Efuven is one of the least known noodles in the whole of the Philippines. It is said that the unique name came from the noodle’s inventor. It is a thin variety of wheat noodles that is fried delicately similar to Pancit Canton noodles. Being a regional variety, it is available primarily in and around Bacolod and Iloilo at times it may also be seen in some weekend bazaars in the Metro.
My initial encounter with this particular noodle was on my first visit of Iloilo in 2011. I was able to visit a small house-slash-noodle factory in Jaro making this specific noodle. Efuven stands out from other noodles as having thin and flat white-colored strands. It is a bit expensive (ranging from 50-60Php per 250grams) compared with other noodle varieties primarily due to the premium ingredient used to it being first class all-purpose flour. They said that it is also the reason why it is naturally colored white. Most if not all Ilonggos have had already encountered this noodle however they are simply known in the region as “pancit guisado”. Much like how most Manilenos would call the usual Pancit Canton or Pancit Bihon. Also, Efuven has become a very versatile staple in Ilonggo’s diet as they are also using it as pasta to be topped or cooked in tomato sauce ala Spaghetti or in cream ala Carbonara. Some also use it in soups such as lomi. As guisado it is usually topped with lots of vegetables. The noodles may also be served fried – crispy noodles style.
On my 2011 Iloilo travel, I was able to taste Efuven in Carlito’s, a local café well-known for their pizza. Their version of the Efuven Guisado is saucy and cooked with lots of veggies. What stands out in the flavor is the slices of red bell peppers.
Last year on a family getaway to Guimaras, we had lunch at the famous Breakthrough restaurant as a side trip. They have only the tastiest and freshest seafood from scallops to oysters, abalone to crabs and various local fishes. Being the self-proclaimed Pancit King, what caught my attention on their menu is the Seafood Efuven. I would say it was a bit disappointing having only a few bits of shrimps and squid as garnish. It was clearly overshadowed by their actual seafood offerings on their menu. The Php.205 serving is good for up to three persons.
Finally on my Bacolod trip earlier this year, I was able to try Bar21/Restaurant21’s Efuven Guisado. Their version is more on the soupy side and is well balanced with 50% noodles and 50% vegetables with toppings of pork and shrimp slices. An order good for a single person is for Php.125.00.
Here in Manila, Efuven Guisado may be tried at Pancit Center in Kapitolyo and Rosario, Pasig. Their efuven noodles is cooked silky smooth with crunch from the fresh vegetable toppings. Upon request, they may also serve the noodles crispy fried topped with the same meat and vegetable stir fried mixture. Price for solo order starts at only Php.90 and is available for orders up to 20-25 persons with their party size bilao for Php.970.00. For more info, check them out at http://www.pancitcenter.com.
Carlito’s: National Highway, Pavia, Iloilo
Breakthrough Restaurant: Sto. Nino Arevalo, Iloilo City, Iloilo
Bar21: 21st St. corner Lacson St., Bacolod City, Negros Occidental
Pancit Center: Unit 1 Pioneer St. cor. San Rafael St., Kapitolyo, Pasig City, Metro Manila