The Happy Home Cook: Pancit Canton

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Pancit Canton (Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Ann Quirino)

Pancit Canton (Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Ann Quirino)

Pancit Canton is a basic stir fry noodle dish which is the Filipino version of Chinese fried noodles cooked in a skillet or wok. This is a versatile entrée that can stand alone for a family meal or can be served alongside other party dishes for a big event. Some versions I have shared on the blog are stir fried with chicken and pork slices. This one I made for my son has vegetables and seafood in tamari sauce and a low sodium soy sauce, which were his preference. This recipe was adapted from a previous blog post. Serves 4.


1/2 pound, medium or large-sized, peeled and washed, heads removed - fresh shrimps 

about 1 to 2 Tablespoons - lemon or calamansi juice (the Filipino lime) - juice from 1 large lemon or fresh calamansi juice (from Asian markets)

2 Tablespoons - vegetable oil

4 cloves, minced - garlic

1 large, chopped - onion

1 cup chopped - celery

2 cups - organic vegetable broth 

1 Tablespoon (from Asian markets or specialty groceries) - Tamari sauce

1 large, peeled and sliced, about 1 cup - carrot

1 cup sliced in 1-inch pieces - green beans

2 pieces, peeled, sliced in 1-inch pieces - chayote (or sayote in the Philippines) 

12 ounces, or about 3 cups when cooked and expands (from Asian markets) - Pancit Canton dried noodles

1 teaspoon - freshly ground black pepper powder

1/8 teaspoon (from Asian markets) - sesame oil 

1/4 cup, for slurry to add to broth - water

2 Tablespoons, for slurry - cornstarch

1 Tablespoon, for slurry (from Asian markets) - soy sauce ( low sodium)

1/2 cup, for garnish - scallions or green onions

1/4 cup, for side dipping sauce - soy sauce (low sodium)

juice from 1 lemon or 1 Tablespoon fresh calamansi juice (the Filipino lime, from Asian markets), for side dipping sauce


  • Prepare the shrimps by peeling and washing. Pre-marinate shrimps in lemon or calamansi juice. Cover and refrigerate for 20 minutes (do not marinate longer than this).

  • In a large skillet, over medium high heat, add the vegetable oil. Stir fry the garlic, onions, celery .

  • Add the fresh shrimps  to the skillet.  Cook for 5 minutes.

  • Add the vegetable broth and tamari sauce. Bring to a boil. This should take about 3 minutes. Lower heat to a slow simmer and stir. Add the carrots and chayote, and cook for 5 minutes. Then add the green beans. Cook for 2 minutes more.

  •  Add the dried canton noodles. Mix all ingredients well, making sure the broth coats the noodles so it can soften. The broth will seem plenty at first, but as the canton noodles soften and expand, the liquid gets absorbed and diminishes. Season with black pepper powder and sesame oil. Cover and allow the noodles to cook. This should take about 6 minutes  till noodles are soft. Do not overcook or the noodles will get mushy.

  • In a separate small bowl, mix together the water, low sodium soy sauce and cornstarch. Add this mixture to the broth so it will thicken. Increase heat slightly till the broth comes to a boil and becomes thick in about 3 minutes.

  • Garnish with chopped scallions.  Serve piping hot.

  • Serve on the side: a dipping sauce of  low sodium soy sauce combined with the juice of a lemon (or calamansi, the Filipino lime).

  • Cook's Comments: Pancit Canton is a versatile dish. In addition to shrimps, you can add chicken and pork slices. If available, add other vegetables, tofu or mushrooms desired.

  • Recipe Notes: Although the photo of the dried noodles package on this post shows the content was 16 ounces, I only used 12 ounces for this recipe, which yielded the right amount of servings for our family of 4.

  • Ingredient notes: Tamari is a Japanese gluten-free soy sauce made with 100% soy  and contains no wheat. It is just as flavorful as regular salt and when I use it, minimizes the amount of salt needed in a recipe. If not available, use low-sodium or regular soy sauce as a substitute.

First published in

Elizabeth Ann Quirino

Elizabeth Ann Quirino

Elizabeth Ann Quirino, based in New Jersey, is a journalist, food writer and member of the International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP). She blogs about Filipino home cooking and culinary travels to the Philippines on her site

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