For most foreigners, neighboring countries of the Philippines are more known for their noodle recipes. Filipino noodle recipes seem to always be at the backburner when it comes to conversations regarding Filipino cuisine.
Other noodle recipes from other countries are more well known like Japan’s ramen, Thailand’s Pad Thai, and Vietnam’s Pho. So it may come as a surprise to some that the Philippines has a diverse range of different noodle recipes with some unique to certain regions, like many other categories of Filipino recipes.
Noodle dishes in the Philippines are commonly referred to as pancit. Chinese settlers have introduced their noodles to the Philippines long ago and it eventually evolved into different variants and created its own space in Philippine cuisine. Today, there’s a huge variety of pancit dishes across the archipelago with their unique tastes and features.
Fun fact: Did you know that the term pancit is derived from the Hokkien pian i sit which translates to convenient food?
There’s certainly a huge industry in the Philippines that sells packed and ready to cook noodles that become widely popular because of their convenience. But homemade pancit dishes still thriving today. Pancit dishes are typically served for meryenda or afternoon snacks and not as a fully my by itself. Also, with big celebrations like the Noche Buena needs to have at least one pancit dish on the table.
Pancit dishes can be eaten every day with carinderias all across the country typically have it at their menu for breakfast and during midafternoon. And depending on the weather and place in the Philippines, certain pancit recipes will be served.
With all that in mind, in no particular order, get ready to be familiar with some of the best Filipino pancit & noodle recipes:
1. Pancit Canton
The most common type of pancit in the Philippines, pancit canton is served throughout the whole country and uses egg noodles for the recipe. People usually buy egg noodles at the local market and stir fry it with multiple ingredients including smalls cuts of pork and vegetables like slices of carrots, cabbage, Baguio beans, and bell peppers.
The vegetables are first sauteed with chicken stock and oyster sauce to create the flavorful sauce and the pancit noodles are added later in the cooking process.
See also: Pancit Canton With Chicken Liver Recipe
2. Pancit Malabon
Originating from Malabon City, Metro Manila, it’s pretty obvious where pancit Malabon got its name from. Pancit malabon is a stir-fried noodle dish that uses a thicker variety of rice noodles. It’s very similar in appearance to other pancit dishes like pancit palabok or pancit luglug because of their striking yellow-orange color from the use of achuete (annatto seeds) in their recipes.
Other than its thicker rice noodles, pancit malabon can be differentiated from similar pancit dishes through its copious variety of seafood toppings. Fresh seafood is something Malabon city is famous for.
3. Pancit Mami
Pancit Mami has a very interesting origin story compared to the other pancit dishes on this list. This pancit dish wasn’t developed at a particular area but the actual creator is known. A Chinese immigrant in the Philippines named Ma Mon Luk began selling noodles with chicken broth in Tondo, Manila in 1920.
Luk originally named his creation gupit or cut when translated but later changed it to Ma mi which literally translates to Ma’s noodles. However, Luk did not trademark this name and similar noodle broths started being sold throughout Manila and eventually throughout the country, all called Pancit Mami.
Nowadays, pancit mami is still being sold as a bowl of noodles with chicken broth, but chicken strips are added and the dish is commonly eaten with siopao.
4. Pancit Palabok
Pancit palabok is probably one of the most popular pancit dishes on this list mainly because of its addition to the menu of the popular fast-food chain in the Philippines, called Jollibee.
This rice noodle dish is easily recognizable because of its signature bright yellow-orange sauce from the use of achuete (annatto seeds). It also has a splash of different toppings including baby shrimps, slices of boiled eggs, chicharon, spring onions, and pieces of smoked fish. It’s commonly served with a sprinkle of calamansi juice on top like many pancit dishes.
See also: Crispy Palabok with Lechon Recipe
5. Pancit Batchoy
Pancit Batchoy, also known as La Paz Batchoy originated from La Paz, Iloilo in the Visayas region. It’s a stunning bowl of a concoction that uses the same egg noodles as that of pancit mami and a delicious broth made from pork organs including the liver, spleen, kidney, and heart. Cuts of chicken, beef, or pork are added and toppings are typically made up of minced leeks and chicharon. A raw egg is also typically cracked on top just before serving.
6. Pancit Bihon
Probably the most popular pancit that uses the thinnest of rice noodles, pancit bihon, also known as bihon guisado, is cooked nationwide with different households priding their own bihon recipes to be the best. Pancit bihon is probably the most common pancit dish cooked in Filipino households.
