Odong, Sardinas at Patola a la MaiMai

odong1

This is a soup or dish that is perhaps much better known to folks from the Visayas and Mindanao, compared to those from Luzon. Frankly, I had heard a lot about it odong2and have searched for the right noodles for months in Manila, to no avail. But in Cebu, the noodles are everywhere and in several varieties ranging from these narrow diameter noodles, sold in tiny packs that are perhaps the smallest portion of noodle I have ever seen sold… I am not sure where the name comes from but I would have to guess it must somehow be related to UDON of the thick Japanese noodles…if not, and you have a credible explanation for the origin of the name, please leave me a comment. This is economical, delicious and satisfying comfort food at its best. Super easy to make, fills the tummy and leaves a taste imprint that many Visayans apparently carry to their graves…

To make, simply sauté some onions, garlic and tomatoes in some vegetable oil, add 2-3 small tins of sardines (I think spicy sardines work better) and some water and boil. odong3Add some sliced patola (angled loofah) and simmer a few minutes and the odong noodles and cook until just right. Season with salt and pepper. Some folks add a touch of vinegar. Serve immediately. Eat with lots of rice. I saw it made and ate a lot of it for the first time today, when my some of my staff at the Cebu office offered to cook it up for everyone. I was impressed. Never a big fan of sardines, I was worried I wouldn’t like the dish. But the sardine flavor wasn’t overpowering, the noodles are tasty and the whole dish lends itself to one’s seriously overeating and overloading on carbohydrates. Personally, I would brighten this up with a touch of kalamansi, though most Cebuanos wouldn’t do that at all. Also throw in some chopped green herbs and the dish could be elevated a notch, in my opinion. But since all you need are very basic ingredients to yield such a tasty dish, it’s no wonder it is so popular in the Southern parts of the Philippines…

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33 Responses

  1. wow, exactly what I’m looking for. I have a bunch of this odong noddles given to me as a pasalubong by a friend from Bohol. I don’t know what to do with it and this post will give me a start to finally be able to consume them. Thanks MM.

  2. MM! I was giggling when I read this post! I know you didn’t intend it but man, I couldn’t get past “loofah” and still consider cooking or tasting this dish. Well, I’m so not a fan of patola …. and then only to learn now that it’s really called loofah. Makes me think of all things relaxing and luxuriating like spa and body scrub…. Ok… I know I’m such a patola scrooge ….

  3. Ah, I remember this humble dish from childhood. My dad used to make this for breakfast to pair with fried rice. Simply yummy. He gets his odong from Cotabato.

  4. Hey thanks for sharing this recipe, MM! Another great way to serve canned sardines. Perfect for those days when I want to prepare something quick!

    Btw, our favorite canned sardines is red Ligo (spicy). What did you use?

  5. Odong coming from Japanese “udon” – makes sense to me.

    BTW, did anyone know that the initial inspiration for sushi came from freshwater fish that was fermented in cooked rice inoculated with some culinary mold? Apparently this is still found in Thailand…

  6. wowwww,i know it taste gud MM.first tym i leave a comment on your blog but im one of your daily reader.

  7. Yummy! Haven’t tried this dish in a while, but I remember we always made it when a typhoon hits: with lots of canned sardines (and not much else besides), it was a rotation of sardines and odong, sardines and bihon, sardines and misua… enough to make you swear off the stuff the rest of your life. But then another howler strikes and the first (and ironically ONLY) thing that you crave for is sardines with [local dried pasta here].

    Now that I think about it, I don’t ever remember sardines with pancit canton. Hmm… I wonder why that is? Could it be that sardines (the dish) lends itself well to soupy (odong, misua) and dry (bihon) dishes, as opposed to saucy (canton)? But then again, sardines itself is saucy. Any thoughts, MM?

  8. as with gladita, we also do this at home using miswa, but i think your version seems better since the udong “softens” the taste of the sardines. though im thinking if udong would taste good using your ham-bone soup recipe…hmmmmm

  9. i love funky homestyle unpretentious noodle dishes that i’ve never heard of. sardines, noodles and patola, outrageous! thanks for that one, MM. will attempt to make it soon. but where to get ‘odong’ noodles….

  10. Hi MM, the idea of sardines in a soup sounds gross to me. Hehe. I like eating guinisang sardines, but this? Hmmmm. Do you also add the tomato sauce from the canned sardines? Does the soup taste sour? It must be good if a lot of people eat it including yourself. I just can’t tell from just looking and thinking about it how it would taste like.

  11. johnny, i thought it would taste weird. i had the less soupier version using misua noodles then ulamin with rice. it was so good!! :) lalo na on a rainy/cool day. then have it with coke. sarap!!!

