Today let’s talk about one of the best food the Filipino cuisine can offer: PANCIT. We do not deny the fact that this dish originated from China. It’s known part of our history that even before the Spaniards colonized the Philippines, Chinese traders have already been doing business with us. An article from Pepper.ph says that Pancit came from the Hokkien phrase “pian e sit” which means “something conveniently cooked.” It was probably eaten a lot by the early Chinese settlers or merchants because of how easy it is to prepare. The recipe changed over time as the ingredients that are available in their country differs from what we locally have. Now, there are many different variants of Pancit depending on which province you’re going to. Let’s take a look at all the delicious versions below:
When you mention Pancit Canton to any Filipino, the first thing that comes to mind will be the Lucky Me instant noodle version of it. We all grew up eating it. Sometimes with rice, other times stuffed inside a soft bun, and almost always paired with egg. But, the original Pancit canton is the one that takes more than 10 mins to prepare. It uses wheat noodles stir-fried with ingredients such as pork strips, shrimp, carrots, soy sauce, and more. Fun fact: did you know that a lot of Filipinos believe that eating Pancit during your birthday will make you live longer? Cook it on your next birthday by following our recipe here.
A Quezon province specialty, Pancit Habhab got its name from the way it is supposed to be eaten. Habhab means eating using your mouth. So, when you buy it from a vendor, you will not be given utensils to eat with. Instead, the dish is placed on a banana leaf which you can use to hold the Pancit while you eat it with your mouth. If that’s difficult to imagine, then think of the banana leaf as tissue paper, and Pancit as the pizza, you get it now? Great! Aside from that, it is cooked with a different kind of noodle called Miki Lucban. Drizzle it with a teaspoon of vinegar which surprisingly makes it taste so much better.
No visit in the Batangas province would be complete if you wouldn’t stop by a Lomi house. When you order a bowl, you can expect a fully loaded thick, eggy soup and noodles. It is usually topped with lumpiang Shanghai, quail eggs, chicharon, pork chop, and more depending on which local restaurant you go to. It’s definitely worth the 3-4 hour drive from Manila in case you happen to visit the Philippines.
Pancit Luglog / Pancit Malabon / Pancit Palabok
These three dishes all look the same, so it’s no surprise how a lot of Filipinos don’t even know the difference among them. Let’s start with Pancit Palabok as it is the easiest to distinguish. All of them have an orange sauce topped with slices of egg, shrimp, and squid, but only Palabok is made with thin rice noodles.
As with Pancit Luglog versus Pancit Malabon, the first difference is their origin. The former originated from the province of Pampangga while the latter hailed from Malabon City, part of Metro Manila. Moreover, they are prepared differently. Despite both of them having thick rice noodles, Pancit Luglog’s sauce is added separately. Pancit Malabon is mixed with the sauce while cooking. The former is also saucier compared to the latter, which is a bit dry.
Pancit Bihon Guisado
A lot like Pancit Canton, but this one is made with thin rice noodles called bihon. Guisa, which means to fry, is the keyword here. All the ingredients are sautéed in a pan, before adding soy sauce which gives the light brown color to the almost translucent, thin noodles. It also adds to the savory taste of this well-beloved dish. Here’s a more detailed recipe.
Which one is your favorite? Let us know in the comments below!