As one of the most popular noodle dishes in the Philippines, pancit canton is a house party regular. Thick and steamy noodles in a savory sauce mixed with a variety of sweet carrots, fresh string beans and cabbage, and fatty pork belly–all the makings of a delicious pancit canton dish.
This recipe is easy to follow and will give you a substantial amount of noodles that you can make during the week as a quick dinner or at your next celebration.
Why is it called pancit canton?
Pancit is one of the most popular Filipino dishes that you can find at family parties during big celebrations and holidays. I grew up eating pancit for every New Years as a way to bring a good long life. This tradition and pancit itself came from Chinese traders to the Philippines.
Pancit translates to “noodles” in English, and the Canton name is most likely derived from foods that are similar to Cantonese foods. The word pancit actually comes from the Hokkien word “pian e sit” (meaning dish that is conveniently cooked). While you would think that the name comes from Guangdong province (formerly Canton) in China, there is actually no historical reference to a similar pancit dish in this region.
These days, there are now MANY different types of pancit, like pancit bihon or pancit palabok. But pancit canton is one of the most popular and most similar to dishes like chow mein, yakisoba, or yaki udon.
What I love most about pancit canton are the thick, wheat noodles and also the ability to add a variety of ingredients and meat to this dish. This quick pancit canton recipe is great when you need to use vegetables or other ingredients you need to use up in your fridge.
- Blanch the vegetables before adding them into your pancit. Blanching the vegetables beforehand really helps in preventing overcooking vegetables.
- Slice the chicken and pork belly into thin strips. Smaller pieces of meat help with cooking them faster, but also give you a better eating experience. There’s a lot of fillings in these noodles and it’s helpful to have bite-sized pieces.
- Use a large pot or pan to cook the pancit. Since you throw in the dried wheat noodles directly into the meat and sauce, you need ample room in your pan or pot to mix everything around while you cook the noodles down. I made the mistake of having a small pot and had to do the noodles in batches, which caused some ingredients to overcook.
Serving and storing
Pancit canton is best served hot and steamy, fresh from the pan with optional calamansi or lime slices to add a bit of acidity. You can keep pancit canton for up to 5 days in the fridge too.
Pancit bihon vs pancit canton
Pancit bihon and pancit canton mainly differ by the type of noodles used in each dish. Pancit bihon uses thin rice noodles, whereas pancit canton uses thicker wheat noodles.
For another type of Filipino noodle dish, you can also try my very easy to follow Filipino spaghetti recipe.
Is pancit canton chow mein?
Pancit canton originated from chow mein, but they do have their differences. For example, pancit canton has various types of fillings like squid, quail eggs, and fish balls.
What is the english of pancit?
Pancit is translated to “noodles” in English.
Pancit Canton (Filipino Stir-Fried Noodles)
- 8 c filtered water for boiling
- filtered water and ice for ice bath
- 2 c (½ small) cabbage (½ small cabbage) finely shredded
- 1 c (5-7 pieces) string beans (5-7 string beans) ¼ inch pieces & sliced in a bias
- ¼ c (2-3 stems) chinese celery (2-3 pieces of celery) ¼ inch pieces & sliced in a bias
- 1 c (2 medium-sized) carrot (2 medium sized carrots) julienned
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 c yellow onion (½ medium onion) chopped
- 1 tbsp garlic (5 garlic cloves) minced
- ¼ lb pork belly sliced into ¼ inch strips
- ¼ lb shrimp peeled and deveined
- ¼ lb chicken thighs sliced into ¼ inch strips
- 14 oz chicken broth
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp oyster sauce
- 1 pack wheat flour noodles
- ¼ tsp black pepper
- calamansi or lime slices optional topping
- In a large pot, add the water and bring to a boil. Cook the vegetables using the following instructions:Cabbage: Cook for about 1 minute or until soft. Remove from the water and dunk into an ice bath for one minute, then transfer to a plate and set aside. String beans: Cook for about 2 minutes or until slightly soft. Remove from the water and dunk into an ice bath for one minute, then transfer to a plate and set aside. Chinese celery: Cook for about 2 minutes or until slightly soft and al dente. Remove from the water and dunk into an ice bath for one minute, then transfer to a plate and set aside. Carrots: Cook these last because it might stain your water. Cook for about 3 minutes or until slightly soft and al dente. Remove from the water and dunk into an ice bath for one minute, then transfer to a plate and set aside.
- In a large pan or a wok over medium high heat, add the vegetable oil and onions. Saute onions for about one minute, then add the garlic and saute for 30 seconds or until fragrant.
- Add the pork and chicken strips into the pan and cook for about 2 minutes or until the meat changes color to light brown.
- Add chicken broth, soy sauce, and oyster sauce into the pot and stir until all ingredients are combined. Cook for an additional 5 minutes to thicken the sauce and finish cooking the meat.
- Add the shrimp and cook until it turns pink and opaque, about one minute.
- Add the wheat noodles and cook for 1-2 minutes until the noodles are al dente.
- Add the blanched vegetables in the pan and stir them in to combine with the ingredients. Cook for an additional 1-2 minutes to warm the veggies.
- Serve the pancit canton immediately.