PANCIT BATIL POTUN (Pancit Batil Patung)

Popularly known as Pancit Batil Patung, this noodle delicacy is very popular in Tuguegarao City, in the Province of Cagayan. No tourists are allowed to leave the city without partaking of this very filling noodle delicacy.

It is made from egg noodles and the “potun” which is the Ybanag word for “Patung”  in Pilipino means putting one on top of the other.

In cooking the dish, a big batch of bone stock is boiled for hours prior to the cooking of pancit.

The toppings for the original Pancit Batil Potun is ground carabao’s meat or carabeef and egg.

BP

The taste of the pancit is better when cooking using a wok, cooked over the local “Pugon”  a wood-fired local oven. The high heat makes for a fast cooking style so that when served, the pancit is piping hot.

Using a cast iron wok, the local name is “silyasi”, and using high heat,  ground meat is sautéed in garlic and with local soy sauce, salt and black pepper to taste. Take note that there is no onions yet.

The cook sets aside the meat in one side of the wok while carefully pouring the bone broth, adding more soy sauce, salt and black pepper. That is why it is necessary that the broth should be boiling in a big kettle beside the wok because when the broth is poured in the wok the noodles immediately gets in the wok with the boiling broth to avoid the meat from  joining the broth yet.

As the noodles are cooking and the meat gets tender on the side, the eggs are cracked on another side of the wok. The number of eggs will depend on the number of orders. The cooking is so well timed that the cook  knows just by looking at the noodles and the broth has been absorbed in the cooking. The bite of the noodles will guarantee a good pancit.

In a somewhat deep plate with a pair of spoon and fork on it, the noodles are scooped using a locally designed ladle with wooden handle. On top of the noodles is the ground meat, followed by the pouch egg.

In  stylized version of the Pancit Batil Potun, some use MSG for flavoring but the local taste buds already know the difference having tasted fresh ground carabao’s meat cooked with the pancit and bone broth.

Other panciterias add fried pork belly, sausages, chorizo, chicharon and vegetables like sprouted mongo and patola. Still others bring along some pork liver to give to the cook as additional toppings.

The pancit is served with the sliced onions, either red or white, depending on what is in season with calamansi and blended with soy sauce as the customer wishes. Others put local chilis with vinegar. The customers can have as much of all the onions, calamansi and chilis.

In a little while comes  the “Batil”, a cup of soup made with  eggs scrambled on the bone broth cooked in the same wok where the pancit was cooked.

Customers can choose to eat the pancit in one form or another, others mix everything including the calamansi, fresh onions and chilis, while still others wait for the  “Batil” and pour half of it over the pancit making it look like a lomi.

The price of Pancit Batil Potun now varies depending on how many toppings you want to have in your order, but usually the best original local version is the cheapest.

The making of the egg noodles has also become a tourist attraction which is being produced by artisan noodle makers in some Panciteria’s around the city. It involves the vigorous mixing of flour and  water followed by  the rolling of a bamboo over the dough. The  pressure exerted in the rolling of the bamboo can be achieved as the man rides on it astride and jumping at a controlled rhythm from one end of the table to the other end.

The taste of the noodle varies depending on the ingredients of the water which could be a broth of some sort and/or water.

Panciterias could be a shed-type dwellings, a portion of the local home attached to the main house or a building built solely for the purpose of cooking and selling pancit. It is said that panciterias can be found in every block in the city, but some have become the locals’ favorite.#fnpancitbatilpotun/ftdomingo