Pickles and Tea Adventures in Asian American Cooking

Pancit Parade

Fellow food blogger Marvin of Burnt Lumpia lamented that I made no mention of Filipino noodles in my article Oodles of Noodles. So I dedicate this blog post to him–Marvin, this one’s for you!

Now, no two Filipino families make pancit the same. In fact, there are several different types of pancit: pancit miki, pancit Malabon, pancit luglug, pancit sotanghon, etc. In the Filipino vernacular, pancit simply refers to noodles. 

And for fear of a Pinoy uprising, I’d like to clarify that I’m not saying this is the definitive way to make pancit. This recipe below is actually an amalgamation of two recipes, one from Aunty Neneng, and another from my friend Tisa Escobar’s mother.

Here are some other variations/tips on cooking this popular dish:

  • Instead of using both vermicelli and egg noodles, either or is fine too.
  • Boil the chicken first and then shred it, adding the cooked chicken in at the end. The stock can be used as below.
  • Instead of pre-cooking the noodles, after the meat and veggies have browned, add chicken stock followed by the uncooked noodles and cook them right in the wok.

  • Use any combination of meat or seafood you like: everything from shrimp to lap cheong (Chinese sausage).

  • Same goes for the vegetables–bean sprouts, long beans, snow peas, etc., all work well in pancit.

  • If using fresh egg noodles, blanching in boiling water and draining removes most of the salt and excess oil.

  • Not everyone uses toyomansi (see below) which is soy sauce combined with calamansi (also spelled kalamansi), a citrus fruit native to the Philippines. Read Marvin’s ode to the fruit here. You can use plain soy sauce and/or oyster sauce.


If you have some pancit tips, please drop me a comment!

Hybridized Pancit 

Time: 35 minutes
Makes: 6-8 servings

8 oz dried vermicelli (rice noodles) (1/2 package)


8 oz pancit canton noodles (you can also use Chinese egg noodles)


2 tablespoons vegetable oil (I like canola)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 small onion, chopped finely (about 1-1/2 cups)
1 pound chicken breast or thigh, cut into bite-sized pieces
1/4 cup toyomansi (if you don’t have toyomansi, use 1/2 cup soy sauce and squeeze in 1 to 2 tablespoons of lemon or lime juice to taste)
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/2 head small cabbage, shredded (about 4 cups)
2 large carrots, peeled and shredded (about 1-1/2-2 cups)
2 stalks celery, trimmed and chopped
2 stalks green onions, cut into ‘O’s (optional for garnish)

Soak rice noodles in warm water for 10-15 minutes until soft, then cut into 4-inch lengths. Place the egg noodles in a large heat-proof bowl. Pour boiling water to cover. Let stand 1 minute. Drain and set aside.

In a wok or large skillet, stir fry garlic and onions in oil until fragrant and onions are translucent, about 2 minutes, over medium-high heat. Add chicken and fry until no longer pink. Add toyomansi and soy sauce. Toss to coat chicken. Add vegetables and stir fry until cabbage wilts. 

Add noodles and keep stir frying until well coated and heated through. I know it looks very unprofessional but I recommend using the two-handed method to evenly toss the noodles like below.


Add water or stock a few tablespoons at a time if noodles are looking too dry. Test rice noodles for doneness. Scatter green onions for garnish and serve.


  • I think I just had this the other day! My fiancee brought home a noodle dish that one of his co-worker’s mother made. It sounds and looks exactly like this dish! It was delicious!

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  • Hi Pat. Thanks so much for this recipe! I’m so flattered that you would even think of me. I always see toyomansi in the Asian grocery store but have never tried it. I will definitely pick some up now that I have a pancit recipe to try. Thanks again!

  • Pat

    Tell me what you think, Marvin! RE toyomansi: I’ve been told you can use it to marinate everything from steak (eat it with grilled onions) to quail–marinate with garlic, then deepfry.

  • Pat

    Jenn, pancit and lumpia seem to be the two most common Filipino dishes introduced to folks outside the community. And they’re both yummy!

  • Leah

    Hi Pat — this is a very simple interpretation of miki-bihon. Miki is the yellow noodle and bihon, the rice noodle. But, indeed, there are many different ways of cooking pancit. Some more complex than others. Speaking of Asian grandmothers, mine owned an eatery during her time. One pancit specialty is called pancit lug-lug. If you would like this and some of her other recipes, handed down through my mom and aunts let me know.

  • Pat

    Hi Leah, I’d love to hear about your grandma and also some of her recipes. Do send me an email: pat@ediblewords.com. Thx!

  • If I remember correctly, the combination of bihon and miki is called bam-i.

  • Pat

    Thanks, Scientist! I’ll make a note of that. In Indonesia, bakmi (pronouced similarly) means meat noodles.

  • J.

    Pancit is one of my all time favourites…thank the heavens above that I have been blessed to have some wonderful Filipino friends to introduce me to it and bring care packages!

  • That was me, above, not logged in to WordPress. I have a friend’s pancit recipe posted here at WordPress, if you want to have a look!


  • Pat

    Hi J. I’ll definitely take a look at your recipe. It’s always fascinating to compare and contrast. No two homecooked recipes are the same!

  • Maureen

    My mom adds tomato wedges, krab, lemon wedges, and cilantro on the side. I love to pour on the Tobasco!

  • Andy

    This looks great, but in my experiemce in the Phillipines and working with Phillipinos I have never encountered pamcit that wasn’t grossly overcooked, with the noodles becoming exceptionally mushy. Anyone else have this experience?

    • Pat

      ha ha ha … you’re right, andy. i’ve had my share of mushy pancit too. but it can be tender and al dente if cooked properly. the key: don’t precook the noodles too long and cook over a strong fire!

  • Susan

    Hi Pat
    Love this dish and can you tell me the difference between this and Pancit Canton please?
    Thanks Sue

    • Pat

      Hi Sue,
      Pancit is the vernacular term for noodles in the Philippines. Pancit is also the name given to this fried noodle dish. Pancit Canton are the yellow noodles that are similar to Chinese noodles, hence its name. They are usually found dried at the store. This dish can be made with pancit miki (fresh egg noodles), pancit bihon (rice vermicelli), pancit canton, or any combination of the above. Hope that explains it!

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  • my grandmother must make this the most simple way possible lol rice noodles ,shrimp,garlic,and soy sauce untill i googled searched pancit recipe i had no idea it was made any other way lol i look forward to reading more of your posts

    • Pat

      Hi Amanda, There’s only one way pancit is made–mom’s or lola’s way and it’s also the yummiest! Please come back and visit.

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  • Thank you po, for the pingback!

    When I was in Barcelona last November, I tried a dish called seafood fideuàs… which was described as a paella with noodles instead of rice. And though it looked different, it tasted very, very similar to pancit palabok. Wild. 🙂

  • Lee

    My Hawaiian friend (Pancit is a popular dish there) says that the best way to make it is to use your nose…you’ll know when it’s perfect when it smells right. And I believe he’s right: comparing the taste of his to my copycat version (made with all the same ingredients, but without the olfactory finesse), there was just something missing in the way I cooked it. Still very good though 🙂

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  • Filed Under

    November 3, 2007
    Culture    Chinese    Filipino    
    • Posted By

      Born in Indonesia and raised in Singapore, Pat Tanumihardja writes about food, travel, and lifestyle through a multicultural lens. Pat especially enjoys covering topics that converge on food, history and culture and has been published in numerous international, national and regional publications. Her cookbook, The Asian Grandmothers Cookbook—Home Cooking from Asian American Kitchens is a treasury of family recipes and stories spanning over a dozen Asian cultures.

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