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Pancit Bihon-Canton Guisado (Mixed Noodles)

Wednesday, October 22, 2014Enz F

I have a fond memory in one of my class during high school when a teacher once asked me to narrate a short story about one person whom I consider my greatest influence in life. I am not sure if I had nailed a very good answer as I was really caught off-guard during that impromptu class recitation and I was a very shy frail boy back then. Reminiscing that day today, if I will be the asked same question, I am certainly sure to give not only one but two answers. Two persons who helped and keep on helping me mold my character and whom I would love to consider my model guy figures – my eldest brother Kuya Lawrence and my late Dad.

Dad was a tough man. He always wanted to project himself as someone who strong, fierce and indomitable. Everyone looked up to him and he was very well-respected. Being a popular lawyer in our neighborhood, people would always run to him for help. He spoke firmly and his credibility was beyond questionable. Dad maybe harsh at times but he was sensitive to the needy. Little did he know that there were a lot of times I tried to peep into his room without him knowing. And many times also I had seen the person that he is at his most vulnerable. When a loved one passed away, especially if very dear to us, he would never let people see that he is in grief. During the wake, he would try to act as normal as possible. When he already thought no one was watching, he would write to express his sorrow and I saw him cry every time as if every stroke in his journal was inked by his own tears. My Dad, in reality, was a cry baby but he would prefer to keep his emotions. People might think he was a stone with no feelings at all. When my brothers and I earned our respective degrees and professional title, Dad was not very expressive. Yes, he was not the type of father who would kiss you on your graduation day and would shout to the world how proud he was for raising a son. I just learned from his kumpare (best friend) and some colleagues that at some point when he found out that I passed my much awaited board exam, my Dad asked someone to deliver them one whole roasted chicken and grilled liempo (pork belly). It was a celebration treat because another son made it to the professional list. I was so struck, sort of feeling frustrated. I was not able to even thank him when I had the chance, because just like him, I was not as expressive. This man who taught me to become firm may look tough on the outside but had so much tenderness deep within.

When father died, Kuya Lawrence took over the place of being a father figure to me and the other siblings. He is quite the opposite of Dad as he is very outspoken and he never conceals his real feelings. His mind speaks most of the time. Saying what he wanted to say is just him and he would laugh or cry whenever he feels so. Oftentimes, he would tend to be too inquisitive, reminding things over and over just like a broken cassette recorder. It is just you either get annoyed of him or he gets what he wanted, that is the only time that he would stop. But he is more than just an annoying brother to us. He is a lifetime companion and a bestfriend who would never leave you until death. For him, blood is really thicker than water. When we commit a mistake, he would never abandon us in the middle of nowhere and the more that he feels we need him, the more that he will stay to accompany us until the end of the battle. His hands are always arms-length ready, selflessly willing to lend his very last strength just to make sure everyone else will move forward and will be fine. And just like our Dad, he would prefer to be out of the limelight. He would choose to be either at the backstage assuring that things will work properly as planned or just behind the camera capturing every beautiful sceneries that are worth keeping.

What is celebration without the great-tasting Filipino dish that is pancit?
October is a celebration month of two of the most contradicting characters I have known in my life. Two opposite men who taught me how to be a man. On their birthday, I prepared and combined two of my most favorite noodles in one dish, Pancit Bihon and Pancit Canton Guisado.

How could you call it a celebration without the ever-present and great-tasting Filipino pancit? Derived from the Hokkien pian i sit (Chinese: 便ê食; Pe̍h-ōe-jī: piān-ê-si̍t or Chinese: 扁食; pinyin: biǎn shí) which means “conveniently cooked food,” pancit or pansit is the Filipino word for noodle dish. It was introduced to us by the Chinese settlers and has long since become an integral component of Filipino cuisine. It is usually served on special occasions like fiestas and birthdays. According to traditional beliefs, noodles symbolize long life and good health that is why it should not be cut short and should always be eaten during birthday celebration.

Panciteria is a local chain that specializes in pancit.
There are many kinds of Filipino noodle dish. To name a few, we have Pancit Palabok, Pancit Malabon, Pancit Lomi, Pancit Miki, Pancit Habhab, Pancit Luglog, Pancit Molo and of course, Pancit Canton and Pancit Bihon. Panciteria is how we call a restaurant or food chain that specializes in pancit.

