Hello Everyone! So tonight, I’m sharing with you a dish that I think I over indulged in during my recent trip back to the Philippines earlier on the year in March/April 2015. We spent a ridiculous amount of lunches and meriendas in Buddy’s while we visited our relatives in the provincial City of Lucena. Anyway, the dish, known as Pancit Lucban or Habhab, is a version of pancit that originated in the Quezon province. This noodle dish may draw many resemblances to the traditional Pancit Canton, but there are some apparent differences. The main difference is all in the type of noodles used; Pancit Lucban/Habhab uses dried flour noodles known as miki Lucban which are not the same noodles used to make pancit canton. In addition, miki Lucban noodles that are made fresh also have a much softer texture than that of pancit canton.
Here’s a fun fact for you – well okay, it’s not really a fun fact but it is quite interesting and may be one of the reasons you’d probably go out and have a handful of Pancit Lucban. That’s right, a handful. This version of pancit is traditionally served over a piece of banana leaf and is eaten without any utensils. I know what you’re thinking, how exactly do you eat noodles without any utensils?! Well, imagine eating a sandwich. You will need to grab the banana leaf with the noodles in it and put it directly to you mouth. Don’t eat the banana leaf though! Below is a picture of my cousin and my Mom back in 2008 (I think) having some Pancit Lucban from a street food vendor during a dog show/walk in Lucena:
It’s probably not the most glamorous way to eat your noodles, but it may be an exciting experience especially to those who find this way of eating very foreign to them. Miki Lucban is unfortunately not commonly found in stores around Brunei, not even in the Filipino section. So instead, we used Pancit Canton which actually makes calling this dish Pancit Lucban a sin! *cheeky grin*
PREP TIME 10 MINS | COOKING TIME 45-50 MINS | SERVES 6-8
- 450g pancit canton (or miki Lucban if available)
- 250g tiger prawns, shelled and deveined
- 100g snow peas, topped and tailed
- 3-4 dried bay leaves
- 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 pcs thin sliced pork belly, cut into 1cm chunks
- 1 bunch gai lan (Chinese broccoli)
- 1 carrot, julienned
- 1 chicken crown, breasts removed and sliced, bone reserved
- 1 small red onion, diced
- 1/2 chayote, peeled and sliced
- 5 tbsp light soy sauce
- Ground salt and black pepper to taste
- Whole black peppercorns
- Add the reserved chicken bone, dried bay leaves, about a teaspoon or two of whole black peppercorns, and salt to a medium-sized pot filled with about 1.5L of hot/boiling water. Turn the heat up to high and leave to boil for about 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile heat a large frying pan over medium-high and add in the chunks of pork belly. Cook until browned. The oils released from the pork belly should be enough to sauté the garlic and cook the onions, but if needed, add a little bit more oil if there isn’t enough. Then add the minced garlic and sauté until fragrant and golden brown, about a minute, then followed by the diced onions. Cook until soft, about 2 minutes in total.
- Add in the sliced chicken breasts, and season with a bit of salt and ground black pepper and give it a good mix. Cook for about 5 minutes. Then add in the prawns, followed by the chayote, carrots, and snow peas. Mix well and leave to cook for a further 3-4 minutes. Lastly, add in the gai lan and cook until just slightly wilted. Once done, transfer to a bowl and set aside.
- In the same frying pan, add about half of the chicken stock to the pan together with the soy sauce, ground salt, and black pepper. Bring to a boil. Once boiling, add the canton noodles in and cook until all the liquid has evaporated (if the noodles are looking a bit dry, you may add more stock, a ladle at a time). Make sure that while cooking, you mix and untangle them periodically. Altogether this should take about 10-15 minutes. Halfway through, add in half of the cooked meat and vegetables to the noodles and mix well.
- Serve immediately topped with the extra meat and vegetables, and with calamansi, or alternatively a lemon wedge. Enjoy! Note: best served with a splash of vinegar!
– Ally xx