Traditional Comfort Food: Pancit (Philippines)

How Pancit became associated with Philippine Celebrations 

The hustle and bustle involved in the preparation of pancit, this beloved Filipino noodle dish at home invoke various memories of celebrations throughout a lifetime. Though pancit is available ready-made from local restaurants and panciterias in the Philippines, the preparation of the item or its purchase heralds an event of some significance. No matter the finances of the person in the Philippines, pancit is a staple for every special occasion that Filipinos deem worthy of celebration. 

Check out the list below and see if you have celebrated any of these occasions in your home: 


Common Occasions Celebrated in the Philippines

  • Birthdays
  • School Related Events (Graduations, Prom, Honors)
  • Post Competition Events
  • Feast Days of Patron Saints
  • Anniversaries
  • Christmas
  • Lent
  • Easter
  • Work-Related Events (Promotions, Raises)

If you have checked at least five of the options above and have encountered pancit in any form, you probably have a good idea as to why it is always present in these events. 


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I always remember the  flurry of activity associated with the preparation of pancit. Packages of rice noodles would be purchased from stores, ready to soak for a few hours. Bottles of soy and oyster sauce would be present in pushcarts to evoke the saltiness that enhances the taste of the noodles. There are the julienned vegetables to mix into the wok once the noodles have been added to ensure that everyone gets their veggies with every forkful.  Lastly, slices of meat have been added to make the meal more filling and reinforce the flavor of the broth used to cook the noodles in. 

This is just one memory of preparing pancit in a Filipino household,  and if you ask any other Filipino, they will surely have at least one happy pancit memory. But where did the Filipino’s love affair with this rice noodle dish originate from. Campfire Crates links the current generation with the heritage of our ancestors. 

The Long-Life of the Pancit in Philippine Tradition

The love affair of the Filipinos with Pancit stems from its origins as a dish brought over by Chinese traders to the Philippines. Pancit comes from the combination of the words “pan” which means to make or cook noodles, and “sit”  which refers to a meal. Pancit is a noodle dish that contains chopped and sliced meat and vegetables. It made its first appearance in the areas now known as Binondo and Tondo, the first areas of Chinese settlement in the Philippines. 

With the method of cooking pancit made available to Filipinos came the traditions that the Chinese associate with noodles. The Chinese associated the consumption of noodles with longevity thus began the association of pancit with wishes of long life. Tradition has it that a long life is granted if the one eating it does not cut the noodles as one consumes them. 

Because of the widespread popularity of pancit as a noodle dish and its ability to feed families and guests, each area in the country has its iteration of pancit. Check out the list below and see if your area is among the regions that have its specialized variation of pancit. 

Each Area of the Philippines has its own version

 Filipinos are ingenious when it comes to the use of available ingredients in their area. The idea of pancit has evolved beyond the stir-fried noodle dish brought to the Philippines by the Chinese.  

While Luzon, as the main island of the Philippines, lists down numerous versions of pancit, other varieties from the Visayas and Mindanao are also available and are just as delectable as their counterparts from Luzon. Have a look at this mini gallery below.


Check out the clickable list below and have a look at the most popular variations of pancit in the country. Campfire Crates helps families connect with their roots through kits that celebrate our Filipino heritage. 


Popular Regional Varieties of Pancit

Pancit Lusay - Laoag City, Ilocos Norte

This version of the pancit from Laoag City uses a thicker noodle called Miki. The miki noodles are cooked in broth, similar to the pancit. 


The noodles are tossed together with toppings such as kikiam, chicharron and glutinous rice fritters called okoy. These give the pancit dish a crunchy finish. 

Pancit Batil Patong - Tuguegarao City, Cagayan

This version of the pancit dish is made using fresh noodles, as opposed to dried rice noodles.  These noodles are stir-fried together with slices of carabao beef and bean sprouts and topped with a fried egg, the “patong” part of the dish. 

“Batil” refers to the fortified egg-drop soup served alongside the dish. 

Pancit Cabagan - Isabela Province

Like the pancit batil patong, this version uses freshly made noodles as the base of the dish. It is seasoned with hoisin, oyster and soy sauces and topped with chicharon and quail eggs. 

Stir-fried together with the noodles are pieces of pork belly and pork liver that fortify the meal. 

Pancit Luglug- Malabon City, Metro Manila

Also known as Pancit Malabon and a form of Pancit Palabok, these are thick dried rice noodles smothered in a sauce made with annatto seeds and shrimp stock. 

Traditional versions see this form of pancit topped with shellfish and seafood. Eggs and chicharron are also commonly found in this form of pancit. 

Pancit Bato - Bato, Camarines Sur

This version of pancit is seasoned with fermented fish paste and uses bok choy as a main vegetable. It is best eaten together with the spiced vinegar native to the Bicol Region. 

Pancit Molo - Iloilo City, Iloilo Province

This form of pancit contains noodles that have been cooked in chicken broth and fortified with finely chopped aromatics such as scallions and onions. 

The noodles are accompanied by wontons filled with a mixture of shrimp and pork fillings. 

Bam-I - Cebu Province

This form of pancit uses a mixture of egg noodles and sotanghon noodles- noodles made out of mung bean flour-stir-fried liberally with pieces of pork, chicken, seafood, vegetables and wood ear mushrooms. 

This form of pancit is said to have originated from Chinese settlers in Cebu Province. 


 

There are other varieties of pancit that highlight the Spanish and Chinese heritages of the country. For the many Filipinos living abroad, pancit continues to be part of the celebration, but adapted to local ingredients.  Campfire Crates invites you and your kids to keep learning more about your Filipino heritage by exploring Filipino Celebrations and activities help you bring a taste of home into your households. 

Campfire Crates also highlights other cultural celebrations from other places throughout the world. Feel free to visit the website for more details and to ensure you and your family celebrate your own history in the US. 


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