Pancit bihon and canton mixed together is one of Pinoy’s favorite pancit combination and also my personal pick. Bihon is more popularly known as rice sticks or rice vermicelli. Its strand is transparent to white in color and thinner compared to canton. Canton, on the other hand, is thicker, yellowish in color and usually made from flour or egg. Lo mein or chow mein are other terms used to refer to canton noodles.

There are so many ways to cook pancit. The possibilites are endless!
There are so many ways to cook pancit guisado. You can add any type of meat that you want and other tasty ingredients such as chicken liver, shrimps, sausage, kikiam and squid balls among others. To create a healthier pancit, you can add your own medley of vegetables like cabbage, carrots, snow peas, string beans and mushrooms. The vegetables do not only add texture to the dish, they also make it more colorful and vibrant, and thus, more appetizing and more inviting to guests if served on parties. There are quite a number of ingredients to go here so make sure to have your knife and chopping board handy and be ready to dedicate more than half of your time from chopping. Just throw everything in the wok and in lesser time you would already be enjoying a whole platter of your mouthwatering pancit, a perfect partner for your puto (Filipino steamed flour cake). So there you have it. This is it! Pancit!
Pancit Bihon-Canton Guisado (Mixed Noodles)

Number of servings: 4 to 5

  • 250 grams dried canton (flour or egg noodles) 
  • 250 grams bihon (rice sticks) 
  • 1 large chicken breast, boiled and shredded 
  • 1 cup chicken liver 
  • 1 cup shrimps, peeled and deveined 
  • ½ cup squid balls, thinly sliced 
  • ½ cup kikiam, sliced 
  • ½ cup chorizo or Chinese sausage, diagonally sliced 
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced 
  • 1 medium-sized onion, finely chopped 
  • 1 carrot, julienned 
  • 1 cup sitsaro (snow peas) or Baguio beans (short string beans), trimmed 
  • 1 cup tengang daga (cloud ear mushroom), soaked in warm water and chopped 
  • ½ cup celery stalk, chopped 
  • a handful of celery leaves 
  • 1 cup cabbage, shredded 
  • ½ cup soy sauce 
  • 2 tbsps. oyster sauce 
  • 3-4 cups chicken or shrimp stock 
  • salt and pepper to taste 
  • calamansi lime for garnish 
  • 2 tbsps. cooking oil 

  1. In a large wok, heat the cooking oil over medium heat. Sauté the garlic and onion until fragrant. 
  2. Stir fry the chicken liver, chorizo, squid balls, kikiam and tengang daga. Add soy sauce and oyster sauce. Mix very well. 
  3. Add shrimp and parsley stalk, cook for two minutes. Add the shredded chicken and stock. Let it simmer for three minutes. Season with salt and pepper. 
  4. Add the carrots, bell pepper, and snow peas. Cook for about 2 minutes. 
  5. Using a large colander, strain all the ingredients and set aside. Leave the liquid in the wok. 
  6. Add the canton and bihon noodles. Cover the wok just until the noodles begin to wilt. Constantly mix to incorporate and to avoid scorching the noodles. Allow the noodles to absorb the liquid and then toss in the cabbage. 
  7. Return all the ingredients in the wok and mix until well blended. 
  8. Remove from heat and transfer on a large platter. Garnish with calamansi and celery leaves. Serve with steamed puto. Enjoy! 

  1. I used chicken in this particular recipe but you are free to use any type of meat as you wish. You can play with any available ingredients you can find in Asian stores nearest to you. You can choose from a variety of packed Asian finger foods like squid balls, fish balls, kikiam and crab sticks among others. 
  2. If you do not wish to mix up bihon and canton in one dish, you are free to choose from either of the two. Just do not forget to double the quantity if you are using just one type of noodle. 
  3. If avoiding meat, you may omit it and just boost your mushrooms. If cloud ear mushroom is not available, you may substitute it with shiitake and button mushrooms. 
  4. You can add more vegetables as you wish like cauliflower, lettuce, beans, parsley, chayote or green papaya. The possibilities are endless.

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