We share a long history with the Chinese people dating as far as the pre-colonial period. Their influence in our culture is evident in many facets of our daily life, mainly in our daily meals. Pancit is undeniably one of their recipes that left a mark on our palates and, over time, became a staple part of our menu. That being said, allow us to share with you how to cook the superb delicious dish.
Pancit Canton has always been present in any of our celebrations. Like many other noodles, we learned from the Chinese. It completes every dish on some occasions, especially in the Philippines, because as they say, if you want to live a long life, then eating noodles is the answer. Fiestas (festivals/feasts), weddings, graduations, birthdays, holidays, or even meriendas that call for a festive dish, and this featured dish will make an appearance, making it a quintessential part of our vibrant and joyful tradition.
With all these in mind, it is our joy to include in this recipe blog information and ways to cook this dish. And we also wrote down some of the variants that you can choose from. Hence, giving you the ideas on how you can make the best Pancit Canton recipe that will impress your families and friends.
What is Pancit Canton
Pancit Canton is our adaptation of a Chinese dish called chow mein (stir-fried noodles.) Instead of just using the traditional rice noodles or sotanghon, another noodle variant called Canton noodles or egg noodles that can be bought fresh or dried is utilized. It is then sauteed with pork and different vegetables, which makes it a full meal on its own. It indeed won the hearts of Filipinos due to its versatility and sumptuous flavors.
Our Filipino ancestors have been making Pansit even before the Spaniards came to our shore. We learned this dish from Chinese traders and settlers whom our forefathers are trading with since the pre-colonial era of the archipelago. The term pansit is a derivative of a Hokkien dialect term “pian e sit,” which means convenient food. And why wouldn’t it be called as such when the dish is already a complete meal on its own.
During those times, pansit is the Chinese traders’ baon or to-go food when transacting their businesses with our forefathers. The rice noodles commonly used today might have been an alternative to wheat from which the original noodles were made of. Rice noodles were easier to cook and easier to procure.
History also claims that this dish is originally the nation’s to-go food. Chinese merchants peddled it to Filipinos working in factories who have no time to go home just to eat lunch. The demand for convenient food without all the hassle of making it at home was met by these wise Chinese merchants. The necessity for having a quick to-go food gave birth to roadside eateries or the carinderias that line up the streets where factories or places businesses are built.
These needs, coupled with our ancestor’s ability to adapt and innovate from existing culinary treats, paved the way for the reputation of pansit as a festive choice for food to serve. And Pancit Canton will always be one of the favored variants of this timeless noodle dish. It is then safe to say that our nation, the Philippines, is a nation of rich cultural heritage. Just a taste of our local cuisines gives us a glimpse of our proud and colorful history, a boiling hotpot of cultural differences yet never losing our own identity but instead subverting those influences and making them our own. And to this day, one would have a hard time figuring out whether a dish is an authentic Filipino recipe or a foreign one who took on a Filipino adaptation. Pancit Canton is one of those, an international dish that took on a very Filipino twist and taste.
Ways to cook Pancit Canton
As this dish’s original name implies, This flavorful dish is the Filipino take on the classic Chinese Chow Mein. Stir-frying is the original method of achieving this savory noodle. However, we listed some of the ways that you can attempt to cook this savory dish.
Classic Stir-Fried Pancit Canton
As stated above, our featured dish is cooked by sauteing, a cooking method introduced by the Chinese people. Sautee the main ingredients first, followed by the vegetable and seasonings, then the broth. Noodles are then added until softened up; the sauce mixture slowly seeps into the noodle until only a small percentage of the sauce is visible.
Wok Fried Pancit Canton
A wok is a round-bottomed cooking pot originating from China and primarily used for cooking recipes that utilize high heat. In this method, the meat and vegetables are sauteed in quick succession, then a small amount of broth is used to make sure that ingredients are soaked, and later on, when the noodles are added, absorbed into the noodles. Can finish off this particular variety with cornstarch slurry with some soy sauce added to it, giving the dish a slightly thicker sauce and glossy finish.
