Regional Super Pancit Specials Trip with Pancitlove

Article by PancitLove
Photos by GoManila
Videos by ManilaEatUp

Though pancit is as Filipino as Boracay, John Lloyd Cruz and EDSA traffic, it wasn’t born in the Philippines. The greatest gift of the Chinese to mankind arrived on Philippine shores as early as the 12th century via lunchboxes of Chinese merchants who used to trade with Tondo, Manila residents. It became popular among locals because it was easy to cook, versatile, and paired well with other local dishes. Pancit can be the main meal, a side dish, the viand itself, or a carbs-on-carbs party between bread (genius!) as merienda. It can be eaten at any time of the day. It can be eaten as simply as seasoned noodles on a plate or as a fancy, complex dish with scores of ingredients.

From its foreign origins, pancit has become truly Filipino as we’ve incorporated our many regional flairs and variation. Now, almost every community in the country has a trademark pancit. They feature local ingredients, tastes, and techniques in cooking. They translate their own story and experiences into the simple noodle dish. Our extremely diverse culture made pancit a true Filipino dish and an integral foundation of our cuisine. @PancitLove is my humble attempt to capture all of those. A diary of my love for pancit and hopefully through this platform I can share more about pancit, the panciteria, and the stories behind them.   

The influx of workers from the provinces, the growing palate of the burgeoning middle class, and the ease of access to information and transportation are fueling a growing demand for regional food here in Metro Manila, and pancit is at the forefront. Now, people don’t have to go to their provinces just to have a taste of home. Here are some of the best regional pancit dishes that you can have here in Metro Manila you just have to endure the metro’s hellacious traffic.


To say that Tuguegaraoeños are obsessed with Batil Patung is a gross understatement. There is a panciteria at practically every street corner of the city. Eating batil patung is like taking a shower to them, they have it at least thrice a week during rainy days and as much as they want in a day during summer. It is comfort food at its finest.

Batil Patung is a miki, or fresh egg noodle, dish that gets its name from the manner eggs are incorporated into the noodles. The word batil came from the Spanish word batir (to beat), for the beaten egg in the ‘sauce’ that is served together with the dish, while patong, or patung in Ibanag, is to put on top of, for the poached egg that is placed on top of the pancit. The springy miki cooked in carabao bone broth is then topped with sautéed ground carabao meat, pork liver, crunchy mixed vegetables, and the occasional chorizo and carajay, a type of super crispy pork belly.  Tuguegaraoans have always been in love with pancit specifically miki guisado, but in the 70’s, Teyo’s Panciteria invented the pancit batil patung that we know today.   

CAGAYAN’S BEST Batil Patung capitalized on the hunger pangs of Tuguegaraoans in the metro in 2011, and while few can claim that they are the best, this small panciteria in Sampaloc, can stake that claim with a straight face.

Here’s a short video of our visit to CAGAYAN’S BEST:

SDRC Building, 1318 Gerardo Tuazon St, Sampaloc, Manila, Philippines


In the late 1880’s, a Chinese merchant named Sia Liang or “Dianga” fell in love with a Filipina and decided that he had found a home in Cabagan, Isabela. Together with his wife, they started a small noodle factory that made his miki recipe along with a panciteria that served his miki guisado. Little did he know that he had started what would become a rich pancit culture in northeast Luzon. Dianga’s original pancit Cabagan is made only from fresh miki sa lihiya (lye water), dried shrimp, bagoong alamang, soy sauce, and pork broth. It is served with sauce made from the broth the noodles were cooked in. Later versions of the dish added vegetables, igado (an Ilocano pork liver stew), carajay and hard-boiled quail eggs, resulting in today’s signature, extravagant presentation of the dish- a great symphony of flavors and textures bathed in a rich sauce.

The best pancit Cabagan in the metro is found in an 18-year-old panciteria in Blumentritt, Manila. You won’t miss it as they have this huge red sign that just says the dish, a feat of hubris worthy of their product. PANCIT CABANGAN SA BLUMENTRITT gets their noodles from Cabagan, Isabela fresh and cooks around 30 kilos of it every single day. The place is packed from lunch until dinner, I advise people to go there before or after those times, but if you are a veteran at lining up for milk tea and ramen places, you’ll be fine.

