Have you tried Pansit Cabagan (PANsi Cabagan)? If you travel up north this is one delicious noodle dish that you must try! It’s surprising that I never got to  blog about this native delicacy when in fact my hometown Cabagan is its origin. Travelers would often drop by our town to savor the unique taste of our very own pancit!

The History of Pancit Cabagan

I had the chance to access the study conducted by the Socio-cultural and Higher Education Research Department of Isabela State University and I got to know some facts about the origin of “Pansi Cabagan” which I’ll be sharing with you today.

Like any other noodle dish in the Philippines, Pansit Cabagan is of Chinese origin. According to the research conducted, in the year 1887, a group of Chinese traders who originally came from Amoy (now Xiamen), China landed in Aparri, Cagayan. One of the traders was said to be responsible for introducing pansit in Cabagan. His name is Sia Liang also known as Dianga. Dianga married a Filipina named Augustina Deray Laddaran, who established a panciteria in Cabagan during the pre-war period.

Dianga made his own “miki” (uncooked noodles). He used first class wheat flour. The dough was mixed with lime (lejia), derived from guava fuel, kneading it with a long and strong rolling pin that is attached to the wall. After the dough is flattened, it is thinly sliced using “campy” or the Chinese butcher’s knife to form the noodles. The original Pancit Cabagan cooked by Dianga was said to have the following ingredients: “hibi” (small dried shrimps) or pork, bagoong, soy sauce, cooking oil and pork broth.

When one of his workers in the restaurant learned and mastered the “miki” production, he put up his own “miki” outlet and “pansiteria”, which was later on followed by other people in the municipality.

During World War II, Dianga’s restaurant got burnt. However,  Dianga’s daughter, Potenciana Sia-Villa, opened a new restaurant after the war of which was called The New Life Restaurant. Some years after, a few more restaurants that sell Pancit Cabagan were established. These were Mary’s Reastaurant, Luring’s Panciteria, Ferring’s Restaurant and Evergreen Restaurant. None of these restaurants are still open these days, but new ones are established. Nowadays, restaurants in Cabagan  that specialize in pancit are Aling Kikay’s, Josie’s and Felecita’s. These restaurants have  their own version of  Pancit Cabagan which are all worth-trying.

The New Pancit Cabagan Recipe

Photo credits to Panlasang Pinoy

As the years passed, the recipe of Pancit Cabagan has changed, and has now gained popularity in different parts of Luzon. The new recipe has added garnish such as crunchy “‘lechon carajay’,  and boiled quail eggs. Here’s a sample recipe of the new version that you might want to try at home:

1 kg “miki” (noodles)
1/2 clove garlic
2 pcs onion (medium-sized)
1/4 kg. pork
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tbsps. fish sauce
1/4 kg. cabbage
1 pc. green or red bell pepper
1 pc. carrot
1/4 cup chopped leeks or “kuchay”
1 tbsp. ground pepper
1/4 kg lechon kawali
20 pcs. boiled quail eggs
12-14 cups broth of pork bones

Procedure for the New Pancit Cabagan Recipe

  1. Saute garlic and pork. Cook until brown.
  2. Add soy sauce, stir and simmer for a few minutes. Add the pork broth.
  3. Boil and add the “miki” and vegetables.
  4. Simmer for three minutes.
  5. Season to taste.
  6. Serve and garnish with “kuchay”, sliced onions, quial eggs, and lechon kawali.

For diners who want to add taste to their Pancit Cabagan, they put additional sauce– soy sauce with chili and chopped onion plus freshly squeezed calamansi juice.

Would you like to visit my hometown Cabagan and try our famous Pancit Cabagan? I highly recommend Josie’s Panciteria. The owner is a friend of my mom and we are regulars of her restaurant!  Josie’s Restaurant is  right across Milagros District Hospital along the National Highway (her daughter has a new branch in Garita, Cabagan).

How do you get to Cabagan, Isabela?

  • Take a flight from Manila to Tuguegarao. From the airport, take a tricycle and tell the rider to take you to the bus or van terminal  going to Cabagan, Isabela.
  • Take a bus from Manila to Tuguegarao. Tell the conductor to drop you off in Cabagan, Isabela.

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