The typical pancit bihon recipe uses soy sauce, citrus in the form of calamansi juice, fish sauce, and slices of different types of meat and vegetables.
See also: How to prepare delicious & easy Pancit Bihon
7. Pancit Kinalas
The second noodle soup on this list, pancit kinalas hailed from the Naga City, in Caramarines Sur of the region of Bicol. Kinalas is a Bicol term that comes from the verb kalas which means to remove the meat from the bone.
Pancit Kinalas also uses mami noodles that are separately prepared from the broth. Its delicious hot broth is said to have came from hours of boiling beef head until the meat is so tender that it’s falling off the bones, giving credence to its name.
The dish is typically served by vendors and is prepared by adding the noodles to the broth with some beef cuts, spices, an option of boiled egg, and a special brown sauce for seasoning.
See also: Top 10 Bicolano Foods That You Must Try
8. Pancit Chami
A native delicacy to Lucena City, Pancit Chami is a delicious pancit dish that uses thick miki noodles, a mixture of cuts of meat that includes prawns and pork, slices of vegetables, and a somewhat thick starchy gravy that differentiates it from other pancit recipes in the country. It’s typically eaten with a dense bread called pinagong.
This pancit dish is quite treasured in Lucena, so much so that their annual festival features pancit chami in cooking and eating competitions.
9. Pancit Lomi
The perfect pancit dish to eat during a cold rainy day, pancit lomi is a favorite for many Filipinos and often have it as their comfort food after a tiring day. Pancit Lomi uses thick egg noodles and is served in a bowl with a thick broth with a variety of different vegetables including carrots and cabbages. It’s also commonly served with fish balls. The province of Batangas is famous for its Batangas Lomi.
See also: Special Lomi Recipe
10. Pancit Cabagan
Originating from the province of Isabela, pancit cabagan is a delicious saucy variety of pancit canton. This pancit dish will no doubt fill the stomach with its festive portions of pork belly cuts and boiled quailed eggs.
Pancit Cabagan uses miki or egg noodles and is prepared separately from the sauce, and is stir-fried with its ingredients of pork belly and vegetables along the process. This pancit dish can be served with the separated or mixed in with the noodles.
11. Pancit Batil Patung
This next pancit dish is an experience in and of itself when served. Pancit Batil Patung or Pancit Taguegarao originated from the Tuguegarao City, Cagayan in Northern Luzon. Not many Filipinos know of this pancit dish outside Tuguegarao City.
It’s most noteworthy features are its use of minced carabeef or carabao beef (which is also where broth it uses came from), a thicker version of miki or egg noodles, and toppings of poached eggs which is also where its name came from. Batil pating literally means scrambled and placed on top.
Pancit batil patung is also served with a brown sauce that’s mixed with a beaten egg which can be eaten like soup or mixed with the pancit.
12. Pancit Sotanghon
Pancit sotanghon can either be prepared dried or as a noodle soup. Our pancit sotanghon recipe is more appropriate to serve during festivities so we’ll have to discuss the sotanghon soup at another article. Prepared with vermicelli noodles, pancit sotanghon uses the typical pancit recipe in the Philippines with slices of vegetables and meat on top.
It’s commonly identifiable by its glass like noodles, use of achuete (annatto seed), calamansi, slices of mushrooms, shrimps, and dark chicken meat.
See also: Manok na may Sotanghon Recipe
13. Bam-i (Pancit Bisaya)
Originated in the province of Cebu, Bam-i or Pancit Bisaya is most identifiable by its use of different types of noodles: rice and wheat or canton noodles. This pancit dish uses a dynamic mixture of shrimp juice, fish sauce, chicken broth, and soy sauce where the noodles are boiled long enough to absorb its flavors.
Topped with a variety of ingredients like mushrooms, slices of boiled eggs, cabbage, shrimp, and chicken, this pancit dish is a favorite in the region of Visayas and can easily be replicated from anywhere in the Philippines.
Read more: Top 10 Mouthwatering Visayan Foods and Delicacies
Raymund. (2020, May 1). Pancit Chami. Retrieved from: https://www.angsarap.net/2016/01/01/pancit-chami/
Raymund. (2020, May 12). Top 36 Filipino noodle recipes. Retrieved from: https://www.angsarap.net/2019/05/16/top-36-filipino-noodle-recipes/
Tee, S. (n.a.). 12 Best and unique pancit noodle dishes in the Philippines. Retrieved from: https://guidetothephilippines.ph/articles/history-culture/pancit-guide-philippines