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Pancit canton, the most popular type of pancit
Alternative namesPansít
Place of originPhilippines

Pancit (Tagalog pronunciation: [panˈsɪt] pan-SIT), also spelled pansít, is a general term referring to various traditional noodle dishes in Filipino cuisine. There are numerous types of pancit, often named based on the noodles used, method of cooking, place of origin, equal and constant diameter or the ingredients.[1][2][3] Most pancit dishes are characteristically served with calamansi, which adds a citrusy flavor profile.[1][4]

Noodles were introduced to the Philippines by Chinese immigrants over the centuries. They have been fully adopted and nativized into the local cuisine, even incorporating Spanish influences.[2][3] There are numerous regional types of pancit throughout the Philippines, usually differing on the available indigenous ingredients of an area. Unique variants do not use noodles at all, but instead substitute it with strips of coconut, young papaya, mung bean sprouts, bamboo shoots, or seaweed.[1]


Chino Pansitero, an illustration by José Honorato Lozano of a pancit vendor in the Philippines (c. 1847)

The term pancit (or the standardized but less common pansít) is derived from either the Philippine Hokkien terms 扁食 (Pe̍h-ōe-jī: pán-si̍t/pián-si̍t; lit. 'wonton (noodles)') or 便的食 (Pe̍h-ōe-jī: piân-ê-si̍t/pân-si̍t; lit. 'convenient food').[5] In the Filipino language, pansít is the generic word for noodles.[6] Different kinds of noodles can be found in Filipino supermarkets which can then be cooked at home. Noodle dishes are also standard fare in local restaurants, with establishments specializing in them called panciterias or pancitans.[1]

Pancit bihon guisado served with calamansi

Pancit has evolved in Filipino cuisine to combine both Chinese and Spanish techniques, as well as use local ingredients. Pancit is most commonly cooked by sautéing (guisado in Philippine Spanish) them with garlic, onions, vegetables (commonly carrots, green beans, cabbage, bell peppers, chayote, bottle gourd, patola, oyster mushrooms, and cauliflower, among others), and meat (including different kinds of Philippine longganisas) or seafood (including shrimp, fish, squid, crab, oysters, clams, and fish balls). Rarer ingredients include kamias, coconut milk, banana blossoms, mustard greens, okra, calabaza, tengang daga mushrooms, and shitake mushrooms.[1] The ingredients of the sauce varies by recipe. These ingredients include soy sauce (or salt), vinegar, fish sauce (patis), bagoong alamang (shrimp paste), taba ng talangka (crab fat), oyster sauce, bugnay wine, fermented soy bean paste, and various sweet sauces (including inihaw sauces).[1]

They can also be cooked in a broth or braised. Almost all pancit dishes are also uniquely served with sliced halves of calamansi, meant to be squeezed over the noodles (at the consumer's discretion) as the juice adds a tangy sourness. The most common other garnishings and condiments are flaked smoked fish (tinapa), fried garlic, crumbled pork cracklings (chicharon), labuyo chilis, shallots, ground black pepper, glutinous rice okoy, kinchay, peanuts, and sliced hard-boiled eggs. Some regions may also add sliced bilimbi fruits (kamias).[1][2][3][4]

Pancit dishes are generally named after the types of noodles used. The most commonly used noodles are canton (egg noodles, usually round), bihon (rice vermicelli), lomi (thick egg noodles), miki (soft yellow egg noodles, usually square in cross-section), misua or miswa (wheat vermicelli), palabok (yellow cornstarch noodles), sotanghon (glass noodles), and odong (yellow flour noodles). They can also be named after their method of cooking, their origin, and their main ingredients.[2][7][8]

Pancit is considered both an everyday staple and a comfort food. Pancit can be eaten alone, but they are also frequently eaten paired with white rice, bread (usually pandesal), and puto (steamed rice cakes).[1] Pancit dishes are commonly served during gatherings, events festivals, and religious activities, due to the ease in which they can be cooked in large quantities.[1] Pancit is also commonly served at birthday celebrations and Chinese restaurants nationwide often have "birthday noodles" listed on the menu, as the length of the noodles are believed to symbolize a long life. This belief originates from Chinese Filipino customs.[5]

