Pancit Palabok is a delicious Filipino noodle dish topped with shrimp gravy, shrimp, smoked fish flakes, pork cracklings, and eggs. Hearty and savory, it’s perfect as a light meal or anytime snack.
Pancit palabok is another example of the many noodle dishes in Filipino cuisine. But unlike the stir-fried bihon guisado or the broth-filled sotanghon soup, which have Chinese influences, the former is said to be uniquely Filipino.
The dish has three parts. The rice noodles are first cooked in boiling water and then smothered with a flavorful, orange-hued shrimp sauce and a delectable mishmash of toppings before serving.
As you can see from the recipe below, pancit palabok can be a very elaborate process with a myriad of ingredients. You can make it as fancy as you like and load it up with all the toppings or make it a simple affair with two or three of your favorite mix-ins.
The dish’s foundation is a luscious orange-hued sauce or gravy made of shrimp stock, annatto seeds, and cornstarch.
I suggest preparing the toppings first, as you will need the rendered fat from the bacon, the oil used in frying garlic, and the liquid used in cooking the shrimp to bring an extra depth of flavor to the sauce.
- Smoked fish flakes (tinapa)
- Crushed pork cracklings (chicharon)
- Crisp bacon or chopped lechon kawali
- Poached shrimp
- Fried garlic bits or crispy fried shallots
- Hard-boiled eggs
- Green onions
- Steamed squid, scallops, or mussels
- Fried tofu cubes
- Ground pork or diced pork belly