Here’s where you can try the best bihon
Next to rice, pancit is arguably the second most defining dish on the Filipino table. Ever present on any occasion from baptisms to weddings, from graduations to fiestas and of course birthdays, the noodle dish is a staple in the Philippines. The name was derived from the Hokkien term “pian e sit,” which translates to “something conveniently cooked.” Pinoys adopted the dish from Chinese traders during pre-colonial times. Technically speaking, pancit is the first takeout food in the country.
There are several kinds of pancit in the Philippines. Its name changes depending on the noodles used, cooking method, place of origin, or ingredients. I’ve had my fair share of pancit having tried Tuguegarao’s batil patung, Isabela’s cabagan, Iloilo’s batchoy, Lucban’s habhab, to name a few. As much as there are versions, there are stores that serve some of the most amazing pancit in the country. In Metro Manila, among the best pancit bihon I’ve had so far is from Aling Banang’s.
I’ve had my fair share of pancit having tried Tuguegarao’s batil patung, Isabela’s cabagan, Iloilo’s batchoy, Lucban’s habhab, to name a few… In Metro Manila, among the best pancit bihon I’ve had so far is from Aling Banang’s.
The pancit bihon is a consistent bestseller at the food joint. It’s easy to understand why after one gets a taste of it. The thin noodles are incredibly savory so much so that it could be a satisfying meal by itself even without the sahog (ingredients). What comes with the bihon is a lechon kawali topping brimming with flavor. Everything about the golden brown, deep-fried pork belly is delectable, from the crispy skin to the tender meat and the melt-in-your-mouth fat. Eaten together and Mama-mia! Pancit bihon unlike any other.
The best way to understand how delicious Aling Banang’s pancit bihon is to try it firsthand. I guarantee that you won’t be disappointed. For Manileños, make sure you order from the Pureza branch as that particular store is believed to be the most faithful and consistent with the original flavors of Aling Banang’s.
More about the restaurant: Aling Banang’s was established by Urbana Silva Santiago in 1930 at San Juan Public Market in Batangas. Back then, it was just a quaint and modest stall with a table and a couple of long wooden benches. Specializing in the local dessert halo-halo, Aling Banang’s was usually open in summers.
Aling Banang's daughter, Adoracion, otherwise known as Ising, was the one who kept her legacy going. The fifth of 12 children, Ising took over the small stall in the farmer’s market. After a few years of operation, she decided to expand the business and diversify the menu, offering a flurry of noodle dishes like palabok, bihon guisado, bihon with soup, and homemade ice cream.
The food brand has been in the business for over 80 years. To date, branches are still being put up by Ising's children and grand kids.
Two of its most popular food items are the pancit bihon and the halo-halo. The latter I have yet to try. From what I read, Aling Banang’s halo-halo is highly-praised for its heavenly leche flan and homemade ice cream. What I can vouch for with full confidence is the pancit bihon with its juicy and scrumptious lechon kawali.
Aling Banang’s in Metro Manila is at Pureza, Santa Mesa, Manila, 1008. It is open 24 hours. Contact any of the following for orders and inquiries, 09171835779 | 028-567-2569 | 0917-136-6064 | 0917-1835822 | 8-518-0204.