Pancit, or Pancit Bihon, is a cherished noodle dish in Filipino cuisine, beloved for generations. It’s a perfect stir fry of thin rice vermicelli noodles, tender meats, and crisp vegetables.
The thin vermicelli rice noodles are the star, translucent and flavor-soaking, perfectly complemented by bite-sized chicken, shrimp, and an array of colorful vegetables like carrots, cabbage, bell peppers, snow peas.
Try this easy and quick noodle stir fry, Filipino style, in about 30 minutes. If noodles are what you crave for, you are going to love this one.
Everybody loves some quick noodles. How about quick “one pan noodles”? Sounds easy and convenient right?
This Filipino noodle stir fry dish cooks in one pan, where delicate vermicelli rice noodles are quickly simmered in a savory broth to ensure every noodle strand is infused with taste.
A well balanced dish where noodles and any veggies and protein of your choice gets stir fried in a perfect colorful medley.
You Will Love Filipino Pancit for
- Versatility: Pancit Bihon is a versatile dish that suits various taste preferences. You can tailor the ingredients, choosing the proteins or veggies you love.
- Flavorful and Delicious: Its harmonious blend of savory meats, crisp vegetables, and aromatic sauces create a symphony of flavors in every bite.
- Textural Delight: The dish offers a delightful interplay of textures. The soft, translucent bihon noodles contrast beautifully with the crunch of fresh veggies and the succulence of meats.
- Cultural Experience: Eating Pancit Bihon is not just about savoring a meal, but experiencing Filipino culture. The dish carries with it stories of family gatherings, birthdays, and festivals. A great starter dish if you want to try Filipino cuisine.
- Nutritional Balance: Combining carbs, proteins, and an array of vegetables, Pancit Bihon can be a well-balanced meal in itself, catering to those looking for both taste and nutrition.
- Visual Appeal: With its vibrant mix of ingredients, a plate of Pancit Bihon is as visually appealing as it is tasty. The myriad of colors from the vegetables, meats, and noodles makes it very appetizing.
What is Pancit Bihon?
Pancit Bihon is a beloved noodle dish in the Philippines, made primarily with rice vermicelli noodles stir-fried with a mix of meats, typically chicken, pork and shrimp, and a colorful assortment of vegetables. Its flavors are enhanced with soy sauce, and it’s often served with a squeeze of lime or calamansi.
Pancit simply refers to noodles in the Philippines. The term “pancit” originates from the Hokkien Chinese word “pian i sit”, which means “something conveniently cooked”. It’s believed that Chinese traders and immigrants introduced noodle dishes to the Filipino people during pre-colonial times.
“Panciteros” is a term in the Philippines that refers to these Chinese makers or vendors of Pancit. These individuals or establishments specialize in preparing and selling various types of pancit.
During the Spanish colonial era in the Philippines, the cigar-making industry, primarily centered in Manila, heavily employed women known as “cigarreras” to roll and package cigars. Given their demanding work schedules, these female laborers sought affordable and hearty meals.
Enter the Chinese panciteros, who strategically set up their panciterias near cigar factories. These noodle houses offered a variety of filling and economical pancit dishes tailored to the tastes of the Filipino cigarreras.
Over time, the noodle dishes the Chinese introduced were adapted to local Filipino tastes and available ingredients, giving birth to the myriad of pancit variations we see today, from Pancit Canton to Pancit Bihon and many more.
Pancit Bihon uses rice vermicelli noodles, which are thin, translucent, and made primarily from rice flour. They become soft and slightly slippery when cooked.
Pancit Canton uses wheat-based egg noodles, which are thicker, chewier, and more similar in texture to Chinese lo mein or chow mein noodles.
Every family has their own favorite Pancit recipe, and it holds a special place both on daily dining tables and during significant occasions like birthdays, weddings, new year celebrations, town fiestas and festivals.
Pancit Bihon Ingredients
- Noodles – Today we are using vermicelli rice noodles. They are called Pancit Bihon noodles. You can use Thai vermicelli rice noodles as well.
- Oil – Any preferred cooking oil.
- Protein: We are using boneless, skinless chicken thighs (you can use chicken breast as well) and shrimp today.
- Veggies and aromatics – Onion, carrot, cabbage, green beans, red bell pepper, snow peas and garlic.
- For Pancit Bihon sauce – Chicken stock, soy sauce, dark soy sauce, oyster sauce, sugar, black pepper.
- Salt and pepper – To season chicken and shrimp.
- For garnish – Green parts of scallions and lime wedges.
Easy Pancit Recipe
1. Stir-fry Chicken and Shrimp: Heat oil in a large wok or skillet over medium high heat. Add chicken pieces and stir fry with a dash of salt and pepper for 8-10 minutes, or until cooked through and starting to brown up. Plate it out.
Add in shrimp and stir fry with a little salt and pepper until cooked through, about 5 minutes. Plate them out with the chicken.
