Most Pinoys are familiar with pancit (noodle) variants like bihon, sotanghon and palabok, which can be found in most Filipino restaurants. But traveling around the country, you sometimes come across specialties only found in certain provinces or towns. Here are five unique varieties of pancit that make filling pit stop meals for your road trips around Luzon. This ultimate Pinoy comfort food is just perfect for the rainy season!
Isabela’s Pancit Cabagan
Pancit Cabagan is a noodle dish that makes use of stir-fried fresh miki noodles and mixed vegetables topped with quail’s eggs, crispy lechon de carajay or fried pork bits and igado (an Ilocano pork liver stew). The pancit is named after the town of Cabagan in Isabela province from which it originated, but is also available in other provinces in the Cagayan Valley. The best place to try it would be Josie’s Panciteria & Restaurant in Cabagan, Isabela.
Cagayan’s Pancit Batil Patong
Pancit Batil Patong or Patung is a specialty of Tuguegarao and another pancit variant available throughout areas in the Cagayan Valley region. This type of pancit makes use of miki noodles and sauteed meat, which can be either pork, beef or carabeef. It’s also topped with bean sprouts, other vegetables, a fried egg and some chicharon bits. You get a side dish of fresh onions, vinegar, toyo and calamansi that you can mix into your pancit to your taste.
Aside from Ilocos empanada and bagnet, one of the local specialties you can try when visiting or passing through Ilocos Norte and Ilocos Sur is pancit miki. Ilocos-style Miki is a reddish-orange noodle soup with white miki noodles and a hard-boiled egg topped with crunchy chicharon bits. The miki broth gets its distinctive color from achuete or annatto, a coloring agent with a subtle flavor used in dishes like kare-kare and Pancit Malabon. You can sample these in street-side eateries like Mami Bel’s near the Batac Church and near the Vigan Plaza in Ilocos Sur.
Lucban’s Pancit Habhab
Lucban, a town in Quezon is a popular stopover for those doing road trips in South Luzon. While you’re there, you might as well try their famous Pancit Habhab, a noodle dish made of sauteed miki noodles and topped with veggies, slices of pork, and shelled shrimps. This dish is traditionally served in a plate or cone shaped from banana leaves and eaten without utensils for an authentic street-side dining experience.
Naga City’s Kinalas
If you’re driving through the Bicol Region, one local specialty you can try is Kinalas from Naga City. This homegrown noodle soup dish makes use of a broth made from cow or pig cheeks, which is boiled until the meats falls off or is easily flaked. The soupy meat and noodles dish is topped with green onion and gravy and served with calamansi and chili sauce on the side! If you’re feeling adventurous, you can ask the chef to add pork brains to your noodle soup.
These are just five of the numerous pancit variants around the Philippines. What’s your favorite local and regional pancit variety that we should look out for?