keiran Somen is the name of Fios De Ovos in Japan, where it was first made 342 years ago. The restaurant Matsuyariemon has produced their traditional signature Keiran Somen for 13 generations. The dessert is one of the nanbangashi, which are desserts introduced from Portugal in the Nanban trade, and the recipe has been an exhaustively guarded secret passed down from one generation to the next.
This Keiran Somen was cut into bite-sized pieces and wrapped with a line of seaweed, called Keiran Somen Tabane. The 12th generation leader of Matsuyariemon came up with the concept of the simple-to-eat dessert and beautiful form perfect for chanoyu (tea ceremony). Keiran Somen Tabane is an elegant sweet that is sure to make a good gift.
In Portugal and Brazil, fios-de-ovos are often used in fillings and decorations of cakes and other desserts, or as accompaniments for both sweet and savory dishes. They are often served with canned fruits alongside Christmas turkey in Brazil. In Japan, they are served in the form of dessert rolls (wagashi), and known as keiran sōmen (鶏卵素麺, egg yolk thin noodles).