Bihon Guisado

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Pancit bihon and lumpiang shanghai maybe too boring for birthdays but in a foreign country when one seldom finds the right ingredient like lumpia wrapper and pancit bihon, these dishes become more than spectacular. The birthday boy was really lucky!

My missing ingredient is kinchay or Chinese celery. Again, how come I can’t find it here in Beijing? A common dilemma here and even in Brunei where I used to be based. Always available is this celery that looks exactly like our kinchay but with a stronger flavor. I’m talking about coriander leaves, main ingredient in Thai tom yam soup. Well, there really is Chinese celery available. The leaves are slightly bigger but I only need few tablespoon of it, chopped, but these are sold in big bunches. So I said forget about it.

Bihon guisado, by the way, is fried rice vermicelli or meehoon goreng in other southeast Asian countries. Here’s my bihon recipe (for long life)!

1 small bowl of chopped chicken ribs
1 tbsp. of crushed garlic
1 onion, sliced thinly
1/4 cup carrot, sliced thinly
1 cup of shredded cabbage
1 cup of baguio beans, sliced thinly & diagonally
2 small bundles (small, as shown) of bihon
2 tbsp of fish sauce
a dash of salt & pepper
3-5 tbsp of soy sauce
1/4 cup Chinese chorizo, sliced diagonally and steamed separately for 5 minutes

Saute the garlic in as little oil as possible until golden brown. Add the chicken & saute w/ fish sauce. Add the onion & carrots. Stir-fry. Pour about 2-3 cups of water & season to taste. Bring to boil. Add the vegetables, & set them aside when they’re cooked (crispy & not over-cooked). Over low heat, pour the pancit bihon over the broth. Cook until the water evaporates but never too dry.

Pour the cooked noodles in a platter & top it w/ the pork, vegetables and the steamed chorizo.

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I am not a professional cook. My only claim to having a culinary background is a short stint as my dad’s teen ‘sous chef’ in his carinderia ages ago. Dad ran small eateries since I was a young kid - serving standard ‘turo-turo’ food ranging from the likes of menudo, adobo, pritong isda, dinuguan, binagoongan, bopis, munggo, pinakbet and giniling to merienda fares like goto, ginataan, pancit bihon, halu-halo and saging con yelo.

My father, a farmer in his hometown before working his way to becoming an accountant, definitely influenced my cooking in a lot of ways than I thought. My siblings and I were raised in a backyard full of fruit trees and vegetable garden. We spent weekends and the summer breaks running around with ducks, chickens, goats and pigs. I had wonderful memories of gathering eggs, butchering chickens, selling vegetables and the sweet aroma of preserved fruits. But my love for art led me to a degree in Architecture. Just few months after getting my license, I went abroad and lived independently at age 23. Definitely no maid, no cook, and a totally different food culture. Along the way I met lots of friends and spent what seemed a lifetime learning new tricks and recipes.

Now living in Auckland, I am a work-from-home mum who juggles time between work, fun and family - in pursuit of work-life balance. No matter how busy I am, I love the idea of cooking for my family. My blog chronicles home cooking greatly influenced by life outside my home country from Southeast Asia to Beijing and Auckland. And most of the time, being busy also means easy (sometimes quick), affordable meals.

6 thoughts on “Bihon Guisado

  1. hink of us 23 years ago.. we found pancit and all we could add was carrots and cabbage then we thought of courgettes,
    di nga original but the taste and concept is there.
    we learn to be creative
    sige nga mag pancit ako maya. punta muna ng palengke

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