The country’s best ‘pancit’ places

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“Pancit canton”

It is a must for my badminton mate Jun Pineda to order and eat pancit sotanghon or canton just before playing. Sometimes he would order from motels, whose kitchens are well-known for great-tasting pancit.

Another badminton aficionado, Alma Cayco Curato, would bring Nanay’s Pancit Malabon, the best of its kind in my opinion. One catches the hint of calamansi and patis in this winner.

But I love any well-made pancit. The most outstanding pancit langlang can be found at Three Kids Lomi House in Lipa, Batangas. Made of four kinds of noodles (sotanghon, bihon, miki and canton), it is topped with chicharon and chips of pork adobo and spring onions. It is such a winner, I have created my own version at Wooden Spoon Rockwell for merienda.

The Ilocos region serves the soupy pancit specialty, miki. This is an orange-colored soup with locally made miki noodles, topped with chicharon and slivers of tender pork.

Before putting that piping-hot broth with the miki noodles, the cook must drizzle some spicy Ilocos vinegar over and hum away. Janet’s Miki in Batac, Ilocos Norte, makes the best version.

Iloilo has its own noodle broth, batchoy. It was supposed to have originated from a family that owned a meat shop; any leftover meat was tenderized and mixed with locally made noodles at La Paz market. Hence, La Paz Batchoy.

A rich, tasty broth was added, topped with some pork brain and, voila, this iconic noodle dish has become the signature dish of Iloilo. Netong’s at La Paz market makes the best version.

Isabela has pancit cabangan. Made in two versions, wet and guisado, this is also a winner. With a tiny squeeze of calamansi, it will send any pancit lover to ecstasy.

In Malabon, Nanay’s, as I’ve said, makes the best-tasting pancit Malabon. Always freshly made, the dish will last only a few hours because the sauce is made from a delicate fresh shrimp broth which easily spoils when left to air. Nanay’s is an institution in Malabon.

In Mandaluyong, Tonang’s makes delicious palabok, while Pasig has Ado’s Pancit, topped with ground and homemade chicharon.

A birthday party in the country is incomplete without a noodle dish, a symbol of long life.

Aling Lucy’s

That’s how I discovered my latest find, in the birthday celebration of a friend, Ren Meneses. On the table were barbecue, Amber’s Pancit Malabon (which I also love), and a simple-looking pancit canton in a bilao.

The taste blew my mind, I had three servings and forgot I was on a diet.

The pancit was covered in sliced fish balls, chunks of tender pork, sliced carrots, sliced cooked cabbage, liver, and Chinese chorizo. I can imagine the tastiest broth that was absorbed by this simple-looking pancit canton.

The noodles were dry and very tasty, the vegetables crunchy, the mix of liver pork and Chinese chorizo balanced. With a little squeeze of calamansi, the dish was deadly. This is by far the best pancit canton I’ve had.

Aling Lucy’s Panciteria, Real St. (beside Puregold Moonwalk), Alabang-Zapote Rd., Talon, Las Piñas; tel. 8082363, 8082369, 8082368
Follow the columnist at sandydaza.blogspot.com; Twitter @sandydaza

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