I have never been to the town of Lucban, Quezon though it has long been on my list of places to visit. Well known for its Pahiyas Festival to celebrate a bountiful harvest, the whole concept of food, food as dÃ©cor (thousands of rice leaves in stunning colors), pork sausages, noodles, etc. are right up Marketmanâ€™s alley. I just have to get there sometime soon. Unfortunately, I know next to nothing about the town and its traditions so it will take some research and inquiry before I muster up the courageâ€¦ At any rate, I noticed a vendor at a local market selling packages of what looked like thin egg noodles labeled â€œPancit Lucbanâ€ and I was intrigued enough to stop and eventually purchase a package for PHP50. Back home, I read the simple instructions on the back of the package for a classic Pancit Lucban or what is more commonly known as pancit hab-hab, which apparently is a noodle dish that is eaten off of banana leaf squares without utensils or the use of your hands. You are just supposed to eat it straight off of the leafâ€¦
Lucban aficionados will have to forgive me as I am attempting a recipe without ever having tried an authentic versionâ€¦ Nevertheless, here is my version of Pancit Lucban or Pancit hab-hab. Omit the large green pechay or bok choy leaves if you want to eat this in the traditional manner. To make, heat up some vegetable oil until hot. Add small cubes of pork and some chopped onion and garlic. Saute until cooked and add soy sauce and some black pepper. Add 6 cups of chicken broth (more flavor) or water. Add a package of noodles and sitr until cooked. I added some bok choy though the traditional vegetable would be sliced sayote (chayote). Check the seasoning and serve with a spritz of kalamansi or calamondin.
Wow. Was this a pleasant surprise. Wickedly easy, fast and delicious! I liked the flavor and texture of the thinner noodles. They seemed to have more chewiness and strength than traditional Chinese egg noodles used in a Pancit Canton and it turns out the Lucban noodles are made with rice rather than wheat flour and eggs. I can fully understand why people would be quickly eating this treat without utensils from streetside carts in the town of Lucban. Yum.