Here’s a short video of our visit to PANCIT CABAGAN SA BLUMENTRITT:

875 Blumentritt Road, Sampaloc, Manila, Philippines


My only real connection to Lucban, Quezon is its simple, handy but very delicious pancit habhab. Pancit habhab is made from miki which also goes by the name pancit Lucban. What makes this special is that wheat noodles are smoked and dried, giving it a smoky flavor to the dish, and lends it structural integrity so it retains its springiness and chewiness even when exposed to heat for extended periods of time. Pancit habhab is sold in almost every street corner of Lucban. It is an ideal fast food cooked in pork lard, with bits of sayote and served in a piece of banana leaf. It is doused with vinegar and then vigorously slurped down, or “habhab”-ed.

BUDDY’S RESTAURANT was a Quezon food institution long before they expanded operations to the metro and with their foray to the capital, they took pancit Lucban to a whole new level. Their version is made with miki sautéed with copious amounts of vegetables and lechon kawali. The dish is then topped with raw white onions for added crunch and flavor. It is served with vinegar like how they do it in Lucban. Sorry, no calamansi, folks. Stay classy. 

Buddy’s started as burger place in Lucban but its popularity grew when it embraced its Lucbanon and Quezonian roots and added Quezonian fare to their menu, carried by their flagship pancit.


Pancit Chami is a saucy dish of stir-fried thick miki noodles, meat, and vegetables. It’s also known as miki or lomi guisado in some areas of the country.  The dish’s name was derived from Chinese words cha (chaocal) which means stir-fry and mi (miantiao) which means noodles, but in Lucena, it is called by its whole name, pancit chami tamis-anghang to highlight Lucena City’s sweet and spicy version. 

Every year, Lucena City celebrates its love of their pancit by holding a Chami festival since 2006 as an additional attraction to the Pasayahan Festival held in May. The highlight of the festival is the Chami cooking contest where panciteros from all over the city compete for bragging rights of making the best pancit chami tamis-anghang in all of Lucena and practically, the nation.

People can enjoy Lucena’s pancit chami at BUDDY’S RESTAURANT branches around Metro Manila. Buddy’s significantly toned down the heat of their chami so both adult and kids can enjoy its savory sweet goodness. You could just ask the wait staff for a bowl of labuyo. 


My first exposure to Ilonggo cuisine was when my dad decided to bring the family to CHICKEN BACOLOD in Katipunan for Sunday lunch. Inasal hadn’t blown up yet then so the cuisine was novel to me. There were two items that stood out, pancit batchoy and pancit efuven guisado. Efuven is a staple in Ilonggo cuisine. It is thin, flat noodles made from high grade wheat flour. It looks like a linguine, has the texture of ramen noodles and tastes like canton. It is then cooked like chopsuey with noodles. The thick sauce with all its flavours cling to the pancit efuven like an obsessed ex-girlfriend.     

The information I got regarding the origins of pancit efuven is incomplete at best. I can only rely on the one I got from Nancy Lumen’s article Pancit Republic published on the Phlippine Center for Investigative Journalism journal. Lumen notes that efuven is derived from the name of the pancit maker. Efuven is weird name right? Maybe it’s a portmanteau of the kind of noodles and the name of the maker, e-fu is a kind of noodles, right? Maybe the name of the maker has a ‘ven’ in it, like Ven Diesel. Sounds about right.


Pancit pusit was originally pancit choca ensu tinta, Chavacano  for pancit in squid and ink, and is one of the most unique pancit dishes. The love-child of Caviteno, Basque-Mexican, and Chinese influences, made possible by the Manila-Acapulco Galleon Trade, it was developed in Cavite during the Spanish occupation. It is a pancit guisado dish made with sotanghon and squid or cuttlefish ink adobo. It is garnished with kinchay, green onions, toasted garlic, and labuyo.

