Rice noodles with chicken and spring onion

Rice noodles with chicken and spring onion

Pancit bihon

7000 Islands
Jana Liebenstein

I once read: ‘Where there are noodles, there are Filipinos.’ Pancit is everyday food as much as fiesta fare. In my family’s hometown, my Tito Marlon and Tita Merlene own Blossoms, a popular restaurant and turo-turo across the road from the local high school. Students pile in during recess and lunch, even between classes for a quick snack (merienda). Pancit is their best seller.

While pancit bihon is the most common noodle dish, there are innumerable variations, including this classic spin-off, known as pancit puti for the white (puti) colour of the noodles and chicken.


Quantity Ingredient
300g chicken breasts
4 whole black peppercorns
250g rice vermicelli
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
5 garlic cloves, crushed
1 onion, finely chopped
500ml chicken stock
60ml fish sauce
2 tablespoons roughly chopped coriander leaves, plus extra sprigs to serve
5 spring onions, thinly sliced on the diagonal
kalamansi or lemon wedges, to serve


  1. Bring a saucepan of water to a simmer over medium heat. Add the chicken and peppercorns, reduce the heat to low and cook for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow the chicken to cool in the stock for 20 minutes. Remove, then shred the chicken.
  2. Meanwhile, place the vermicelli in a large heatproof bowl and cover with boiling water. Set aside for 5 minutes to soak. Drain well.
  3. Heat the vegetable oil in a wok or large deep frying pan over medium heat. Add two-thirds of the garlic and cook for 30 seconds, or until fragrant. Add the onion and cook for 4 minutes, stirring until soft. Increase the heat to high, add the stock and bring to the boil. Add the vermicelli and cook for 3 minutes, tossing occasionally with two wooden spoons, or until the liquid has evaporated. Remove from the heat, then add the fish sauce, coriander, chicken and half of the spring onion, and toss to combine. Season with salt flakes and freshly cracked black pepper.
  4. Transfer the noodles to a serving platter and scatter over the remaining garlic and spring onion and extra coriander. Serve with kalamansi.

What is it?

  • It is no surprise that the most ubiquitous noodle in the Philippines is made from rice. Also known as rice vermicelli or thin rice stick noodles, bihon is derived from rice flour and water, and is common throughout Asian cuisine. It is widely available from Asian food stores. Pancit bihon (and sotanghon) is also colloquially known as pancit guisado, an allencompassing name for noodles that have been tossed or sautéed.
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