|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 (only in Brazil).
This dish is called Letria in Goa, 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"),[better source needed] in Cambodia as Vawee, in Malaysia as Jala mas ("golden net"), in Thailand as Foi Thong (ฝอยทอง; "golden strands"), and in the North Malabar region of Kerala, India as Muttamala (മുട്ടമാല; "egg lace").[better source needed]
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. The recipe was probably taken to Japan and Thailand by Portuguese explorers between the 16th and 18th centuries.
In Brazilian cuisine, fios de ovos is used to make the bolo Marta Rocha (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.[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.
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 people. 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.
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.
In Portugal and Brazil, fios de ovos are often used in fillings, 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.[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).[better source needed]