10 December 2010

Pancit Overload

photo courtesy of dbgg1979
Pancit should be named national snack or national celebration food or national something. I mean, we've allowed Manny Pacquiao to be officially tagged as the Pambansang Kamao (National Fist--sounds funny in English really) why not include the ever-present noodle dish in the list of national thingies, right?

It seems to be present in all corners of the archipelago in different noodle varieties, flavors and plating. My Dad comes from a province where they have one called pancit habhab with "habhab" being roughly translated as "wolfing it down"--from a piece of banana leaf no less, after paying the streetfood vendor plying it. That's not all, one can further flavor it with a couple of dashes of local vinegar shaken out from a small bottle nesting on the vendor's cart. Of course, you can get pancit habhab from any of the panciteria (pancit joint/outlet/restaurant) in the area. Yes, they'll serve it to you on a banana leaf as well but don't expect the panciteria staff to include a fork or any flatware in your place setting unless you specifically request it. After all, you're supposed to "habhab" the pancit, right? Right.

But with the pancit being highly popular and common, I definitely have my days when I shudder at the sight of a plate of pancit. Don't get me wrong. I love pancit...ok I simply like pancit especially the bihon guisado type with lots of veggie leaves. I'm also partial to pancit luglug and pancit palabok (I think these two are related or very similar). But there are days when this national noodle dish (there! I've named it myself.) gives me the heebee jeebies. One can only get a plate too many from neighbors and church members on special occasions like birthdays, most especially during town fiestas and of course the holidays...like Christmas! I think it's a close second to the Purefoods Fiesta Ham that's touted to be the "star of the Noche Buena" feast. Then again, maybe not. It's just the safe back-up food plan since it's an all-time favorite.

So what's the point of this pancit ranting? It's this: Please people! Enough already on the pancit overkill! I mean, let's make the dish real special again by not thinking it up and actually serving it every time a baby is christened or your son gets top honors in his class. And how about serving the not so common recipes for it during the holidays, huh? I'm dreading the thought of my neighbors or at least a couple of them might knock on my door and hand a neighborly token of the Yuletide season in the form of a plate of pancit. My kids aren't so hot about it. Oh they'll have a serving or two, especially my daughter. But I end up trying to eat a lot of what's left because I hate food wastage. Pity my ever growing waistline and cellulite-ridden thighs! All those carbs heading to those areas.

On second thought, maybe I don't have a point since I'd probably be shouted down by 90 plus million of my countrymen who adore and savor the ever-present and iconic pancit.