It is ironic that traditional Caviteno cuisine, and Tagalog cuisine in general, is hard to find in Manila considering its proximity. Fortunately, restaurants like CASA DAZA in UP Town Center ensure Tagalog cuisine is represented in Metro Manila’s burgeoning food scene. The restaurant serves an excellent version of pancit pusit that they call Pancit Midnight. The blackness of the sotanghon is the midnight sky and the pusit and other toppings are the stars and constellation. Can you imagine it already?


If you are an unbelievably bright student of Philippine History, like me, ehem! you would know that Pancit Lang-lang is indelibly written in history through the food symbolism-filled chapter 25 of El Filibusterismo. The ingredients and presentation of the dish is thoroughly described that you can probably cook it based from the novel. It is not surprising because pancit lang-lang of Imus, Cavite, happens to be the favorite pancit of Gat Jose Rizal. In fact, he makes a detour to Imus when on a trip to and from Manila just to have a bowl of his favorite pancit. Pancit lang-lang is traditionally made with sotanghon, shrimp, chicken, mushrooms, and assorted vegetables. It is served like a soup and topped with thinly sliced omelette, and toasted garlic and onions.

CASA DAZA’s version of pancit lang-lang is not like that. Theirs is a combination of sotanghon, fresh miki and bihon as if flaunting their noodle expertise.  The noodles are cooked with chicken, shrimp, mushrooms, assorted vegetables and served guisado style. The aroma of the dish slaps you in the face with joy and happiness that even though Jose Rizal became the greatest of the Malay race at age 35 and here you are, older than him, and just doing pancit reviews, you can proudly say that Rizal never tasted this kind of pancit lang-lang, ever. 

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What You Need To Know About Chowking’s Sweet ‘n’ Sour Chicken

We have to admit. We’re not fans of sweet and sour. Sure, we’ll eat it but it’s not something we will crave. Maybe it’s because we haven’t found a dish that has the right balance of the sweet and sour flavors. Usually, the dishes — be it pork or fish, have more sourness than sweetness making the eating experience not too enjoyable.

That’s why when we learned that Chowking came out with their version of sweet and sour but this time with a playful twist of using fried chicken as the protein, we knew we had to try it.

Because we wanted to get the full Chowking Sweet ‘n’ Sour Chicken experience, we ordered them as meals with plain steamed white rice, with egg fried rice, and in lauriat style.

The minute our orders arrived, we couldn’t wait to dig in. Allow us to break down our Chowking Sweet ‘n’ Sour Chicken sensory experience:

SIGHT. The chicken chunks were just the right size and the portions were just the right amount. The Sweet ‘n’ Sour Chicken was covered with a red orange sauce that gave the chicken that sheen which made us salivate. The egg fried rice and even our favorite Chicharap added that extra factor in making the dish appetizing.

SMELL. There is nothing like the smell of freshly cooked food. Even with a blindfold, we’re pretty sure that we’ll be able to tell that it was a sweet and sour dish. We noticed that the Sweet ‘n’ Sour Chicken smelled so good that we already have an idea of how balanced the flavors are. There wasn’t a moment when any of the sweetness or the sourness became overpowering that it offended our noses. The aroma was enough to excite us to taste the dish.

HEARING. The moment our forks sunk into the chicken. There was that undeniable crunch that was music to our ears.

TOUCH. Yes, we did pick a few chicken chunks with our fingers. It was almost as if we’re eating the Sweet ‘n’ Sour Chicken bar chow style. Even though the meat was dredged and fried, we knew just by the touch that the batter was thin enough to let us get the real taste of the chicken.

And finally,

TASTE. As soon as we took a bite of the Sweet ‘n’ Sour Chicken, we instantly smiled. Just from the smell, we already knew that the sauce will be well-balanced and we were so glad we’re right. Even though the chicken was coated with the sauce, it was still crunchy on the outside and moist on the inside once we sunk our teeth into the meat. Eating them with the rice made the overall taste more enjoyable. We really liked it with the egg fried rice because it added that savory layer of flavor from the egg as well as other ingredients put into the rice. Before we knew it, we’re about 2 bites away from cleaning our plates.

