We at Shearwater Health have the unique privilege to engage in many cultures around the world, and one of the most important parts of any culture is food!
Since many of our U.S. clients interact with our clinical teams from The Philippines, we thought it’d be fun to have two of our Filipino corporate employees, Jozen Reodica and Marvin Estrada, teach a U.S. audience how to cook Pancit Canton – one of the most popular Filipino dishes.
Pancit Canton in The Philippines
Every culture has a few staple dishes that bring people together during celebratory occasions such as holidays and birthdays. For Filipinos, it is Pancit Canton, a flavorful stir-fried dish that combines wheat noodles, seafood, meat, vegetables, soy sauce, and oyster sauce.
This meal is relatively simple and became a form of fast food in the Philippines, as the noodles were quicker to cook than the Filipino staple, rice, – at least before the rice cooker was invented.
The History of Pancit
Pancit was originally born out of a cultural exchange between Chinese traders and Filipinos – although you won’t find this dish in China.
Pancit Canton is now thoroughly Filipino; the word canton is used to describe the Cantonese-style flavors that are found in the dish, and pancit (“pan-sit”) means noodles. It comes from the Hokkien phrase “pian e sit” which translates to “something conveniently cooked.”
Using Pancit noodles is essential for this dish, and you can find them at a local Asian grocery store. Be sure not to cut the noodles before cooking! A traditional belief is that eating these lengthy noodles on a milestone occasion will bring a long and healthy life in your future.
This dish hardly needs any prep, and you can use just about any vegetable you can find in your kitchen. Cabbage and carrots are essential, however, for making an authentic Pancit Canton. Add a little calamansi for garnish, also known as a Philippine lime, and you have a Filipino dish full of flavor and history.
This is a fun dish to experiment with and doesn’t have to be exact. You can follow the recipe below for the Shearwater Chef version of Pancit Canton.
Take a picture of your dish and tag us on social media @shearwaterhealth
Pancit Canton Ingredients:
- 2 tablespoons cooking oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 150 grams (.5 lb.) chicken breast fillet, cut into small pieces
- (Optional) 10 pieces of shrimp, shells and head removed
- (Optional) 12 pieces squid balls, cut into halves
- 1 big carrot, julienned
- 1 big bell pepper, julienned
- 1 cup snow peas (chicharo), ends trimmed
- 1/2 small cabbage, chopped
- (Optional) Celery, cooked or garnish
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons oyster sauce
- 1-2 cups chicken broth (depends on liquid preference)
- 250 grams (.5 lbs) pancit canton noodles
- (Optional) Parsley and calamansi (or lime) for garnish
- Salt and pepper as needed
Pancit Canton Cooking Directions:
- In a wok or large skillet, heat cooking oil over medium heat.
- Sauté garlic and onion until soft and aromatic.
- Add chicken and cook until no longer pink. You may substitute with pork or add shrimp/squid balls for a more Filipino experience.
- Lower heat and add soy sauce and oyster sauce. Stir until well blended.
- Add carrots, peppers, snow peas, and cabbage and cook for about 1 minute.
- Remove all ingredients and place in a separate bowl. Vegetables should be cooked but not soggy.
- Add chicken broth and bring to a simmer.
- Place the pancit noodles in the broth and don’t break them apart. Slowly push the noodles into the broth and stir from time to time until cooked.
- Once the noodles are cooked, add the meat/seafood and vegetables.
- Use parsley and/or calamansi (or lime) for garnish.