A pancit canton recipe that you will absolutely love! Made with the signature yellow canton noodles, perfectly tender pork, shrimp, and vegetables all slathered in the most fragrant and delicious sauce.
What is Pancit Canton?
A popular Filipino-Chinese noodle dish with yellow dried wheat noodles being its main ingredient. Compared to chow mein which requires par-boiling, the noodles and the sauce are cooked together in one pan. This technique helps the noodles absorb all the delicious flavors of the sauce.
Why you'll love this recipe
This recipe is a cross between Filipino and Chinese-style stir-fried noodles. The method of cooking follows the way of cooking dried noodles in the Philippines but the seasonings include Chinese ingredients which make it stand out from your traditional canton recipe.
You will love this recipe because of the following:
- versatile - you can make it with pork, chicken, shrimp or even beef!
- tons of vegetable options - if you're looking for a recipe to use up left over vegetables then this is what you need.
- really really good sauce - thick, savory, and so flavorful! the key to making the best pancit canton. I promise you will love this!
Here's what you need to make pancit canton:
Made of dried yellow wheat flour noodles. Quite similar to chow mein noodles but thicker. You can find this in most Filipino stores specifically labeled as "pancit canton". It's also available in most Asian stores and online like Amazon.
Pork, Chicken or Shrimp
Use interchangeably or use them all at the same time. Yes, you can! Pork cuts you can use are pork belly, butt, or shoulder. For chicken, use thighs for a juicier texture.
Use homemade broth or bouillon cubes for convenience. I love using pork broth from lechon kawali as it's packed with collagen which sticks to the noodles and makes them extra slippery. Note that chicken broth can also be used as an alternative.
For the bouillon, my favorite is shrimp bouillon which adds a nice depth of flavor to the dish.
Pancit canton almost always has cabbage, carrots, and most especially snow peas which gives the dish its distinct flavor. I also love adding Chinese celery (leaf celery) for its earthy aroma.
Pancit Canton Sauce
Here's what you need for the sauce:
- Soy sauce - I use a combination of Filipino soy sauce and dark soy sauce. The dark soy sauce adds a nice depth of color without making the dish too salty.
- Oyster Sauce - for that signature stir-fry flavor.
- Shaoxing Wine - the key ingredient in this sauce which makes it "restaurant-style" pancit canton. I specially love the aroma and the complexity of flavor it gives to any dish.
- Sugar - to balance the salt. You don't need much, just a teaspoon or two.
- Cornstarch - to thicken the sauce and helps the flavor bind to the noodles.
How to make It
My pancit canton recipe has 4 phases. You can definitely use a single pan, wok, or skillet to do it all so no need to worry about washing many dishes.
Here are the instructions:
- Boil the pork until tender - I want the meat really tender so I prefer cooking it separately.
- Stir-fry the vegetables and meat.
- Cooking the noodles in the broth and sauce.
- Combine the noodles and vegetables together and cook for a few minutes to finish.
Secret to Making the Best Pancit Canton
Here are my personal tips and tricks for making pancit canton. Nothing complicated.
Cut the vegetables in uniform sizes
To cook the veggies evenly, cut them in uniform sizes. This especially applies to carrots and celery which take longer to cook. Shred the cabbage or peel then cut into squares if you want it to stand out.
Cooked but crisp vegetables
Stir-fry with a little liquid. Use the sauce mixture made up of broth and the seasonings. A couple of tablespoons is enough to lightly steam them. Say bye-bye to overcooked or undercooked vegetables!
How to cook the noodles
- Bring the broth to a "rapid boil" before adding the canton noodles. This helps the pieces separate from each other and prevent clumping.
- Toss, don't stir - constant stirring can break the noodles and make it mushy. So toss the noodles using two large spoons instead of stirring.
- Taste test to check doneness - this is the only way to prevent overcooking.
- Remove from heat as soon as noodles are cooked but still firm a.k.a. AL DENTE. It will continue to cook and soak up the sauce with the residual heat.
How to make it with Chicken or Beef
Stir-fry chicken or beef in hot oil. Add a few teaspoons of the sauce to add flavor. Remove from the heat and set aside. You can then proceed with the rest of the steps and then cook the noodles.
Other add-ins you can add
Here are other ingredients you can add to pancit canton plus tips on how to prepare them:
- Mushrooms like shitake, shimeji, portobello, button and even wood ear mushrooms.
- Green beans - slice thinly so it cooks with the rest of the ingredients.
- Stalk Celery or Chinese celery (leaf celery) can be use interchangeably. Cook the stalk with the rest of the hard veggies then add the leaves just before the noodles finishes cooking.
- Napa Cabbage - slice into stalks so it cooks quickly. Cook it together with the celery and carrots.
- Broccoli and cauliflower - slice into bite size pieces so it cooks quickly.
