There are only 3 Filipino noodle dishes that are being rotated every time there is a special occasion in my family back home in Manila; it’s either Filipino-style sweet spaghetti, pancit bihon or pancit canton. Big holidays such as Christmas and New Year’s Eve , we have all of these 3 dishes present on the buffet table. This was probably the reason why I grew up plump. But if I would be asked just to pick one, I’d gladly choose pancit canton which is my second favorite noodle dish, next to palabok.
It’s called canton because it is prepared Cantonese-style; that is, stir fried mixture of different meats, vegetables and egg noodles with soy sauce or other condiments. However, since time immemorial, this noodle dish became distinctly Filipino and totally tastes different from what you get in Chinese restaurants.
There’s a lot of ingredients in pancit canton but the cooking procedure is pretty straight-forward. My favorite part of this dish is the thick yellow noodles. It cooks easily, absorbs the sauce completely and just hearty.
Here’s how I make my canton. Hey, tell us how you make yours or if you use some special ingredient…
- 1 pound pancit canton noodles
- 3 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 1 pound pork belly, boiled and sliced small
- 6 Chinese sausage, thinly sliced
- 1 cup or 12 pieces raw shrimp, deveined and head-off
- 1 cup boiled and flaked chicken
- 1 shrimp/chicken bouillon
- 3 cups water
- ½ head of small napa cabbage, chopped
- 1/8 pound chicharo (snow peas)
- 2 medium carrots, peeled and julienned
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon fish sauce (patis)
- 2 tablespoon sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 3 stalks green onion, chopped (for garnishing)
Put oil in a large sauce pan on medium high heat. Saute garlic and onion, until onion becomes translucent. Add the Chinese sausage and boiled pork belly pieces and brown them for about 7 minutes. Add shrimp and cook until it turns orange, then add the cooked chicken. Cook for 3 more minutes.
Add water, soy sauce, patis, sesame oil, pepper and bouillon. Then bring to a quick boil. Lower heat to medium, the add carrots. After 2 minutes, add snow peas and cabbage . Cook for 1 minute. Using a hand mesh strainer, scoop out the meat and vegetables. Then, transfer to a separate bowl and set aside. The remaining liquid in the pan will be used for the noodles.
Once all the solid mixtures are scooped out, add the noodles to the liquid. Stir carefully until the noodles absorb all the liquid. This only takes about 3-4 minutes. Add a little water if too dry. Remove pan from heat and put back the meat and vegetables. Mix carefully. Sprinkle with chopped green onions.
PS: Madaling mapanis, ilagay sa ref ang tira at kainin agad. (This dish spoils quickly. Store left-over in a clean container and put in fridge immediately. Just re-heat and consume in a couple of days.)