PHILIPPINES: Pancit for All Seasons

If there’s one dish staple that is present in every celebration, probably this is the ubiquitous and all-time favorite: pancit! Pancit is as crucial to each Filipino feast as rice is to every complete Filipino meal. I grew up loving this noodle dish over spaghetti, as I love the meat and veggies in it, can be consumed easily, and as a takeaway food. Best to eat while it’s piping hot or warm at least.

Pancit are noodles and the dishes made from them usually made with rice noodles, either stir-fried or with soup. Noodles were introduced into the Philippines early on by Chinese settlers in the archipelago, and over the centuries have been fully adopted into local cuisine, of which there are now numerous variants and types. The term pancit is derived from the Hokkien pian i sit (Chinese: 便伊食 piān-ê-si̍t or Chinese: 便食; pinyin: biàn shí) which literally means “convenient food.” Food establishments specializing in noodles are often referred to as panciterias. These eateries catered to masses, serving local pancit with ingredients readily available and easy to cook. As a favorite “takeout food”, different regions all over the Philippines developed their own versions of this noodle dish.

New Toho Food Center in Tomas Pinpin St., Binondo. Built in 1888 originally as Toho Antigua Panciteria by five Chinese immigrant friends, New Toho Antigua is currently the oldest restaurant in Manila—that If Travel Time host Susan Calo Medina is to be believed, Rizal even ate here while he studying in Intramuros. source

It continues to be enjoyed by generations of Filipinos in various forms, with sotanghon, bihon, canton, or miki as the most commonly used and consumed noodle variants. Pancit also goes by a lot of names, each one indicating either the dish’s color (pancit puti or white pancit), how it is eaten (pancit habhab), where it is sold (pancit istasyon), alleged inventor (pancit Henoy), or its place of origin (pancit Malabon).

As I travel across our country, I try to eat at local restaurants of that place, including pancit. There are so many yummy varieties of pancit or noodle dish in the Philippines and in this post, I will show the varieties I personally eaten and where to find them. If homemade is indicated, for sure that noodle dish is available on the place nearby, such as pancit bato that is popular in Bicol region. This post will be updated for every pancit variety eaten at a time.