  12. To me this dish is mind boggling – odd combinations. It will not even occur in my dream – noodles, sardines and patola will be a good trio. You have your seal of approval then it must be good and real comforting. I am familiar with you, you voice out what is in your heart. You take me to another culinary gustation that is totally new to me. I travel with your foods. It is one of those no fuss meals. I love sardines in tomato sauce in a flat can with pan de sal.

  13. we’re tagalog and use misua too. but this variation is very intriguing. i’d probably use rice noodles though, with hubby’s allergies, etc.

  14. argh! I have not seen any odong noodles being sold here in manila so I use misua instead. i miss having this! Paired with steaming rice, perfect for the cool December weather. I’ll ask my mom to cook this when we go home to the province for christmas.

  15. Some use upo (upopadoo! the english name escapes me)for the ginisang sardinas. Poor man’s food yan pero you have now brought it to the consciousness of the mga well-heeled readers of this site. Good for you, MM!!!

    BTW, it’s actually masarap! With steaming rice on a rainy day as Mandy says, YUMMMM!!!!

  16. Is odong noodle filipino made? havent heard of it before. but yes, it looks similar to the japanese udon noodle.

  17. Heehee. I wondered how people would react to this post. The noodles seem to be made here in the Visayas…they are 1 peso per tiny pack (geez, I didn’t think they sold anything in 1 peso portions) and the dish we made yesterday had 3 cans of sarindes for PHP30, 12 packs of noodles for PHP12, patola and onions, etc. for PHP6-8 max and for a grand total cost of PHP50 it fed 8-10 folks nicely. At PHP5 per serving, it was cheaper and more nutritious than packaged noodles…

  18. Odong is a big business in the Visayas and manufacturers often can’t keep up with the demand, it’s that huge. So I wonder why they don’t have it in Manila, considering the number of transplanted Visayans there…

    Haven’t had this dish in a long while, but it’s closely associated with rainy days or, in my case, typhoons. With lots of canned sardines and not much else besides, it was a rotation of sardines with odong, sardines with misua, sardines with bihon, etc.; enough to make you swear off the stuff forever. Then the next howler hits and the first thing you look forward to is the sardines + local pasta combination! Ironic, isn’t it?

  19. Odong is a big business in the Visayas and manufacturers often can’t keep up with the demand, it’s that huge. So I wonder why they don’t have it in Manila, considering the number of transplanted Visayans there…

    Haven’t had this dish in a long while, but it’s closely associated with rainy days or, in my case, typhoons. With lots of canned sardines and not much else besides, it was a rotation of sardines with odong, sardines with misua, sardines with bihon, etc.; enough to make you swear off the stuff forever. Then the next howler hits and the first thing you look forward to is the sardines + local pasta combination! Ironic, isn’t it?

    And now that I think about it, I wonder why I never had sardines with pancit canton. Could it be that it lends itself well to dishes that are soupy (odong, misua) and dry (bihon) but not to those that are a bit saucy/wet, like canton? Any thoughts?

  20. Hmmm, oo nga no? If it’s big in the Visayas, bakit nga wala sa Manila nito? Is it made out of flour? Flour with egg? What does it taste like?

  21. MRJP, its a wheat noodle with egg and different flavorings…some are just O’Dong Special, others squid or even crab flavoring… I guess it is the size and the consistency that differentiates it. Is seems more solid than a regular pancit noodle. It is bizarrely sold in these tiny portions as well…

  22. Yes Toping,I come from leyte and we have this when we have storms and typhoons.My grandma then my mum usually stocks up on this if an imminent typhoon is coming.

  23. im fr davao and a manufacturer of odong noodle. i was amazed when i saw this recipe was posted in market manila. this kind of dish is also very popular here in our place but usually only mindanao area knows how to eat it.

  24. I’m a retired soldier and this recipe brings back memories of the early 80s when I was assigned as a Constabulary detachment commander in the hinterlands of Valencia, Dimiao, Batuan, and Sevilla, all in Bohol.

    Our mess (military term for food or meal) consisted mostly on what we can spare from our vegetable garden, but we were supplied with boxes of sardines from Tagbilaran. I asked my Mess Sergeant to give our mess a kind of variety, so we had sardinas con pechay, etc., and of course, odong with sardines almost all of the time when we were on alert waiting for the attack of the enemy.

    I lived on this for three years! Hahaha…

  25. Dear MM, did i miss your answer to the query as to what brand of sardines you use? My husband has been complaining that lately, our favorite brand tastes too fishy or malansa. Can you recommend a brand please?

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