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Mei-Mei's Lucky Birthday Noodles

In Mei-Mei's Lucky Birthday Noodles, we join an excited Mei-Mei and her adopted parents as they make a traditional Chinese treat—long noodles, symbolic of a long and happy life—to celebrate her sixth birthday. Through this delightful story about food and culture, we learn about the adoptive experience at its best—a lot of love and the sharing of roots, showing the many ways adopted children from all over the world can learn about the country they come from and share with others to form one big family.


This performance is based on the book, Mei-Mei's Lucky Birthday Noodles written by Shan-Shan Chen, illustrated by Heidi Goodman, and published by Tuttle Publishing. It has been adapted with original music and illustration for The Red Curtain Project.

Copyright © 2014 Shan Shan Chen Wallace; Illustrations copyright © 2014 Heidi Goodman.


Thresh and The Red Curtain Project are proud to partner with Tuttle, a Vermont-based publisher with a Japanese outpost. Tuttle has become a leader in producing English-language books about the arts, languages, and cultures of Asia. 

Behind Scenes MMLN

Behind the Scenes

Watch as Preeti takes us behind the scenes to describe her choreographic choices with dancer Marie Lloyd Paspe. Learn how the body is used to describe Mei-Mei and all the ingredients to make Chow Mein noodle dish. 

Shan Shan Chen's Lucky Noodle Recipe

Prep Time: 20 Minutes

Cook Time: 15 Minutes

1/2 lb. flank steak, thinly sliced across the grain
1/2 cup soy sauce, low-sodium soy can also be used
1 tablespoon sugar
8 fresh shitake mushrooms, thinly sliced
1/4 cup sliced green onions
1 cup chopped carrots
1 cup bean sprouts
1/2 cup bamboo shoots (canned and drained)
2 cups bok choy
1 cup beef stock
1/2 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 package 8 oz egg noodles
2 tablespoon vegetable oil


  1. Combine sliced beef, sugar, soy sauce, and sesame oil in a bowl, and mix well. Set aside, and marinate for 20 minutes.

  2. Dice the mushrooms, carrots, green onions, bamboo shoots, and bok choy. Soak, rinse, and drain the bean sprouts.

  3. Place 8 cups of water in a pot. Add egg noodles in boiling water for 6-8 minutes. Drain well and rinse with cold water.

  4. In a separate bowl mix together cornstarch and 1 tablespoon water.

  5. Drain the beef, setting the marinade aside.

  6. Heat the oil until it sizzles, then stir-fry the beef for 3-4 minutes till golden brown. Place cooked beef onto a plate.

  7. Pour the beef stock, beef marinade into the wok and mix well. Bring to a boil, and stir constantly.

  8. Add all the vegetables and simmer for 3 minutes. Add cornstarch mixture and simmer 2 minutes till sauce is thickened.

  9. Add noodles and stir, until all is hot.

​Serve warm and enjoy. Beef can be replaced with chicken, pork, shrimp or tofu.

Recipe MMLN

AAPI birthday celebrations around the world

In Mei-Mei's Lucky Birthday Noodles, we see Mei-Mei eating traditional Chinese Chow-Mein and receiving special red envelopes from her relatives! Learn about other AAPI birthday traditions below:

Collaborators (MMN)

Global Collaborators

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Wu Man, Composer

Pipa virtuoso and composer Wu Man is an ambassador of Chinese music, creating a new role for her lute-like instrument in both traditional and contemporary music. Brought up in the Pudong school of pipa playing, Wu Man became the first person to receive a master’s degree in pipa performance from the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing. She has appeared on more than 40 albums, including a Grammy winner with the Silkroad Ensemble ("Best World Music Album"), five additional Grammy nominees, and was named Musical America’s 2013 Instrumentalist of the Year.

Seema Shakti, Illustrator
New York City

Seema Shakti is a self-taught visual artist inspired by Mother Earth and the power of the divine feminine. According to Seema: "I’ve been creating since my childhood and my art practice is a nourishing ritual meditation and portal that deeply connects me to my ancestors, kundalini shakti, and the cosmos. Through the female form, I explore the cross-section between women, nature, and spirituality. My primary mediums are digital and watercolor. My upbringing as well as my Indo-Caribbean and South Asian heritage have a strong influence on my work. I was born, raised, and currently reside in New York City (Lenapehoking)."

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Learn Interactive partnered with RCP on Mei-Mei's Lucky Birthday Noodles. They deliver industry-leading manager development programs focused on key transitions in any individual's career.

“The School Library Project,” powered by Theatre Professionals, is a digital library, handpicking videos and content daily for children who want to learn or do something fun. Working across age groups, languages, and subjects, content is appropriate for all age groups.

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