I’ve actually heard about this latest food craze from my health-conscious Filipina friend. Even the UN gave this superfood an international year to commemorate its awesomeness. My friend also swears by it as a great alternative to rice, which we Filipinos can hardly live without.
But since I moved here in Europe, I’ve already started eating rice occasionally, once or twice a week as a matter of fact. I’m now chowing down more on other carbs such as potatoes, pasta, or noodles.
Yet in a few occasions too, I’d just simply eat salad or vegetables. So coming across this new grain (or seed) did give me another healthier option.
The term pancit is actually derived from Hokkien Chinese word, pian i sit (便ê食; Pe̍h-ōe-jī: piān-ê-si̍t or Chinese: 便食; pinyin: biàn shí). So obviously, it’s the Chinese who introduced noodles to us and since then we have adopted these into our local cuisine. With over 30 variations of pancit available all over the country, you’ll also never run out of finding these panciterias or shops specializing in noodles.
Interestingly, like rice, we Filipinos can eat pancit at any time of the day. We can chow it down for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. Like me, most would eat pancit as it is, but for others, they would even mix it with rice, or with some leftover dish, or simply with dried fish and pickles.
Pancit is perhaps amongst the easiest Filipino dishes that I can cook while living here in Europe for several years now. For one, it’s very easy to find noodles of different kinds – vermicelli noodles in particular – in most Asian grocery stores.
Pancit is a very traditional and popular cuisine found in majority of Filipino restaurants, and certainly at dinner tables of Filipinos everywhere. Filipina mothers would whip up pancit for family gatherings.
Most especially during birthday celebrations, it has to be sure that the pancit noodles are kept long; for it’s been superstitiously believed that it represents long life and good health. In most Chinese restaurants in the Philippines, they often have “birthday noodles” as part of their special menus.
It’s pretty obvious how I like pasta very much, and it’s amongst the dozens of reasons why I was eager to visit Italy. The kind of pasta I enjoyed much as a kid however, is not as the same as the Italian’s.
Pinoy pasta is quite different.
Our version of spaghetti bolognese has the usual ingredients, yet we add some extras like hot dogs, sugar and banana ketchup that all in all, give a bit of sweet taste. My favorite carbonara has a creamy white sauce topped with ham and bacon; a balanced mix of all-purpose cream, cream of mushroom soup and evaporated milk defines it.
Known as witloof in Flemish, which literally means white leaf in English, Belgian endive is a small head of ivory-colored, bittered leaves that are cultivated from chicory root. The technique for cultivating endives was discovered by accident in the 1850s in Belgium. An interesting story my husband shared, it happened when a farmer hid his chicory crops in his barnyard from tax collectors – by burying them under the ground! After several days, the farmer discovered these blanched leaves sprouting out from the soil.