Lola Conchita's Pancit Palabok/Malabon by Queenie Martinez

Pancit Malabon aka Pancit Palabok is my most favorite Filipino dish. While I have tried many recipes, like all dishes, no one else's version will ever match up to my Lola's (grandmother). Perhaps like all grandmothers' recipes, the ingredients do not come with measurements. The directions I was given are "until it looks" or "it tastes right". Fortunately, I was able to get her recipe before she moved on to her next life adventure. While I feel like I do her proud when I make this dish, it will never ever taste like when she makes it. And maybe part of that is because she made it.


* Ground Pork

* Minced or Chopped Garlic

* Pork or Shrimp Stock (bouillon cubes work

or save your pork bones or shrimp shells

and make your own stock)

* Achuete (Annatto seeds or powder) for color

* Scallions – sliced (set aside some for garnish)

* Napa Cabbage – sliced

* Pork Rinds - grind or put in bag and pound (set aside some for garnish)

* Hardboiled Eggs – sliced (as topping during presentation or during serving)

* Shrimp - cook and slice (mix in and save some for garnish)

* Thick Asian Rice Noodles (thicker than spaghetti noodles)

* Calamansi aka Calamondin (Philippine Limes[or Lemons for substitute)]

* Fish Sauce

* Ground Pepper

* Corn Starch if needed for thickening sauce (mix with water to create a slurry)




  1. Soak achuete in large bowl of warm water to extract color.
  2. Mix some fish sauce, calamansi, and pepper in a bowl and set aside for flavoring.
  3. Boil a large pot of water.


  1. Sauté ground pork and garlic in a little bit of vegetable oil. Save some of the oil to be used for flavoring later.
  2. Mix until pork is separated and not in big clumps.
  3. Add pork or shrimp stock a little at a time until desired thickness is achieved (similar to a Bolognese).
  4. Add water from achuete until desired color is achieved (not as red as a Bolognese).
  5. Add cornstarch slurry if becomes too soupy.
  6. Let simmer for 15-20 minutes.

While pork is cooking….

  1. Soak noodles in warm water until no longer dry and are separated. Drain and set aside. DO NOT let soak for a long time otherwise, it will be too soft and lose shape.
  2. Add to the boiling water, noodles and cabbage and let cook for less than 5 minutes. Stir to ensure they don't stick together but not aggressively so that the noodles do not get mushy. Noodles will also cook more when the sauce is incorporated.


  1. Drain noodles and cabbage and place into large pan (large enough to make it easy to mix).
  2. Add the sauce, fish sauce and calamansi mixture, ground pork rinds, scallions, pork, and garlic oil a little at a time until desired pancit consistency (all noodles are coated and not too soupy or dry) and desired taste is achieved.
  3. Mix using chopsticks or anything that will not destroy the structure of the noodles.
  4. Once desired taste and consistency are achieved, arrange shrimp, ground pork rinds, scallions and eggs on top.
  5. Individual servings can add more fish sauce and calamansi sauce as desired for more saltiness and citrus taste.

I hope you enjoy this family recipe! - Queenie Martinez 

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