Pancit Palabok is a hearty Filipino noodle dish that is flavorful and saucy! This recipe is made easy by using simpler ingredients without sacrificing the flavors at all!
What is Pancit Palabok?
Pancit Palabok is another popular and favorite pancit or noodle dish among Filipinos. It is made of rice noodles with thick yellow-orange sauce, and various toppings like shrimps, flakes of smoked fish, pork chicharon, hard-boiled eggs, spring onions, squid rings, fried garlic, among other things.
Unlike other Pancit varieties, like Bihon and Canton, where all ingredients are tossed together while being cooked, Pancit Palabok is prepared by parts and then assembled at the end when ready to serve.
A lot of people mistake it for Pancit Luglug and Pancit Malabon. These are regional varieties of Palabok with a few differences in ingredients and preparations.
What is the Palabok sauce made of?
Traditionally, the sauce is prepared by boiling whole shrimps to make a stock and use that as a base for the sauce. I also know some who use the fat, meat, and juice extracted from crabs and shrimp heads. The results are so flavorful and delicious! But since I like keeping things quick and easy, this Pancit Palabok recipe was simplified using the most basic ingredients but is still equally yummy.
I usually use fish sauce and shrimp cubes instead which cuts down the preparation and cooking time and is more economical.
The Pancit Palabok Toppings
Another plus point for this dish is how customizable it can be! You can assemble it to your liking by choosing the toppings that you like only. Aside from hard-boiled eggs, shrimps, and smoked fish, you can also use squid rings, ground pork, chicken meat, mussels, and tofu.
Foxy Tips when making Pancit Palabok at home
- Make sure to check on your rice noodle while cooking! Unlike other noodles, these are prone to overcooking which will result in mushy noodles. Just cook until they are pliant but still firm.
- Different brands of annatto powder can have varying effects. Some can have stronger coloring effects even with just a tablespoon. Start with a small amount first and add more as needed.
- For any leftovers, store the noodles, sauce, and toppings separately if you can. Put them in airtight containers and keep them in the fridge for up to a week. Reheat the noodles by soaking them in warm water.
Here are more noodle recipes that you can make at home!
Easy Pancit Palabok Recipe
- 500 grams rice noodles
- 3 tablespoons oil
- 2-3 gloves garlic - minced
- 1 medium onion - chopped
- 300 grams ground pork
- 3 tablespoons fish sauce
- 1 ½ tablespoons annatto powder (food color can be used, but lesser) see Note 1
- 4 cups water -including shrimp stock
- 1 piece shrimp bouillon cube (pork cube if shrimp is not available)
- ½ cup flour
- 1 cup water
- 1 teaspoon ground pepper
- 4 hard boiled eggs - cut into slices
- 1 cup shrimps - boiled or steamed (reserve stock for the sauce)
- 1 cup chicharon (pork rind) - crushed
- ¼ cup spring onions chopped
- ½ cup smoked fish (tinapa) (if available)
- 8-10 pieces calamansi - cut into halves (or lemon)
- Soak the rice noodles in water for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, boil enough water in a pot. Once the noodles are done soaking, drain them from the cold water and then submerge in boiling water for a few minutes just until they are cooked but still firm, about 3-5 minutes. Once cooked, drain the water and transfer to a container or large bowl and set aside.
- In a saucepan over medium heat, saute garlic and onion in oil until tender. Add the ground pork and fish sauce and cook for 5-10 minutes or until all bits are cooked. Stir often to get rid of big lumps.
- Dilute the annatto powder in the 4 cups of water and add this to the pork. Add the shrimp bouillon and let simmer for some minutes until it starts to boil.
- In a small bowl combine flour and 1 cup of water to make a slurry. Add this to the pot and stir until the sauce becomes thick. Season with ground pepper and then turn off the heat.
- Pour three-quarters of the sauce into the noodles and mix until all noodles are covered with sauce. Transfer the noodles to a serving dish. Pour remaining sauce on top. Arrange toppings on top, finishing with the crushed chicharon and spring onions. Place the calamansi or lemon wedges on the sides or in another smaller bowl for squeezing. Serve while warm.
We originally posted this recipe in July 2015. We've updated it in February 2021 to include new photos, more tips, and a recipe video.