Pancit Malabon is the ultimate noodle experience! Topped with a flavor-packed shrimp gravy and a variety of seafood and garnishes, this classic Filipino dish is hearty, tasty, and sure to wow the crowd!
One of my close friends had a baby shower-slash-potluck over the weekend. I initially planned on buying a tray of sandwiches or a couple of large pizzas for the party, but my other friend coordinating the get-together insisted that I prepare a homemade dish, even going as far as delegating Pancit Malabon to me.
No complaints on my part as I haven’t had this Filipino classic for a while, and I was nothing but eager to satisfy the cravings. Judging from the empty aluminum pan I brought the pancit in, everyone enjoyed it as much as I did.
Pancit Malabon is a traditional Filipino dish that originated from Malabon city, hence the name. Like most pancit, it’s commonly served during fiestas or special occasions on a bilao, a flat-round container of woven bamboo, rattan, or wood, which adds to the “native feel” of the dish.
It’s made of thick rice or cornstarch noodles and a yellow-orange hued sauce which draws flavor and color from achuette (annatto seeds), shrimp broth, and crab fat. The array of toppings reflects the abundant coasts of the area where fishing was once a major livelihood, and it’s common to find it heavily laden with harvests from the sea.
Pancit Malabon Ingredients
- Noodles – Pancit Malabon uses thick rice or cornstarch noodles. They’re cooked in boiling water until al dente, drained, and tossed with the shrimp gravy before garnishing with various toppings.
- Sauce – the yellow-orange gravy derives its color and taste from shrimp stock, patis, and atsuete. While it’s similar to that of Pancit palabok and Pancit luglug, the addition of crab fat gives it a more distinct flavor.
- Toppings – a generous assortment of seafood toppings set Pancit Malabon apart from other pancit dishes. Along with the usual hard-boiled eggs, pork crackling, toasted garlic bits, and green onions. shrimp, and smoked fish flakes, the toppings or garnishes may include oysters, squid, mussels, and shrimp as well as blanched Napa cabbage.
How to serve
- Due to a somewhat elaborate process, Pancit Malabon is usually reserved for fiestas or special gatherings such as birthdays and holidays.
- To serve, toss the noodles with the sauce, transfer to a bilao or platter, and garnish with the choice toppings. To enjoy, spritz with calamansi to brighten flavors.
- Store leftovers in a covered container and refrigerate for up to 3 days.
- Reheat in the microwave at 2 to 3-minute intervals until completely warmed through, stirring well after each interval.