At its core, pancit is a simple Filipino dish, consisting of noodles, savory sauce, vegetables, and meat or seafood. But while it is simple, pancit is certainly not boring—it can be made in a wide variety of ways to suit any palate or preference. Many of these variations are based on how people from different regions of the Philippines came to prepare the dish, as well as the different types of noodles you can include. Whether you prefer rice noodles or wheat noodles, pork or seafood, you can find a type of pancit that you enjoy. Interested in expanding your knowledge of international cuisine and learning how to make pancit? Find 14 of the best pancit recipes below.
Pancit is a traditional Filipino dish of meats, seafood, vegetables, and—most importantly—noodles. In fact, in English, pancit means noodles. However, within that broad definition, there are many types of pancit. Typically, the name of the pancit dish will refer to the type of noodles used or the region where the dish originated. Pancit bihon, for example, calls for rice vermicelli, while pancit canton uses wheat-based noodles that are similar to lo mein noodles. And pancit malabon refers to the city of Malabon, located on the coast of Metropolitan Manila.
In the Philippines, pancit is often served at celebratory events, such as birthdays and holidays, because noodles symbolize good health and a long life. With that in mind, whichever pancit recipe you make, be sure to avoid cutting your noodles—this would essentially represent cutting that long life short.
Each type of pancit is unique and delicious, and with a little experimentation, you can find the recipe you enjoy the most. Below, find a variety of 14 pancit recipes to try.
1. Pancit Canton
Many Filipino dishes, including pancit canton, are influenced by Chinese cuisine. Pancit canton is made with a type of noodle called flour sticks—similar to lo mein noodles. This recipe calls for the traditional triad of vegetables almost always used in pancit recipes: carrots, string beans, and cabbage. The vegetables are stir-fried with noodles, shrimp, and pork, along with ginger, garlic, and soy sauce to create a hearty, flavorful dish.
2. Pancit Bihon
Pancit bihon is made with bihon noodles, also known as rice vermicelli. This is one of the most common types of pancit because it contains simple ingredients: chicken, cabbage, carrots, snow peas, soy sauce, and chicken stock. This recipe comes together quickly and is perfect for any occasion, whether a weeknight dinner or a special event.
3. Pancit Palabok
Pancit palabok starts with a base of rice noodles. Then, it is smothered with smoky fish and seafood sauce and garnished with crushed fried pork rinds, scallions, and hard-boiled eggs. This recipe is fairly complex but worth it—in the end, you’ll have a hearty and savory dish that’s decidedly different from other pancit recipes.
4. Pancit Malabon
Pancit palabok and pancit malabon are nearly identical when it comes to the sauce recipe, but instead of thin rice noodles, pancit malabon calls for thick rice- or cornstarch-based noodles. And, when making pancit malabon, you typically toss the noodles with the sauce, rather than simply ladling the sauce over a nest of noodles. According to this recipe, you can also set your dish apart by topping it with squid, smoked fish flakes, oysters, mussels, and scallops.
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5. Pancit Molo
You may look at this image and think, Hey, that doesn’t look like pancit—and you’d be right. This pancit recipe is a different take on the traditional dish. Pancit molo is soup, made with dumplings and shredded chicken in a savory broth. Top it with toasted garlic, green onions, and sesame oil, and you have the perfect dish for a cold or rainy day.
6. Pancit Sotanghon
The star of this dish is sotanghon noodles, also commonly called cellophane noodles. These thin and translucent noodles are typically made with mung bean starch, and when cooked, they have a chewy, springy texture. Try this recipe, which combines the noodles with chicken, mushrooms, celery, carrots, and snow peas, for a quick and healthy lunch or dinner.
7. Chicken Pancit
Technically, you could use chicken in nearly any pancit recipe. After all, it’s the type of noodles that really define each variation of pancit. However, while some recipes can be quite complex, this recipe for chicken pancit calls for just a few ingredients and can be made in 25 minutes—the perfect dinner recipe for a busy weeknight.
8. Pancit Luglug
Pancit luglug is very similar to pancit palabok; however, pancit luglug contains cornstarch noodles instead of rice noodles. The noodles are smothered in a rich, orange-colored sauce and a variety of toppings, including ground pork, hard-boiled eggs, shrimp, green onions, and fried pork rinds. Follow this recipe to create a traditional pancit luglug.
9. Pancit Miki
Rather than rice or wheat noodles, pancit miki calls for egg noodles. These thick noodles make the perfect base for a variety of meats, seafood, and vegetables, but this particular recipe uses grilled pork belly to infuse a smokey flavor into the dish.
10. Vegetable Pancit
While pancit is commonly made with chicken, pork, and seafood, you can also find many vegetarian pancit recipes. This vegetarian pancit is easy to pull together and filled with cabbage, broccoli, and carrots—although you can customize it and include any additional vegetables you’d like!
11. Shrimp Pancit
Shrimp is a common ingredient in many pancit recipes, but this recipe features it front and center. The sauce, made from a combination of chicken stock, soy sauce, and fish sauce, provides a flavorful base, and then everyday vegetables—including carrots, onion, and cabbage—give the dish a healthy, hearty crunch. As a final touch, top it with calamansi or lime juice to balance out the salty, savory flavors.
12. Vegan Pancit
If you follow a vegan diet, you can still make and enjoy pancit! While many traditional pancit recipes call for fish sauce, this recipe contains instructions for a vegan fish sauce substitute made with dried shiitake mushrooms, liquid aminos, and soy sauce. Stir fry it with firm tofu, bihon noodles, and tons of vegetables, and you will create a fresh, hearty meal.
13. Pork Pancit
If you love pork, this pork pancit recipe, which calls for a number of different pork preparations, is for you. Shredded lechon (slow-roasted suckling pig) and chopped longanisa (Spanish pork sausage similar to chorizo) are stir fried with the noodles, while crispy pork skin and chicharrón (fried pork rinds) are used as a garnish on top. The variety of types and textures of pork come together in a deliciously savory and flavorful dish.
14. Beef Pancit
This beef pancit recipe features smoked beef roast, which adds an incredible depth of flavor to the dish. Start by smoking the roast at a low temperature (225℉) for three to four hours. Then, after allowing the cooked roast to rest, slice it and stir fry it with carrots, cabbage, rice vermicelli, and a sauce made from beef stock, soy sauce, sugar, and seasonings.
If you’re a fan of noodles, you will surely enjoy any of these pancit recipes. A simple but flavorful dish, pancit is the perfect addition to your regular meal rotation. Try several variations with different types of noodles, vegetables, and meats, choose your favorite, and enjoy one of the most popular dishes of Filipino cuisine.
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