- Bell peppers - use red, green or yellow. Add together with the cabbage so it doesn't overcook.
Make it extra special
If you're serving pancit canton for Christmas, New Year, or special occasions, add a fish ball, fish cake, Chinese sausage, fried meatballs, and even squid balls. You can find all these in the hot pot section of Asian supermarkets.
Have leftover lechon kawali? Use it as a topping. I'm sure everyone will enjoy it!
Add chicken or pork liver
To prepare: Slice into serving pieces then marinate in a small amount of vinegar for 10 minutes. Rinse with water. This step lessens its strong earthy smell.
To cook: Add it straight to the boiling sauce right before adding the noodles. Cook and gently toss with the noodles.
Make it meatless
To make a meatless version of this dish, use tofu, plant-based sausages, or plant-based chicken. For the sauce, use vegetable stock and mushroom sauce as a substitute for oyster sauce.
What to Serve with Pancit Canton
Growing up, I always enjoy anything pancit with tasty bread and lumpiang shanghai. Drizzle with calamansi juice, lemon, or lime and my birthday is complete! Cheers to a long life as old folks say.
Try these recipes next...
Pancit Canton with the Most Delicious Sauce
- 200 grams / 8 oz pork belly (see note 1)
- 2 cups water
- 2 tablespoon cooking oil
- 100 grams / 3.5 oz shrimp (raw, peeled and deveined)
- 100 grams /3.5 oz fish ball or fish cake (sliced, optional)
- 3 cloves garlic (chopped, divided)
- 1 medium onion (sliced, divided)
- 1 carrot (julienned)
- 1 cup snow peas (chicharo) (ends trimmed, string removed)
- 2 stalks celery or chinese celery (sliced diagonal strips)
- 3 cups cabbage (shredded)
- 8 oz canton noodles (see note 2)
- 1-2 teaspoon sesame oil
- 2 cups broth from the boiled meat (or hot water)
- 1 piece shrimp bouillon (or chicken bouillon)
- 2 tablespoon soy sauce
- 2 tablespoon oyster sauce
- 1 tablespoon dark soy sauce (see note 3)
- 1 tablespoon Shaoxing wine (see note 4)
- 2 teaspoon sugar
- 2 teaspoon cornstarch
- ground black pepper (to taste)
Meat and Sauce:
- Boil pork in 2 cups of water with ¼ teaspoon salt until tender. Remove the scum as it arises. Once the meat is tender, transfer to a chopping board. Slice it into small strips. Use the broth to make the sauce.
- In a small bowl, mix together sauce ingredients. Stir until bouillon is completely dissolved.2 cups broth from the boiled meat, 1 piece shrimp bouillon, 2 tablespoon soy sauce, 2 tablespoon oyster sauce, 1 tablespoon dark soy sauce, 1 tablespoon Shaoxing wine, 2 teaspoon sugar, 2 teaspoon cornstarch, ground black pepper
- Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a wok or large pan over high heat. Add shrimp and fish ball. Saute until shrimp turns pink, about 1 minute. Transfer to a plate and set aside.
- Add half garlic and half onion. Stir-fry until fragrant. Add pork, carrots, and celery. Cook for 2 minutes. Stir in cabbage, snow peas, and mushrooms. Pour 2 to 3 tablespoons of the sauce mixture. Continue cooking until vegetables are cooked but still crisp. Transfer to a large plate including the liquid if there's any.
- Add 1 tablespoon of the oil in a wok. Add remaining garlic and onion. Stir-fry until translucent. Pour remaining sauce. Bring to a boil.
- Add noodles. Simmer until the bottom side has softened. Using two large spoons flip to the other side and cook until noodles are completely soaked in the sauce. TOSS (don't stir) every now and then until halfway cooked. Taste test noodles to check.
- Add back half of the cooked vegetables, shrimp, and fish ball. Drizzle sesame oil and toss to combine. Once noodles are cooked but still firm, immediately transfer to a serving plate. Top with remaining vegetables. Serve and enjoy!
Recipe Notes and Tips:
- Meat - use pork belly or pork butt/shoulder. For chicken, I prefer using chicken thighs for a juicier texture.
- Canton Noodles - you can find this in most Filipino stores specifically labeled as "pancit canton". It's also available in most Asian stores and online like Amazon. Can be substituted with chow mein noodles.
- Dark Soy Sauce - use 3 tablespoons soy sauce if not available. I use Filipino soy sauce. Regular soy sauce works well too.
- Shaoxing wine - also known as Chinese cooking wine. Available in most Chinese grocery stores and online shops.
- To make with chicken or beef: Stir-fry chicken or beef in hot oil until browned for about 3 to 4 minutes. Add a few teaspoons of the sauce to add flavor. Remove from the heat and set aside. You can then proceed with stir-frying the vegetables and cooking the noodles.
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