It’s been several weeks since I started tweaking this dish, so far, so good. I think I’ve done enough to share this with the Foodipino community.
First of all, I know a lot of people confuse Pancit Palabok and Pancit Malabon. Let’s just clarify. They are similar in a few things: both use rice stick noodles (but Malabon most often uses the thick variety), both share some similar ingredients like tinapa flakes, toasted garlic, anatto seeds, and powdered chicharon (pork rinds). However, both differ in that Pancit Palabok is made with sauce and is served with the sauce on top, while Malabon technically does not use any sauce at all, instead the ingredients are mixed in with the noodles. Also, since Pancit Malabon originates from the coastal city of Malabon, it is made with more seafood ingredients in both the noodle mix and toppings, such as fish sauce, squid, shrimp, oysters and/or mussels.
Now we got that out of the way, what I am sharing here is Pancit Malabon. For the non-Filipino reading this, it’s basically seafood noodles.
I have done several iterations of this dish in my mind before even attempting to cook and feed it to my family and friends. What I have here are the portions suited to my taste. You may certainly adjust the portions to your liking, specially the fish sauce and the powdered chicharon.
When I was studying how to make it, I was a little discouraged when I learned how labor-intensive I thought it would be, since it required flaked smoked fish, fried/toasted garlic, powdered chicharon, and squid adobo. Upon visiting my local Asian food store, I soon found out that flaked smoked fish and powdered chicharon can be purchased pre- made, packaged in small plastic bags (i.e., “Anahaw” brand). I also knew before hand that fried garlic is available in plastic jars (Vietnamese brand, the name escapes me right now), and for squid adobo, well, I just had to wait until Friday when our Filipino fast food restaurant is serving it on their steam table, then I’ll just order it from them. For those hard-core chefs who want to start from scratch, well then by all means do it that way. So, apart from those ingredients, I still had to prepare hard boiled eggs, prepare some annatto oil, cook some shrimp and chop some green onions, which did not present any problem… because my wife, Emily did it for me… :).
For those who really want a truly seafood Pancit Malabon without any pork, I substituted powdered chicharon with “Oishi” brand fish crackers when we can’t eat meat products on one of the Fridays during Catholic Lenten season. What I did was place the crackers in a large Ziploc bag (do not seal) and pounded the heck out of it in between two chopping boards (LOL).
So here, Pancit Malabon.
- 20 oz rice stick noodles (thick variety), sometimes called "Pancit Lulug" on the wrapper
- 1/2 cup fish sauce
- 3/4 cup fried garlic
- 3/4 cup annatto oil* (achuete)
- 3/4 cup chopped green onions
- 1 1/2 cups powdered chicharon
- 1 1/2 cups flaked smoked fish (tinapa)
- 2 hard boiled eggs (peeled and sliced)
- 1 cup squid adobo (cut into pieces)
- 1 cup cooked shrimp (cut in half, lengthwise)
- Lemon or calamansi
- Prepare annatto oil (see instructions below). Set aside.
- Cook noodles according to package instructions.
- Pull noodles from heat, strain. Important: wash noodles in cold water. If you don't do this, the noodles will stick together.
- Put noodles in large mixing bowl.
- Pour in annatto oil, fish sauce, 1 cup smoked fish, 1 cup powdered chicharon, 1/2 cup fried garlic, 1/2 cup green onions. You may also add half the squid adobo if you like. Tip: Try pouring in half the fish sauce first and taste, then add more to you liking.
- Set aside the remaining smoked fish, chicharon, fried garlic and green onions for garnishing
- Mix noodles with the ingredients thoroughly until all noodles turn orange and coated by the all the ingredients.
- Place noodles in a large tray
- Sprinkle noodles with the remaining smoked fish, powdered chicharon
- Garnish with cooked shrimp, eggs and remaining squid adobo and green onions.
- Serve with lemon or calamansi on the side
*How to Prepare Annatto Oil
1 cup olive oil (or vegetable oil)
1 tbsp annatto seed (achuete)
In a small sauce pan, heat annatto seeds in olive oil (medium heat). Stir oil constantly to extract the color from the seeds. Once you see bubbles, turn off heat. Important: Do not overcook as the annatto seeds will burn and instead of having a reddish color, the oil will turn black. Strain into a small bowl.
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