Pancit dishes[edit]

Pancit palabok with calamansi
Pancit luglug
Pancit mami
  • Batchoy – a noodle soup made with pork offal, crushed pork cracklings, chicken stock, beef loin and round noodles. Its origins can be traced to the district of La Paz, Iloilo City in the Philippines
  • Maki mi – thick pork tenderloin soup originating from the Chinese-Filipino community of Binondo, Manila.
  • Pancit Abra – common in Northern Luzon, particularly in the province of Abra. A variant of Pancit Miki, in either soupy or fried version.
  • Pancit alanganin – originated from Bocaue, Bulacan. It is made similarly to pancit canton but has a soupy broth with added milk.[6]
  • Pancit Bam-I – also known as Pancit Bisaya. A specialty originating in Cebu, with bihon (rice) and canton (wheat) noodles sautéed together.
  • Pancit batchoy – Iloilo's stir-fried version of batchoy.
  • Pancit Bato – is local to the Bicol Region; especially the town of Bato in Camarines Sur. The noodles are slightly toasted while it's still dry.
  • Pancit bihon guisado – or simply pancit bihon (traditionally and historically also spelled as Spanish: bijon) is the type usually associated with the word "pancit", very thin rice noodles (rice vermicelli) fried with soy sauce some citrus, possibly with patís, and some variation of sliced meat and chopped vegetables. The exact bihon composition depends on someone's personal recipe but usually, Chinese sausage and cabbage are the basic relish.
  • Pancit Cabagan – served in Cabagan, Isabela and nearby towns. Stir-fried and served either dry with separate soup, or "wet" or soup and noodles combined.
  • Pancit canton – Filipino adaptation of lo mein and chow mein. Either in instant or stir-fried versions. It is named after the type of noodle used.[9]
  • Pancit canton Ilonggo
  • Pancit chami – from Lucena City, Quezon
  • Pancit choca (or Pancit pusít) – a black pancit from Cavite made with squid ink and bihon.
  • Pancit habhab – A Lucban, Quezon specialty. Served in banana leaves, eaten directly without utensils, the name is an onomatopoeia of eating it, like a pig snorts.
  • Hi-bol – A noodle soup dish originating from the Ilocos Region that is similar to a mami, but the distinguishing specialty ingredient is tripe from livestock. The name reportedly comes from “high voltage”.
  • Pancit kinalasNaga City, Camarines Sur's version of pancit, in soup or dried form. It consists of noodles garnished by scraped meat from pork or beef's head and other parts, enhanced with a thick deep-brown sauce coming from the brains of a cow or pig. The dish is further flavored with spices (sili and pepper) and served in hot broth. Boiled egg added is optional.
  • Pancit lanu – Found only along San Vicente Street in San Pedro, Laguna
  • Pancit lomi – Originally from Batangas, pancit lomi is usually sold in eateries across the province. With the mobility of the Filipinos; however, other people got wind of pancit lomi and now different lomihán (eateries serving lomi), panciterias, and carinderias (eateries serving a wider variety of viands with rice) offer it.
  • Pancit luglúg or Luglóg – a Kapampangan version of pancit palabok that is essentially the same dish. The only difference is that it uses thicker cornstarch noodles. The name comes from its traditional method of cooking, which uses a bamboo skimmer to submerge the noodles briefly in boiling water.
  • Pancit lucban – a type found in Lucban. The noodles are mixed in with generous toppings and ingredients.
  • Pancit Malabon – Thick rice noodles with different toppings that originated in Malabon. Early versions of this dish uses bamboo shoots.[1]
  • Pancit mami – round egg noodle soup
  • Pancit mayaman – found in Guinayangan, Quezon
  • Pancit miki – round egg noodles, or flat yellow noodles, or dusty white noodles either stir-fried or in soupy version.
  • Pancit míki-bíhon guisado – round egg noodles with bihon, a hybrid type of stir-fried noodle.
  • Pancit odong or Odong – Japanese-Visayan noodle dish from Mindanao and the Visayas that uses yellow round flour noodles called odong, canned sardines in tomato sauce, and vegetables (usually bottle gourd or patola).[8]
  • Pancit Olongapopancit miki prepared with sarsa (sauce) made of thickened chicken and pork broth, darkened with a little soy sauce.
  • Pancit moròng
  • Pancit palabok – uses thinner cornstarch noodles (sometimes substituted with bihon). It is topped with a shrimp-based sauce dyed bright orange with annatto seeds, shrimp, crushed or ground chicharrón, tinapa (smoked fish) flakes, hard-boiled eggs, and green onions.
  • Pancit pula – a variation of pancit miki from Batangas City
  • Pancit sotanghon – a cellophane noodle soup with a chicken broth base. It may include some kind of meat and vegetable. A typical sotanghon is made with calamansi, sliced straw mushrooms, slivered dark-meat chicken and green onion.
  • Pansit sabawPansit miki with soup
  • Pansit Tuguegarao or Batil Patong – not commonly known outside of Tuguegarao in the province of Cagayan in Northern Luzon, Philippines. It is an unusual noodle dish with a sauce based on soy and "cara-beef" beef broth. It is served with two piquant side dishes: a cup of egg-drop soup made with the same cara-beef broth; and a dish of chopped onions, vinegar, or calamansi, chili peppers and soy sauce. The noodles are usually wheat-based and are topped with ground cara-beef, pork liver, mung bean sprouts, and poached egg from whence the name batil patong, literally "scrambled and placed on top" is thought to be derived. Sometimes, other vegetables, crushed pork-rind cracklings or chorizo are also added on top. The soup was served separately.
  • Pansit sinanta – also from Tuguegarao, consists of flat egg noodles, bihon, clams and chicken, with broth colored with annatto and served with pinakufu, a variant of dango.
  • Pansit langlang – a historical noodle dish from Cavite which is said to be the favorite of José Rizal, to the point he mentioned the dish in his novel El Filibusterismo.

