Pansit Habhab or Pansit Lucban is a stir fried noodle dish that originated from the municipality of Lucban in Quezon Province. It is the most popular street food in Lucban. It is made with miki noodles (dried noodles) that are stir fried and mixed with meat, vegatables and shrimp. The miki noodles are cooked in beef broth and the meat is seasoned with soy sauce. The meat includes pork belly (or lechon), pork liver and shrimp. The vegetables include chayote, carrots, snow peas or sugar snap peas and pechay or baby bok choy. At first glance, this noodle dish looks like the ordinary Pancit Canton but actually it is so distinct that it calls for banana leaves that serve as a makeshift plate for the pansit. The pansit is eaten directly from the banana leaf without using any utensil. Habhab refers to the manner of eating the dish. To start eating, grab the banana leaf with noodles in it and push the noodles into your mouth. (Do not eat the banana leaf!) A little cane vinegar is usually sprinkled on the pansit before eating it. Others prefer a combination of soy sauce and lime over vinegar. (See Notes below to find out about where and how to substitute banana leaves.)
So without any further ado, here's our regional specialty for the week and our dinner for tonight!
P.S. Hubby and the kids loved it and had a great time making a mess on the dinner table!
Pansit Habhab or Pansit Lucban
Cooking Time: 45 minutes
Yield: 8 servings
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 1 piece chayote, quartered and sliced thinly
- 1 cup snow peas
- 4 bunches of pechay or baby bok choy
- 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
- 4 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 pound pork belly, thinly sliced
- 1/2 pound pork liver, sliced and soaked in 1/2 cup vinegar with 1 tablespoon of salt for 15 minutes
- 1/2 pound shrimp
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 4 cups beef broth
- 1 pound Lucban miki noodles (substitute with dried thick flour noodles)
- banana leaves for serving, cut in 5x5" squares
- Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a wok or a wide-rimmed cooking pan.
- Stir fry the carrots, chayote, snow peas and bok choy for 5 minutes. Remove from the pan and set aside.
- Heat the remaining oil in the same pan. Saute the onion and garlic for 3 minutes or until the onion turns translucent.
- Add the pork and cook for 5 minutes or until light brown.
- Add the liver. Stir until liver changes color to brown about 2 minutes. Season with pepper.
- Push the pork and liver to one side of the pan. Put the shrimp in. Cook each side for 1 minute. Remove the shrimp from the pan and set aside.
- Pour soy sauce and beef broth in the pan. Bring to a boil and simmer for 15-20 minutes.
- Add the noodles and stir continuously until all the liquid is absorbed by the noodles.
- Put half of the stir-fried vegetables back to the pan and mix with the noodles and meat.
- Serve the cooked noodles on a banana leaf and top with more vegetables and shrimp.
- Serve hot with vinegar or soy sauce and lime on the side.
* Where did I get the banana leaves here in Florida? The big Asian store in West Colonial in Orlando has it. If you're wondering whether banana trees could grow in Florida, of course! All you have to do is visit Harry P. Leu Gardens (and others) and you'll see a few of their banana trees and other tropical trees there. Actually there is a neighborhood in Maitland that's very close to a nature preserve. Hubby and I have been to a house where the owners have planted banana trees on their backyard. After all, banana trees are such low maintenance trees! Anyway, this blog is not about the leaf, It's about the noodle dish!
*If you can't find banana leaves, you may substitute it with the leaves from bird of paradise. --And if you don't have those two, you could still enjoy the dish from a plate while using a fork. It doesn't mean that if you don't have banana leaves, you can't enjoy the dish.
* You may substitute banana leaves with foil paper or wax paper as a makeshift plate. (Again the term "habhab" refers to the manner of eating the dish.) -But if you can't imagine yourself eating without any plate or cutlery, by all means eat from a plate and use a fork!