Pancit (Filipino Stir-Fried Noodles)


At the Filipino gatherings of my youth, you could always count on ample amounts of pancit, a noodle stir-fry seasoned with oyster sauce and fish sauce. Pancit recipes vary, but they tend to take shape based on whatever you toss in the wok. The goal is not to get a crazy hot sear, but simply to get everything warmed through and cooked. Without the savory crunch of fried garlic, my kitchen wouldn't be the same. Though labor-intensive, this cooking method produces a ridiculously crispy, garlicky fried garlic. Plus, you'll end up with a batch of garlic oil to use in other dishes.

Photo: Kevin J. Miyazaki
Active Time:
50 mins
Total Time:
1 hrs 15 mins
4 to 6


For the Fried Garlic:

  • ½ pound peeled garlic (from 4 medium heads)

  • Neutral oil, for frying

  • Kosher salt

For the Pancit:

  • Salt

  • 1 pound fresh chow mein noodles (pancit Canton) or other fresh thin egg noodles

  • 1 tablespoon plus 3 tablespoons neutral oil

  • .6666 cup chicken stock

  • ¼ cup oyster sauce

  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon fish sauce

  • 2 teaspoons instant dashi powder (such as HonDashi)

  • 1 teaspoon ground annatto

  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic

  • 6 ounces boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 2), cut into 1-inch pieces

  • 6 ounces ground pork

  • ½ pound peeled and deveined large shrimp, roughly chopped

  • 4 ounces mushrooms (any kind), stems discarded, and caps thinly sliced

  • 1 medium carrot, thinly sliced

  • 4 ounces Napa cabbage, leaves halved lengthwise and cut into 2-inch pieces

  • ½ medium red onion, thinly sliced

  • 1 medium tomato, cored, seeded, and cut into strips

  • 3 scallions, dark green tops only, cut into 2-inch pieces

  • Calamansi or lemon wedges, for serving

  • Hot sauce, for serving


  1. Make the fried garlic: Preheat the oven 250°F. Line a baking sheet with paper towels. In a food processor, pulse the garlic until finely minced.

  2. Fill a medium-width, deep-sided pot halfway with water and bring to a boil, then turn off the heat. Fill a large bowl with ice water. Transfer the garlic to a sieve and submerge in the hot water, blanching for about 2 minutes. Remove and dunk the garlic in the ice water until cooled, then drain well and spread evenly onto the lined baking sheet. Bake until the garlic is dry to the touch, 12 to 15 minutes.

  3. While the garlic is drying, empty out the pot and dry well. Fill the pot with at least 2 inches of oil, making sure to leave a few inches of clearance from the top of the pot. Heat the oil over medium-high until it reaches 350°F (use a thermometer).

  4. Have the baking sheet lined with paper towels at the ready. Add the garlic and fry until the bubbles begin to subside and the garlic turns golden and rises to the surface, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer the fried garlic back to the paper towels and let cool completely. Season generously with salt, then transfer to a sealable container and store in a cool, dry place for up to 3 weeks. Reserve the garlic-flavored frying oil for future use.

  5. Make the pancit: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and blanch the fresh noodles according to the package directions (or cook until they're pliable but firm, not more than a minute or two). Drain well and toss with 1 tablespoon of the neutral oil.

  6. In a small bowl, whisk together the stock, oyster sauce, fish sauce, dashi powder, and annatto. In a wok or very large skillet, heat 3 tablespoons of the oil over high heat until shimmering hot. Add the garlic, chicken, and pork and stir-fry until the meat is mostly cooked, about 2 minutes.

  7. Add the shrimp and stir-fry until the shrimp are pink, another 2 minutes. Add the mushrooms and carrot and stir-fry until the mushrooms are softened, about 3 minutes. Add the noodles, cabbage, onion, tomato, and the oyster sauce mixture and stir-fry until the noodles are heated through and the sauce is absorbed, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and toss in the scallion greens. Transfer to a serving plate. Garnish with some of the fried garlic and serve with citrus wedges and hot sauce.


Adapted with permission from Cook Real Hawai'i by Sheldon Simeon and Garrett Snyder, copyright © 2021. Published by Clarkson Potter/Publishers, an imprint of Penguin Random House. Photography copyright: Kevin J. Miyazaki © 2021.

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