We couldn’t believe we’re saying this — Chowking Sweet ‘n’ Sour Chicken completely changed our minds about sweet and sour. It’s definitely a flavor that is worth something to explore more about. As of this writing, we have already been to Chowking three times to get their Sweet ‘n’ Sour Chicken (and Chicharap).

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YES, Tokyo Tokyo’s Cheesy Beef Ramen is One Perfect Combination

Classic dishes with classic flavors are there for a reason. They exist to remind us of people’s culinary ingenuity in bringing ingredients together using certain cooking styles as well as showcase the rich culture of a specific place. However, breathing new life into classic dishes by injecting innovation is a sign of people’s continuous strive for creativity and the intention to ignite consumers’ interest in food. Classic or otherwise, one thing’s for sure — we always welcome good food.

On the subject of something new, Tokyo Tokyo just came out with their Cheesy Beef Ramen. One would think beef and cheese in a ramen is an unusual pair. Allow us to tell you 3 reasons why it’s one perfect combination.

1. Cheese makes everything tastier, lovelier, and creamier

There are 2 types of cheese in every Cheesy Beef Ramen bowl. There’s the spicy cheese sauce mixed with the tonkotsu broth and the cheese slice on top of the noodles. The sharp flavor of the cheese slice and the heat brought by the spicy cheese sauce are enough to make a cheese lover smile and nod in satisfaction.

2. Simple and straightforward ingredients with flavors in perfect harmony

You’d often read and hear the quote “less is more”. It’s quite true with Tokyo Tokyo’s Cheesy Beef Ramen. Those firm noodles swimming comfortably in hot tonkotsu broth mixed with spicy cheese sauce topped with beef misono, cheese slice, nitamago, shredded cabbage, scallions, and nori all go together flavorwise as if they have always been that way.

3. Perfect to eat with your perfect person

Because good food is always best to experience with your favorite people.

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9 Dishes From Thai BBQ That Made Us Experience Authentic Thai Cuisine

Living in the Philippines means that we’re near other Southeast Asian countries which include Thailand among others. With Thailand being close by, we share the same topography that can translate to growing crops and produce that may be similar or within the family. That’s why when you explore Thai cuisine, you will discover that there are dishes that almost resemble some well-known Filipino fares.

Speaking of Thailand, we’re slated to go to Bangkok a few months from now and planning our itinerary had us craving for authentic Thai food. There are quite a number of good restaurants in the Philippines serving Thai food but if you’re after the genuine Thai cuisine experience, just look for Thai SELECT.

Thai SELECT is a seal of approval granted to Thai restaurants as well as Thai food products around the world that meet very strict standards and criteria of quality and authenticity. Launched by the Royal Thai Government and implemented by the Department of International Trade Promotion Ministry of Commerce, Thai SELECT’s aim is to encourage Thai restaurateurs and food producers to raise their value of excellence while maintaining the authenticity of the Thai food they offer. A special Thai SELECT logo is issued to restaurants that got the quality check mark ensuring diners the experience of authentic Thai flavors, atmosphere, and hospitality.

Since we’re made aware of Thai SELECT, we’re all smiles when we learned that Thai BBQ Original Restaurant in Shangri-La Plaza in Mandaluyong City has been awarded a seal of approval! Soon enough, we found ourselves sitting comfortably in their dining area, excitedly going through their menu.

While we were busy checking out the list of delicious items they offer, we asked their restaurant manager for recommendations. We were surprised that even their head chef suggested dishes that we should try. Here are the 9 dishes that made our authentic Thai lunch enjoyable—

1. Crispy Oyster Cake

This is our favorite from the spread! We never expected a simple crunchy, breaded oyster on a sizzling plate to be so delicious. The minute we tasted it, we couldn’t stop eating it. We had to remind ourselves that we ordered other food and that we had to try them too.

