Palabok is one of the all-time classic pancit variety every Filipino is familiar with. It is a general term referred to all rice noodle (thick and thin) laced with atchuete colored and seafood flavored oil or sauce topped with hard boiled egg, pork rinds or pork meats, garlic, greens and may or may not have seafood. A very popular derivative of it is Pancit Malabon which uses the thicker rice sticks and is topped with shrimps, squid and other occasionally caught shellfishes. In some of my pancit travels, I got to try some different twists on it; having okoy or shrimp fritters instead of chicharon (Pancit Marilao in Bulacan), making use of spaghetti noodles instead of rice noodles (Spabok in Bataan) and even making use of canned tuna and fried tokwa for Muslim’s variety in Zamboanga.
Punot Restaurant in Iloilo City gave me a truly exceptional experience on their own version – Crispy Palabok. This restaurant, located in Iloilo’s Riverside Boardwalk food strip, offers modern innovation and a little bit of fusion in all of their Ilonggo and Filipino menu items. Bed of perfectly fried noodles is blanketed with their yellow-orange rich anatto sauce in the middle. Slices of shrimps, onions, egg wedges, toasted garlic, scallions and dried alamang completes their Palabok dish. As the noodles itself is already fried, chicharon is no longer used in their recipe. Lean pork slices is added to provide the porky dimension of the dish. A serving is good for sharing of up to four people. It is reasonably priced at only Php.215.00.
Here in Manila, one of the best classic version of the Pancit Palabok may be had at Pancit Center in Pioneer St. Kapitolyo, Pasig. The simplicity of their traditional version has crushed chicharon, fried garlic bits, spring onion and egg slices. Instead of topping the sauce, the thin rice noodles is cooked directly in their signature yellow-orange special sauce to add the concentration of the sauce’s richness in the noodles. For huge parties and celebrations, they offer a Buy 1 Take 1 Palabok promo for their party Bilao (good for 20 persons each) for only Php.799. A real steal of a bargain that may already be shared by to 40 persons. For orders you may contact them at 6342727, 6343090 or 09238011363.
Punot Restaurant: Esplanade Boardwalk, Diversion Road, Iloilo City, Iloilo
Pancit Center: Unit 1 Pioneer St. cor. San Rafael St., Kapitolyo, Pasig City, Metro Manila