2. Stir-fry Vegetables: Add a dash of oil if needed. Add all the veggies except snow peas and stir fry for a couple of minutes over high heat. Add garlic and cook for a minute.
3. Add the Sauce and Noodles: Add the chicken stock, soy sauce, dark soy sauce, oyster sauce, black pepper and sugar. Stir to combine. Place the noodles into the sauce. Use your tongs to toss the noodles as they cook in the sauce.
Continue cooking and stir-frying for 2-3 minutes, or until the noodles are tender and have soaked up all of the sauce. Add more stock (or water) if the dish is dry before the noodles are tender.
4. Finish the Stir Fry: Add the chicken and shrimp back into the pan along with snow peas.
Toss until combined and cook for a couple of minutes. Garnish with green parts of scallions and serve with lime wedges.
Tips and Tricks for BEST Pancit
- Cut the veggies and chicken uniformly, so they cook evenly.
- Ensure your pan or wok is hot. High heat ensures quick cooking, retaining the freshness and crunch of ingredients. Use a large wok to ensure a fast and quick stir fry.
- Keep things moving. Consistent stirring prevents sticking and ensures even cooking.
- Using chicken broth instead of water can give the dish a richer taste.
- Many people soak the rice noodles in warm water to soften before cooking, but we like to cook the noodles in broth instead. This adds more depth of flavor to the noodles, making it a one pan noodle dish.
- Do not overcook. You don’t want mushy noodle and limp veggies. Slightly undercook the vegetables during the initial stir-fry, as they will continue to cook when the noodles are finished off.
Possible Pancit Variations
- Make Pancit Canton: Use wheat-based egg noodles, giving a taste similar to Chinese chow mein.
- Use other protein: Use diced pork, pork belly or steak. Or simply omit all protein and make vegetarian Pancit.
- Make it spicy: Add red chili flakes or any of your favorite Asian hot sauces for a little spicy kick.
- Use other vegetables: Try mushrooms, baby corn, bok-choy, zucchini or water chestnuts.
Leftovers Noodles and Storage
Pancit is delicious for lunch the next day, so go ahead and make a big batch.
Once your noodles have cooled, store them in your fridge in an airtight container. They will last for 2-3 days.
When you are ready to eat the leftovers, you can reheat the pancit on the stovetop or in the microwave.
Pancit is more than just a noodle dish in the Philippines. It’s a taste of home, family, and special memories. Whether it’s a regular day or a big celebration, Pancit brings everyone together.
It’s not just about the delicious noodles and toppings, but the love and history behind it.
So, make these Filipino stir fry noodles the next time you are craving some quick and easy noodles. You’re joining a long tradition of good food and good times.
Pancit, on our Gypsy Plate… enjoy!
- 6oz pancit bihon noodles (Filipino vermicelli rice noodles) or Thai vermicelli rice noodles
- 2 Tbsp oil
- 8oz boneless skinless chicken thighs or breast, cut in to small bites
- 8oz shrimp, deveined and peeled with tails on
- salt to taste
- pepper to taste
- 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1 small onion, sliced
- 1 cup peeled and julienned carrot
- 1.5 cup shredded cabbage
- 1 cup green beans, julienned
- 1/2 red bell pepper, sliced thin
- 1 cup snow peas
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 2 Tbsp soy sauce
- 1 Tbsp dark soy sauce (you can sub with regular soy sauce )
- 1 Tbsp oyster sauce
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- scallions to garnish
- lime wedges to serve
- Heat 2 Tbsp oil in a large wok or skillet over medium high heat. Add chicken pieces and stir fry with a dash of salt and pepper for 8-10 minutes, or until cooked through and starting to brown up. Plate it out.
- Add in shrimp and stir fry with a little salt and pepper until cooked through, about 5 minutes. Plate them out with the chicken.
- Add oil if needed. Add all the veggies except snow peas and stir fry for a couple of minutes over high heat. Add garlic and cook for a minute.
- Add the chicken stock, soy sauce, dark soy sauce, oyster sauce, black pepper and sugar. Stir to combine.
- Place the noodles into the sauce. Use your tongs to toss the noodles as they cook in the sauce. Continue cooking and stir-frying for 2-3 minutes, or until the noodles are tender and have soaked up all of the sauce. Add more stock (or water) if the dish is dry before the noodles are tender.
- Add the chicken and shrimp back into the pan along with snow peas Toss until combined and cook for a couple of minutes. Garnish with green parts of scallions and serve with lime wedges.
Nutrition InformationYield 4 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 502Total Fat 16gSaturated Fat 3gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 12gCholesterol 199mgSodium 1926mgCarbohydrates 52gFiber 7gSugar 11gProtein 40g
Nutrition information calculated by Nutritionix.
Welcome to GypsyPlate! I'm Alpana, former wordwide tour manager and professional caterer, now full time blogger. I love exploring cuisines from around the world, and my recipes have been featured on sites such as MSN, Parade, Brit + Co, CNET and AOL. You can explore my entire collection of sortable recipes in my Recipe Index or learn more about me here.
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