On our recent trip to Ilocos, for which I am SO BEHIND on posts, we had a delicious chicken soup with miki and bagnet for merienda at our hotel. As soon as I got to Manila, I decided to try my own version, and these are the results of that experiment. Chicken soup is incredibly satisfying, no matter where you are in the world… there must be thousands of versions of chicken soup with noodles, rice, potatoes, vegetables, etc. that all provide an incredible amount of comfort and nourishment to millions of people. Many years ago I read that someone even did a study to see what there was in chicken soup that made it a seemingly universal tonic for those with the colds or flu. I don’t recall the results of that study, but I suspect steaming broths help to clear one’s sinuses and warm/comfort the body…
In the markets in Ilocos, several vendors sell freshly made miki, an egg-based flat noodle. You can also buy them dried and packaged in plastic. In Manila, I started by making a chicken broth from scratch. I made sure the liquid was boiled down to concentrate the flavors even more. I also shredded the meat of 1/2 of a boiled chicken. To make this soup, I started with a pot half filled with simmering home made chicken broth. I added the shredded chicken, tons of achuete water (achuete steeped in hot water), salt, white pepper and the miki and stirred for a few minutes until cooked. I transferred this to a serving bowl and topped it with chopped homemade bagnet.
The results? Very good. A nice flavorful broth chock full of noodles, chicken and slowly melting bagnet. The achuete color was appealing, if a bit nuclear for my taste. But overall, this was an incredibly easy and extremely satisfying bowl of soup to make. I can understand how it would be considered merienda fare, it is quite heavy and filling on its own so it would be difficult to have this as a starter to a meal, unless the portions were extremely small.