Instant Pot Pancit Canton
This particular method deviates from the traditional style as it requires that the noodle be pre-cooked first before putting it in the pot. Sautee all the ingredients halfway through first, then mix in the broth. Add the noodle prepared last, then allow the sauce to be absorbed fully. Using this method will give you a saucier version of the featured dish, allowing you to savor the sauce as well.
Variations of Pancit Canton
At a glance, it seems that the only way of cooking this palatable dish can not deviate far from the necessary stir-frying, rendering the dish one-dimensional. However, the innovations that can be formulated for our featured chow is not limited at all. Just change the toppings or the main ingredients, and voila, you got yourself a twist on the dish. So listed below are some of the variants that you can try on and recreate at home.
Seafood Pancit Canton
Initially, the dish utilizes pork meat and innards such as pork liver as its main ingredient. But if you prefer using shrimps or scallops, especially if you’re near the sea or rivers, then you may do so as you please. Proceed with sauteing the vegetables first, then add your choice of seafood. Just make sure that you don’t overcook the seafood as they tend to get rubbery if cooked too much.
Add in the noodles at the last part till it soaks up all the ideals in the sauce. This delicious dish is a sure way of appreciating yummy recipes while being mindful of your health.
Vegan Pancit Canton
If you are the strict type of person who is watchful of what you’re eating and opted to go vegan, this dish’s variant is suited for you. Instead of using the traditional pork meat and innards, use tofu as a meat substitute. Do not worry about missing out on the dish’s savor because of the tofu, as it is known that this soybean product absorbs the flavor of whatever it’s been marinated or soaked.
Health buffs need not worry about being unable to savor this dish as this tasty dish assures you that you get the same savory perfect but minus the original of the featured dish’s greasy guilt.
Squid and Fish Ball Pancit Canton
No doubt that fish balls and squid balls are treats all by themselves, especially when dipped in vinegar with vast amounts of chopped red onions and chilies or the dark soy-sauce based sweet dip that we loved ever since we were kids. But use them as the main ingredient instead of meat, and you have yourself a leveled-up version of this humble sidewalk delicacies. This variant is advantageous if you are on a tight budget but still wish to have a suitable replacement for pork or chicken for your delicious dish.
Troubleshooting your Recipes
If in case you faltered and encountered some mishaps while cooking this dish, do not fret because we have listed down a few troubleshooting tips to fix the problem or, better yet, prevent them from happening.
If the sauce became a bit too salty, we would suggest that you add-in a tablespoon of sugar dissolved in a cup of water. The mild sweetness of the mixture is going to tone down the saltiness that might have been brought by too much soy sauce or seasoning.
Sprinkling calamansi is another solution that you can try to cut down on the saltiness.
- Too much broth/liquid
Dissolve a tablespoon of cornstarch in half a cup of water and simmer the dish. Keep adding the slurry, this time with half of the suggested measurements until the sauce is thickened. Thickening the sauce is a better alternative than scooping out some of the excess sauce that might affect the overall quality of the dish.
- Noodles too soggy
The reason for this problem might be overcooking. But do not be disheartened cause there is still hope for this dilemma, but I pray that you do not have to resort to this somewhat odd method. What we will be needing are pieces of ice cube and cold water.
Drain the noodles in a strainer and try to separate the ingredients from the noodles and set them aside. Place the ice cubes on top of the noodles after rinsing them in cold water. What it does is stop the cooking process and rinse off the starch from the noodles. Then heat off the sauce mixture that you have set aside and bring them to a boil and add the noodles back to the sauce. Adjust the taste by throwing in salt, pepper, and oyster sauce.
Trivia for your recipes
Every good food has impressive and beneficial facts as well. At times, they’re just fun and exciting, so we included them in this article also.
- Noodles were valued as a luxury in the olden times.
- Ramen, a famous Japanese noodle dish, is the Japanese word for lo mein, a Chinese noodle dish.
