September 15, 2008
pancit for long life
Is it just me or does it really feel like the months are passing by so fast we barely notice them? It's September now, a big birthday month for my family in the Philippines. There are actually five immediate family members whose birthdays are all in September. I dedicate this Asian noodle dish, pancit canton, to all of them. Most stir-fried noodles like this are popularly served at birthday celebrations as a symbol of bounty and long life. With the noodles made with flour and egg instead of rice, this is one of the most well-loved noodle dishes in the Philippines. There are many versions of this, with various ingredients added, but the vegetables are a must. Chinese sausage (langonisang macao), squid or fish balls and Que-kiam or kikiam, a type of flavorful Chinese pork roll, may be sliced and added, depending on the availability of these ingredients. In Manila, these Chinese food ingredients are always sold in groceries and markets. They add intense flavor to the dish so it's best not to overdo it. It's advisable to use less salt as well since some of these noodles are already seasoned. Aside from the belief that noodles are for long life, the colorful dish looks quite festive so they're great to serve for joyous occasions. It's also a popular party food because of its reasonable cost per serving, a big tray or bowl can feed many guests. It's always a big hit with adults and kids alike. The pancit is usually served with other Filipino party foods like skewered barbecued pork, rice cakes, macaroni salad, fruit salad for dessert and many more.