Sunday, December 7, 2008

Everybody loves pancit and eggrolls.

My parents and their friends used to get together one Saturday a month for a big party. No birthday, no holiday, no graduation to celebrate. Just an excuse to eat, drink, and dance (as a young girl, I witnessed a lot of Electric Slide to "Achy Breaky Heart" in various Filipino basements).

These Filipino parties were all about the food. As soon as guests arrived and said their hellos, they would be directed straight to the dining room, where a long table would be covered with a variety of dishes -- from lechon on one end of the table to a box of Popeye's chicken on the other. And there was always pancit and eggrolls.

Pancit

Pancit is a party food. My parents told me that pancit was always served at celebrations in the Philippines. And for good reason: It's the ultimate crowd-pleaser. There's something in it for everyone -- chicken, shrimp, pork, Chinese sausage, carrots, cabbage, celery, and noodles. And everyone always appreciates the hard work put into a big dish of pancit. The actual cooking isn't too complicated, but rather the prep and chopping of all those ingredients that really makes a gal sweat. (The julienned carrots are killer.)

This pancit wasn't eaten at a party; I ate this plateful (and another afterward) the Wednesday night before Thanksgiving, which helped fuel me up for a night of won ton wrapping. And, as mentioned in the won ton post, we made eggrolls with leftover won ton filling.

eggrolls (lumpia shanghai)

Eggrolls, or lumpia Shanghai, are truly addictive. They're different than vegetable lumpia, which are bigger and more filling. Lumpia Shanghai are smaller, bite-size rolls of fried, crispy perfection. There are never leftovers. When my mom makes them at parties, she fries and serves them in batches. Because if she made them all at once and put them on the table at the beginning of the party, they would all be gone in about half an hour. No joke.

I stopped going to Filipino parties once I hit the terrible preteen years, but my parents would always bring food back when they got home. That's another thing about Filipino parties -- there's always enough food to take home. In fact, when my mom throws parties, she always makes enough for leftovers and insists that people wrap up plates to take away.

I used to get sick of eating pancit every time we had company. But after I learned how to cook it myself and brought it to a potluck, I soon realized the magic of this party dish. Bring pancit to a potluck party, and you'll be voted Most Popular by the end of the night. Everybody loves pancit. As for the eggrolls, no one ever gets sick of those. I could eat about 50 right now. Seriously.

7 comments:

  1. When I worked at the hospital, the filipino nurses told me you serve pancit on your birthday because the long noodles are suppose to symbolize longevity.

    Curious that by the time I arrived for thanksgiving, I don't remember seeing any pancit saved for me...Oh well, I guess this is pay back for all the care care you weren't able to get until I came home from college!

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  2. I had to laugh when I saw your title! So true!

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  3. j - hey, i didn't eat it all! you have to raid the fridge as soon as you get home and ask mom and dad what's in every single tupperware in order to discover such treasures. besides, by the time you got home, all anybody could think about was won ton soup and eggrolls. the pancit was old news by then.

    chichajo - i know! i have yet to meet someone who doesn't love pancit and eggrolls. :)

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  4. Man, the image of basement rounds of Electric Slide is priceless.

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  5. GG - haha! yes, it was a strange sight that still haunts me to this day...

    thanks for stopping by!

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  6. Oh, I loved this post! My boyfriend is a quarter Filipino, quarter Chinese and half Puerto Rican. He identifies a lot with rice and beans and pancit! :)

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  7. mc - wow, what a mix! growing up with filipino food, chinese food, AND puerto rican food? sounds delicious!

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