  • Maki mi – thick pork tenderloin soup originating from the Chinese-Filipino community of Binondo, Manila.MANILA_MAKI MI
  • Pancit Abra – common in Northern Luzon particularly in the province of Abra. A variant of Pancit Miki, in either soupy or fried version.BANGUED_MIKIABRA
  • Pancit alanganin – Rare pancit dish found in Bulacan. Legends says the dish was created by accident, when someone accidentally spilled broth on the finished pancit noodles.
  • Pancit alahoy
  • Pancit Bam-I – also known as Pancit Bisaya. A specialty originating in Cebu, with bihon (rice) and canton (wheat) noodles sautéed together.
  • Pancit batchoy – Iloilo’s stir-fried version of batchoy.ILOILO CITY_BATCHOY
  • Pancit Bato – is local to the Bicol Region; especially the town of Bato in Camarines Sur. The noodles were a bit toasted when it was dried.GUINOBATAN_PANCIT BATO
  • Pancit bihon guisado – or simply pancit bihon (traditionally and historically also spelled as Spanish: bijon) is the type usually associated with the word “pancit“, very thin rice noodles fried with soy sauce some citrus, possibly with patis, and some variation of sliced meat and chopped vegetables. The exact bihon composition depends on someone’s personal recipe but usually, Chinese sausage and cabbage are the basic relish.TANAY_PANCIT BIHON
  • Pancit buko – coconut strips are substituted for noodlesBAGABAG_PANCIT BUKO
  • Pancit Cabagan – served in Cabagan, Isabela and nearby towns. Stir-fried and served either dry with separate soup, or “wet” or soup and noodles combined.CABAGAN_PANCIT CABAGAN
  • Pancit canton – Filipino adaptation of lo mein and chow mein. Either in instant or stir-fried versions.MANILA_PANCIT CANTON2MANILA_PANCIT CANTON
  • Pancit canton Ilonggo
  • Pancit chami (Lucena City, Quezon)LUCENA CITY_CHAMI
  • Pancit choca (or Pancit pusit) – a black pancit from Cavite made with squid ink and bihon.CAVITE CITY_PANCIT PUSIT
  • Pancit Efuven – Iloilo’s local version of linguine, like a cleaner pancit canton.ILOILO CITY_PANCIT
  • Pancit estacion – from Tanza, CaviteTRECE MARTIRES CITY_PANCIT ESTACION
  • Pancit habhab – Lucban, Quezon specialty. Served in banana leaves, eaten directly without utensils, the name is an onomatopoeia of eating it, like a pig snorts.LUCBAN_PANCIT
  • Pancit kilawin – a variety of pancit which originated in Rosario, Cavite. In lieu of pancit noodles, shredded unripe papaya fruit is used cooked with vinegar and fish. Usually partnered with dinuguan dish
  • Pancit kinalas – Naga City, Camarines Sur’s version of pancit in soup or dried form.43_NAGA CITY_KINALAS
  • Pancit langlang – A delicious combination of fresh miki and cellophane noodles with ground pork, flaked chicken, and tender-crisp vegetables from Imus, Cavite.
  • Pancit lomi – Originally from Batangas, pancit lomi is usually sold in eateries across the province. With the mobility of the Filipinos; however, other people got wind of pancit lomi and now you will see different lomihans (eateries with just lomi) whipping up their own pancit lomi, panciterias (eateries specializing in pancit) adding it in their menu, and carinderias (which are usually offering the usual viands and not pancit) starting to offer it alongside its other rice-based meals.LIPA CITY_LOMILEMERY_LOMI
  • Pancit luglug or Luglog – It uses a thicker noodle (canton noodles) than the traditional bihon of a pancit palabok and usually has less condiments and relish on top.NAVOTAS CITY_PANCIT LUGLOG
  • Pancit lucban – Lucban’s own product. The noodles were mixed in with generous toppings and ingredients.LUCBAN_PANCIT LUCBAN
  • Pancit Maciang – Pansit bihon with sunny-side up egg and proben or chicken proventriculus topped with banana ketchup from San Pedro City, Laguna.SAN PEDRO CITY_PANCIT MACIANG
  • Pancit Malabon – Thick rice noodles with different toppings. Known in Malabon City and anywhere else.MALABON CITY_PANCIT MALABON
  • Pancit mami – round egg noodles. Common in everywhere.MANILA_MAMI
  • Pancit Marilao – variant of pancit palabok. But unlike the classic pancit palabok, this is topped with okoy and slices of kamias to substitute calamansi.
  • Pancit miki – round egg noodles, or flat yellow noodles, or dusty white noodles either stir-fried or in soupy version.LAOAG CITY_PANCIT MIKI
  • Pancit míki-bíhon guisado – round egg noodles + bihon, a hybrid type of stir-fried noodle.MANILA_MIKI BIHON
  • Pancit Olongapo – Pancit Miki with sarsa sauce. Miki cooked in tradition added with sarsa, a thickened chicken and pork broth, darkened a little with soy sauce of choice
  • Pancit Molo – wonton soup with wonton wrappers added to the broth, serving as its “noodles”BACOLOD CITY_PANCIT MOLO
  • Pancit moròng
  • Pancit palabok – Pancit which was assembled like a spaghetti, with sauce on top of noodles, mixing it before eating.TAGUIG CITY_PANCIT PALABOK
  • Palabokano – variation of pancit palabok from La Union with home-made longganisa bits, leeks, egg, chicharon and vegetables.CITY OF SAN FERNANDO_PALABOKANO
  • Pancit pula – variation of pancit miki from Batangas City
  • Pancit puso – A Caviteñean style pansit made of combination of bihon and miki bihon cooked in achuete with small slices of pork and thinly sliced green beans, carrots and cabbage. Rather than calamansi as souring agent, pansit puso is served with thinly sliced puso ng saging (banana blossom) cooked in generous amount of vinegar.CAVITE CITY_PANCIT PUSO
  • Pancit Shanglan – Egg noodles stir-fried with Mongolian paste, vegetables, meat, shrimp, scrambled eggs and sesame toppings from Kalibo, Aklan.KALIBO_PANCIT SHANGLAN
  • Pancit Sotanghon – a cellophane noodle soup with a chicken broth base. It may include some kind of meat and vegetable. A typical sotanghon is made with calamansi, sliced straw mushrooms, slivered dark-meat chicken and green onion.
  • Pansit sabaw (Pansit miki with soup)
  • Pancit Tagapo – specialty in Brgy. Tagapo of Santa Rosa City, Laguna that uses chicharong bulaklak for ingredient.SANTA ROSA CITY_PANCIT TAGAPO
  • Pansit Tuguegarao or Batil Patung – not commonly known outside of Tuguegarao in the province of Cagayan in Northern Luzon, Philippines. It is an unusual noodle dish with a sauce based on soy and “cara-beef” beef broth. It is served with two piquant side dishes: a cup of egg-drop soup made with the same cara-beef broth; and a dish of chopped onions, vinegar or calamansi, chili peppers and soy sauce. The noodles are usually wheat-based and are topped with ground cara-beef, pork liver, mung bean sprouts, and poached egg from whence the name batil patong, literally “scrambled and placed on top” is thought to be derived. Sometimes, other vegetables, crushed pork-rind cracklings or chorizo are also added on top. Soup was served separately.TUGUEGARAO CITY_PANCIT BATIL PATUNG
  • Pansit sinanta – also from Tuguegarao, consists of flat egg noodles, bihon, clams and chicken, with broth colored with annatto and served with pinakufu, a variant of dango.

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