Friday, May 18, 2012

Pancit for Mom

MANILA-  Mother’s Day is the busiest day in the entire year for restaurants.  Why?  Well, everyone takes their mom out for lunch or dinner.  This year, my over-eager aunt (my mom's sister) pressed my sister and I about our plans for mother’s day. My sister sounded out our short list of restaurants to my mom. But since mom is clever, she suggested we just eat at home. “The service will be bad…,” Mom pointed out to my sister. My mom was very wise. She knew the restaurants would be packed. Service would be bad. My dad wouldn’t tolerate bad service. And, it wouldn’t be a good dining experience. So, we devised plan B.

Mom looking lovingly at her Prawn Mee in Singapore

I tried to brainstorm on a suitable menu for mom. It then occurred to me why not spoil mom and give her what she loved best, Pancit. Chinese traders have been in the Philippines many centuries ago, even before the Spanish colonizers arrived. One of their lasting influence is Pancit, or noodles. Filipinos eat noodles on special occasions. On birthdays, Filipinos believe it will ensure long life. Noodles have become a staple for lunch, dinner, or even an afternoon snack. 

For my mother, any day was a good occasion for Pancit. Oh how she loved noodles. Her father was an avid golfer. After a long day at the greens, he would return home bringing noodles for his eldest daughter who loved noodles.  So I figured, we will have a Pancit Buffet. My parents tend to be set in their ways, dining in their favorite restaurants only. In the past months, I’ve tasted and heard about three good Pancit dishes. 

Crab Pancit, an appetizer in Wooden Spoon (sorry, photo taken on a mobile phone)

The first one is the Crab Pancit from Sandy Daza’s new restaurant, Wooden Spoon, along Katipunan. The Bihon (rice noodles) are deep fried, until they puff up into a big massive pile of white crispy noodles. He then tops it with a crab egg sauce. Eaten hot, it is a delightful sensation of crunch and the comforting goodness of crab and egg.  It is not typically Chinese or Filipino. It is simply Sandy’s innovation or something my own clever kitchen goddess of a mom can whip up. 

Ado's Pancit Bihon, thanks Tita Nonny for taking care of getting this pancit (Photo taken on a mobile phone)

The second one is Ado’s. I recall eating Ado’s last year in my friend Abby’s birthday. As you can’t really predict when guests arrive for your party, this dish works really work well for that. Ado’s bilao (basket platter) of noodles remain moist even when cold. The platter is heavy with so many ingredients tossed into these noodles: cabbage, chicharon (pork rinds), gizzards, and camaron rebusado (shrimp deep-fried in a batter). 

Luyong Pancit Canton (photo taken on a mobile phone)

The last one is another recommendation from my friend, Abby.  She once mentioned the noodles from Luyong, along Esteban Abada, also in Quezon City. So the day before Mother’s Day I placed my order for three servings of Pancit Canton, stir-fried egg noodles topped with vegetables and shrimps. To make it extra special, I asked for Lechon, the Filipino's favorite roast pork.

While surely it was a feast of carb-overload, mom was thrilled. First, she did not have to prepare this Sunday meal for our clan. Second, it was a spread of her favorite dish. “You mean I get to have a Pancit Buffet?,” she asked me giddy like a little kid. I steamed a large fish, as Chinese restaurants would. I stirred in soy, ginger, green onions and some sesame oil. Then, I fried some Lumpiang Ubod. Isabel kindly helped me set up the meal. She added the classic Max Fried Chicken, which goes perfectly with the noodle dishes. 

Mom’s verdict: Oh how she loved the Crab Pancit. Kudos, Sandy! Thanks for accommodating my take-away request, while you were busy tending to a fully booked restaurant. I did not personally know Sandy Daza. I do admit when I was younger I watched and even taped the weekly cooking show with Sandy, his mom and sister on VHS. I also styled and wrote a Christmas story for Good Housekeeping Philippines, eons ago with the cooking icons in Manila. Sandy was one of them, along with Heny Sison, Sylvia Reynoso-Gala and Dorothy Ferreria. I recall cooking and styling Arroz ala Cubana for Sandy in his home.  I just explained to Sandy my Pancit party for my mom the day before. On the day, itself he warmly greeted me and suggested I add some milk when I warmed up the sauce. He warned me it won’t be the same as eating it in the restaurant. I agreed.

Mom was happy. She was right. Restaurants were packed to the brim last Sunday. I knew that for a fact when I picked up my order, all seats were taken in Sandy's resto.  

Often our moms thoughtfully feed us our favorites. If my mom knew I liked Avocados or soy milk or mocha cake, she got it for me all the time. This was our one chance to indulge mom her love for noodles. To all the moms, a belated Mother’s Day. I hope it was delicious! 

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1 comment:

  1. Hello Maida ... will gladly take photos for you anytime. Will attend a "special" session on photography on Wed. Excited. ;-) Cancelled my trip to Baguio for this. Alos Your Mom had said that the weather may not be right for driving up to Baguio alone. Take care less you fall again.


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