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Filipino Noodle Dishes - Introduction

Unlike many other Asian countries whose principle diet consists of Noodle dishes, Filipinos still prefer a meal with rice. Whereas most Asian countries like Japan and China treats noodle dishes as their staple diet, Filipinos mostly prefer them as snacks (Merienda) or breakfast treats. Most Filipino Noodle dishes were heavily influenced by Chinese cuisine, most probably because it is the Chinese people who taught the Early Filipino people the art of noodle making. In time however, Filipinos learned to create their own unique noodle dishes and even their own unique noodles (like the molo and habhab). The general term for noodles in the Philippines is “Pansit”. Some prefer to spell it as “Pancit”. The term “Pansit” most often refer to the stir-fried noodle dishes or it can also refer to soup-based noodle dish. Some Filipinos however, refer to soup-based noodles dishes as “Mami”. It all depends on what region you are at. Almost all Pansit dish recipe call for Soy Sauce, and most of the Pansit dishes are served with slices of Calamansi (a small citrus plant, indigenous to the Philippines).

The names of Filipino Noodle dishes is much like the way Italian cooking name their pasta dishes – thru the type of noodles used. For example Pancit Canton and Pancit Bihon are almost essentially alike in their preparation and in ingredients, the major difference is on the noodles they use. Canton noodles is a kind egg-noodles, while Bihon is a kind of Vermicelli. Some provinces even have their unique noodle dishes, like the Pansit Habhab of Quezon Province, and the La Paz Batchoy of Iloilo Province. Most celebration and festivities in the Philippines are not complete without a Pansit dish. Rich or Poor alike prepare Pansit Dishes, the only difference is the richer folks tend to add more ingredients.

The popularity of Pansit as a snack or as a quick meal in the Philippines has even become a great commercial opportunity for some Food Industry companies. Ever since the “Lucky Me” brand of instant Pansit Canton became a huge hit, a multitude of other varieties have sprung out of nowhere to cash in. Instant Noodle products like Pansit Canton and the soup-based noodle Mami have also become a choice of viand for most poorer Filipinos.

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