On my third visit of Kong Kee restaurant in as many days in Iloilo, one may assume that it is already the Pancit King’s favorite pancit place in Iloilo. On contrary, I simply love trying out their full range of pancit dishes – dishes they invented, modified and named as their own such as the “No Name” and the infamous Ilonggo Pancit Sun Yat Sen (please see my previous post here). On this visit, I get to try Pancit Peking.
Upon ordering, the attendants cannot seemed to explain what it actually is. One of the waitress said it as yet again another variety of Pancit Canton while an elder lady server said that it is flat noodles cooked dry that will require at least 30 minutes of waiting for preparation. On this waiting time, I cannot help myself but google Pancit Peking on my phone – to which no direct result was found. Then googling for “Peking Noodles”, gave me images of Chinese stir fried noodles mostly with ground meat and scallions. After 40 minutes or so, my order was served and surprise surprise – it does not look anything like the images of Peking noodles online. Flat white noodles, about a centimeter in width, cooked with very thin slices of beef, a few slices of carrots and petchay in a very gingery mixture. This guisado noodles is not exactly “dry” as described nor it is saucy. I cannot say that I dislike the dish but somehow I still find it really interesting. For one, beef is not a usual topping for Filipino guisado noodles as it usually served as a soup (Beef Mami). On the northern province of Cagayan, ground beef or their even more abundant ground cara-beef is topped on their infamous Batil Patong (more on this on a future post). Another curious thing about this dish is the noodle itself – the chewy texture is more of a pasta than that of pancit. I tried looking for a similar noodle on groceries then I found one – it is called “Ho Fan” – Ho Fan which is a popular variety of rice noodle used mainly in Thai recipes is actually different from the variety of Ho Fan used in Pancit Peking. Thai Ho Fan is a little thinner in width and a little translucent compared to the whiter ones which turns out to be vermicelli Ho Fan. Reading on the cooking instruction gave me a clearer identification that it is indeed the same noodle – it requires to be soaked in water for at least 30 minutes before cooking.
Aside from Pancit Sun Yat Sen, Toasted Miswa and Pancit Peking there are more interesting pancit varieties in their menu. Unfortunately their staff are unable to explain and differentiate one from the other clearly. In cases such as this, extensive product knowledge is a must. Images of these noodles in their menu might also help this concern just as how one may be guided in choosing food in Chinese restaurants in Hong Kong or Taiwan.