2. Yum Pla Dook Foo

It’s crispy catfish with green mango salad. We like the fact that the catfish, although fried, wasn’t greasy at all. The taste was clean yet flavorful. It complemented with the green salad too which was quite pleasant.

3. Basil Chicken

Having visited Thailand a few years back, this dish was the very first we’ve tasted as soon as we landed. The basil made the dish tastier and instantly reminded us of our first lunch in Phuket.

4. Sate Combination

It won’t be an authentic and delicious Thai lunch if there won’t be any sate in our spread. Both chicken and beef were marinated in Thai BBQ classic spices, put onto skewers, grilled, and served with peanut sauce. You can’t go wrong with Thai BBQ Original Restaurant’s sate.

5. Masaman Beef Curry

This thick and stew-like curry has mild heat and slight sweetness that is friendlier than the other Thai curries around.

6. Bagoong Fried Rice

The few times we eat bagoong rice is when we go to Thai restaurants. There’s something wonderful and aromatic in an umami way about rice fried in Thai shrimp paste.

7. Pad Thai

Another mainstay. The first time we tried Pad Thai in Phuket, Thailand, we knew that it’s that one dish that we can eat several times a week. The way the Thai rice noodles flirt with that slightly sweet-spicy sauce along with the shrimps, bean sprouts, eggs, and crushed peanuts, drizzled with fresh lime, create that very exciting flavor combinations.

8. Pla Jien

Our second favorite after the Crispy Oyster Cake. It’s deep-fried grouper topped with spicy oyster mushroom sauce with chillies, ginger, and green onion. The fish meat was silky and firm which was a delight to eat.

9. Tom Yum Goong

Saving the best for last. People often compare this to the famous Filipino dish called Sinigang. We’re pretty sure the reason for the comparison is because both dishes have sour components in their broths. However, we prefer to see it as a counterpart rather than a direct comparison. Both dishes use different ingredients and prepared differently too. The incorporation of lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, galangal, and chillies made the Tom Yum Goong more aromatic and more flavorful.

After our sumptuous meal, we definitely agree that the Thai dishes we had were spot on in terms of the preparation, presentation, and most of all flavor. Our afternoon trip to Thailand via our taste buds was made more authentic when we met their Thai Head Chef, Thanasan Phuwiang. Aside from producing excellent food, having a chef who’s a Thai national is one of Thai SELECT’s criteria to achieve authenticity and maintain quality.

While we’re waiting for our Bangkok trip to happen in a few months, we have Thai BBQ Original Restaurant to go to when that Thai food craving hits.

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Time To Get Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf’s 2019 The Giving Journal

Holiday Season in the Philippines starts the minute the 1st “BER” month kicks in. That means, people should be expecting to hear Christmas songs being publicly played almost anywhere— the malls, the restaurants, the convenience stores, inside public transports, and over the radio to name a few. There is no contesting the fact that Filipinos love Christmas because it’s the time when families get together, when friends spend time with each other, and when endless gift-giving in festivities happen.

Speaking of gift-giving, one of the things we look forward to during the Holiday Season is The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf’s The Giving Journal. CBTL gives coffee and tea lovers the opportunity to join their own tradition of giving through their annual Giving Journals. All you need to do is purchase drinks from any CBTL stores to complete the stamp card. A completed stamp card will get you The Giving Journal while the proceeds from the journals will provide educational assistance, character development, and community service to those in need through the company’s Real LIFE Foundation.

Every year, the journal designs get more and more creative. For 2019, The Giving Journals come in 4 designs with a touch of simplicity and elegance.

1) Cork cover with Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf’s bean and leaf icons

2) Hardbound teal with matte finish and foil stamp

3) Cork cover with Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf’s logo

4) Hardbound black with matte finish and gold foil stamp

The inside pages of The Giving Journals are also filled with gorgeous photos and colorful artworks.

Now that you’ve seen the journal designs, we’re sure you’re excited to rake in the stamps to get them. Filling the card with stamps is easy— 1 drink = 1 stamp. Every year, CBTL comes out with a few Holiday drinks to make the stamp-collecting more delicious. This Holiday 2018, Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf introduced 2 new flavors and we totally love them!

