Fios de ovos
Foi thong in Thailand
Alternative namesAngel hair
Place of originPortugal
Main ingredientsEggs (chiefly yolks), sugar syrup
VariationsEncharcada; Doces de ovos

Fios de ovos (literally "egg threads", also known as "angel hair" in English) is a traditional Portuguese sweet food made of eggs (chiefly yolks), drawn into thin strands and boiled in sugar syrup. They can be found in Thai dessert and been traditional dish since 16th centuries, around 1679. They are a traditional element in Portuguese and Brazilian cuisine, both in desserts and as side dishes (only in Brazil).[1]

This dish is called Letria in Goa,[2] not to be confused with the vermicelli dessert made in Portugal.

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"),[3][better source needed] in Cambodia as Vawee,[4] in Malaysia as Jala mas ("golden net"),[5] in Thailand as Foi Thong (ฝอยทอง; "golden strands"),[6] and in the North Malabar region of Kerala, India as Muttamala (മുട്ടമാല; "egg lace").[7][better source needed]


Keiran somen in Fukuoka, Japan
Fios de ovos bought from a confectionery in Brazil

Like other egg-based Portuguese sweets, fios de ovos is believed to have been created by Portuguese nuns around the 14th or 15th century. 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.[8] The recipe was taken to Japan, Thailand and parts of India by Portuguese explorers between the 16th and 18th centuries.


In Brazilian cuisine, fios de ovos is used to make the Marta Rocha cake (named after Miss Brazil 1954, Martha Rocha), a layered cake made with alternating layers of vanilla and chocolate sponge, topped with whipped cream, fios de ovos and sometimes other toppings like maraschino cherries and nuts.[9][better source needed] It is used in a similar way as a decoration for torta de nozes, a layer cake made with walnut sponge filled with doce de ovos (an egg custard), finished with meringue topping and fios de ovos.[citation needed]


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. Fios de ovos was introduced from Portugal to Thailand by Maria Guyomar de Pinha,half Portuguese and Japanese who’s born and raised in Thailand. It is considered a fine dessert. The word Thong (gold) has an auspicious connotation to Thai people. The long stripe is also seen as symbolizing a long life and undying love.[10] Sometimes considered the Queen of Thai desserts.[11]


Keiran Somen is the name of fios de ovos in Japan. The dessert is one of the nanbangashi, which are desserts introduced from Portugal during the Nanban trade.[citation needed]


In Portugal and Brazil, fios de ovos are often used in fillings such as pão de rala, cake decorations and other desserts and accompaniments for sweet dishes. In Brazil, they are also used as accompaniments in savory dishes, often served with canned fruits alongside Christmas turkey.[12][13][better source needed] 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).[3][better source needed]

See also


  1. ^ TudoGostoso, "Doces à base de ovos". Accessed on April 27, 2023.
  2. ^ Menon, Smitha (2021-11-24). "Hidden waterfalls and vinyls: the Goa you need to meet". Condé Nast Traveller India. Retrieved 2022-12-10.
  3. ^ a b Kyoto Foodie, Wagashi: Angel Hair Keiran Somen (Fios de Ovos). Accessed on July 7, 2009.
  4. ^ Longteine De Monteiro (1998). The Elephant Walk Cookbook: Cambodian Cuisine from the Nationally Acclaimed Restaurant. Houghton Mifflin.
  5. ^ Mahsinah Abdullah, Sharifah (July 24, 2012). "It's sweet by any name". New Straits Times. Archived from the original on May 5, 2014.
  6. ^ Bangkok Post Educational Services, "Three tempting Thai delicacies". Accessed on October 29, 2011.
  7. ^ Muttamala Recipe, "[1]" Accessed on September 12, 2017
  8. ^ Marina Alves (2008), Dos deuses[permanent dead link]. Online article, Jornal da Pampulha, Belo Horizonte, accessed on July 5, 2009.
  9. ^ "6 Marta Rocha cake recipes for a classic birthday party". 28 April 2018.
  10. ^ Wandee Na- Songkhla (2012). Legendary thai dishes in three eras.. Accessed on September 14, 2016.
  11. ^ Thai Desserts, "Thai Food and Culture" Archived 2013-11-13 at the Wayback Machine. Accessed on September 14, 2016.
  12. ^ Porto Cultura, "Peru de Natal". Accessed on July 8, 2009.
  13. ^ Terra Culinária, "Peru de Natal" Archived 2008-12-21 at the Wayback Machine. Accessed on July 7, 2009.