- There are more than 30 noodle dishes in the Philippines that differ depending on the region that they came from. Some are soup based, while others are stir-fried, and many of them employed a different type of noodle.
- Many health experts consider rice noodles as a healthier choice when cooking any noodle recipe as they are gluten-free, so people who have gluten-related ailments can still enjoy eating pancit and its other varieties so long as it is gluten-free.
- The liver, the primary ingredient of our featured recipe, is a nutrient powerhouse.
Despite its unappealing appearance, this organ meat contains a lot of nutrients and minerals needed by our body—Vitamin A for the eyes and the immune system. It is also rich in iron, which helps in carrying oxygen in our bodies.
Prevention is better than cure, and the same principle can be applied to cooking as well. So here are some tried and tested tips to avoid culinary errors in the future.
- Since noodles are the primary ingredient of this recipe, make sure that you only purchase the freshest and newly made batch.
- Pre-soak the noodles for about 2-3 minutes before cooking to avoid overcooking it in the sauce.
- To avoid soggy noodles, make sure that all the ingredients are thoroughly cooked before adding in the noodles. Remember that the noodles are made of starch, so it will absorb all the juices and broth that’s it’s been put into.
Other Recipes Perfect to Serve with
We all know that Pancit Canton is already a full meal on its own, but then again, certain foods can complement this noodle dish for an even more delightful experience.
- Pandesal or Monay ( Filipino Dinner Roll)
It might sound like a carbohydrate overload, but try asking any student, driver, or any carinderia-frequenter folks, and they will tell you that this bread goes well with our Pancit Canton.
- Fried Chicken and Lechon Kawali
The crunch of the deep-fried skin, and the tender and juicy meat of these fried treats complement the starch of the noodles—a typical Filipino combination, starch, and viand, who can ever go wrong with that.
- Siopao (Chinese Bao or Steamed Buns)
One does need to go far when looking for a great partner with our dish. What could be a more fitting partner than a hot meat bun. The mild sweetness of the bread itself and the savory taste of the meat filling goes well with the salty flavor profile of the Pancit Canton.
Wash down all that savory and oily goodness with a refreshing fizz from a glass of cold soft drink.
To sum it all up, Pancit Canton is clear evidence of our nation’s colorful history, shared with our Asian neighbors. A history as bright as this dish. With all the information we have shared with you, we are more than confident that you will be able to recreate this dish to share with family and friends, and also help you widen your culinary arsenal.
Best Pancit Canton Recipe
- 1 lb Canton Noodles
- 1 lb Sotanghon
- 1/2 cup Liver & Gizzard
- 1/2 cup Pork meat
- 1/2 tsp Black Pepper
- 1/4 cup Soy Sauce
- 1 pc Carrots sliced
- 1 pc Red Bell Pepper sliced
- 1 pc Chayote small size
- 1 lb Cabbage
- 8 pcs Baguio Beans
- 4 cups Water
- 4 cloves Garlic minced
- 1 pc Onion large size
- 2 tbsp Cooking Oil
- 8 pcs Calamansi
- In a medium size pot, soak sotanghon noodles with water. Set aside.
- Heat oil in a pan. Sauté garlic, onion, pork meat and gizzard. Sprinkle with black pepper.
- Add soy sauce and 2 cups of water. Cook for about 10 minutes.
- Then add the liver with carrots and chayote. Cook until it boils.
- Toss in Baguio beans, cabbage, and red bell pepper. Let it boil for 5 minutes.
- Then, take half amount of the cooked ingredients and transfer it into another pan. Pour 2 cups of water on it and cook until it boils.
- Get the soaked sotanghon noodles and drain the water. After draining, add the sotanghon noodles on the sauteed ingredients. Lower the heat then add the canton noodles. Cook for 10 minutes.
- Then, transfer it into a large flat pan or large bowl. Add on top the remaining half of the sauteed ingredients.
- Serve with Calamansi, eat with your family, friends, and loved ones, and enjoy it.