CBTL embraced our love for this Filipino dessert treat with their Ube Ice Blended. It’s like drinking a creamy ube jam that has that nuttiness from the purple yam and vanilla-like sweetness. One sip and you know you’re home.

CBTL‘s Chocolate Nut Holiday Drinks were created to make all dark chocolate, peanut butter, and caramel lovers very happy. The play of slight bitterness, nuttiness, and smoky sweetness in your palate was just wonderful. We love that the drinks come in hot, iced, and ice blended varieties.

Giving has never been this delicious. Thank you, CBTL!

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A Night With Raffa in Seven Corners Restaurant

Yes, it was a lovely night to go out on a dinner date. No occasion. We just want to spend the evening surrounded with good food and good ambiance. So when we got our reserved table in Seven Corners Restaurant at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, that’s what we exactly did.

It was our date night with Raffa— our newest favorite sparkling white wine. Between red and white, vino blanco is our jam. Don’t get us wrong, we still love red wines but we love the clean and light feel of white wines which, in our opinion, doesn’t mask the flavors of food so much. Before we checked the buffet stations to see what the restaurant has to offer, we poured ourselves a glass and just enjoyed our chilled Raffa Sparkling while inhaling the cozy vibe of Seven Corners.

When our glasses were empty, we decided to make a bee line to the different stations. We saw a pretty good selection of meat, noodles, vegetables, fresh seafood, cheeses, and desserts. We like the fact that the selection didn’t overwhelm us and just let us enjoy our dinner more without putting pressure on ourselves that we have to try almost everything in the line-up.

The first things that touched our tables were our plates filled with sashimi, sushi, rolls, and tempura. We love Japanese food so every time we go to a buffet that has a Japanese cuisine station, that’s always our first stop. Priorities. The freshness and lightness of the sashimi went perfectly well with the fruitiness and slight spiciness of the sparkling white wine. Rafa’s vibrance almost made the sushi sweeter.

Keeping up with the Asian theme, we got ourselves some piping hot Seafood Pho from Seven Corners’s create-your-own-noodle-soup station. We asked the chef to throw in shrimps, squids, vegetables, and 3 types of mushrooms in the bowl along with some flat rice noodles. Surprisingly, when we paired our soup with Raffa, it felt refreshing.

After going Asian, we decided to go American and European. Upon seeing the selections of cheese, cheese plate was the first thing that came to mind. The friendly staff of Seven Corners Restaurant told us that they’ll get us some cheese and cold cuts and other good stuff to make a decent cheese plate so when our plates arrived, we were all smiles when we saw the blocks of cheese! They got us some brie, camembert, blue cheese, gouda, edam, and cheddar along with dried fruits, nuts, prosciutto, salami, pastrami, olives, and portobello. They served us heaven on a plate! Best of all, they were fantastic with our sparkling wine! We could’ve wiped out the plates but we want to take our indulgence to the next level.

Enter next level— fresh oysters, boiled crabs, and shrimp cocktails. We enjoyed our seafood and wine so much that we felt like we were in our colorful maxi dresses with our perfect beach curls being blown by the breeze coming from the sea while savoring the feel of the white fine sand against our bare feet.

Still on a seafood high, we got Seafood Marinara. Since we could choose the type of pasta, we opted for penne. The chef threw in squids, mussels, and clams to the dish. It was simple yet hearty. It was like a warm loving hug on a cold day.

For our delicious finale, we got ourselves some meat— slow roasted beef, lamb chops, and rib eye. The beef and lamb were so flavorful that we barely needed a sauce or gravy to slather the meat with. We even did a little this-food-is-delicious dance in our seats while stuffing our faces with glorious food and sipping our wines. At this point, Raffa already got us delightedly buzzed and glowing with that Asian flush of happiness.

We decided to skip dessert because sometimes you just want to end a lovely dinner on a high note. From the company to the vibe to the food pairings— it was undoubtedly a sparkling night.


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