Non-noodle pancit[edit]

Other variants of pancit do not usually use noodles. They include:[1]

Instant pancit[edit]

Commercial instant noodle versions of pancit are also available, and are popular due to their affordability. The most common flavors are mami and pancit canton, but other Filipino-style noodles are also being adapted for the Philippine market.[1]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Mercado, Jame Monren T.; Andalecio, Avi Ben P. (2020). "Ysla de Panciteria: A Preliminary Study on the Culinary Heritage Significance of Pancit Using the Heritage Documentation Approach—the Case of Luzon Island, Philippines". Journal of Ethnic Foods. 7. Article 19. doi:10.1186/s42779-020-00057-1.
  2. ^ a b c d Davidson, Alan (2014). The Oxford Companion to Food (3rd ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press. p. 555. ISBN 978-0-19-104072-6.
  3. ^ a b c "The History of Pancit: The Beginnings and Becomings of this "Long Life" Noodle". Retrieved July 9, 2021.
  4. ^ a b Tee, Sharwin. "12 Best and Unique Pancit Noodle Dishes in the Philippines". Guide to the Philippines. Retrieved July 9, 2021.
  5. ^ a b Lumen, Nancy Reyes (January 2, 2005). "Republic of Pancit". Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism. Archived from the original on October 28, 2009. Retrieved October 27, 2009.
  6. ^ a b "Recipe: Pansit Alanganin". ABS-CBN News. October 6, 2014. Retrieved August 7, 2021.
  7. ^ Mendiola, Idge (May 6, 2018). "Here's how to Tell the Difference Among Those Asian Noodles at the Supermarket". Retrieved July 9, 2021.
  8. ^ a b Ramos, Ige (November 18, 2013). "Kumain at tumulong". Bandera. Retrieved January 18, 2022.
  9. ^ "Pancit Canton Recipe". Pinoy Recipe at Iba Pa. May 31, 2021.
  10. ^ Kare, Sarita (April 8, 2008). "Albay Folk Promote Seaweed 'Pansit'". ABS-CBN News. Retrieved September 1, 2021.
  11. ^ "Pancit Lomi Recipe (Lomi Batangas)". Recipe ni Juan. July 25, 2022.

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