A classic Filipino noodle dish the mere mention of pancit palabok (garnished noodles) can trigger a mouth-watering sensation to many true-bloodied Filipinos.
Boiled grass rice noodles are topped with a delicious shrimp-based sauce, sliced hardboiled eggs, shrimps, chicharon bits (crispy pork rind bits) and chopped spring onions. The sauce is a key ingredient since it adds flavour to this otherwise simple noodle dish.
In Malabon, a coastal town of north of Manila, is also known for its pancit palabok since the town produces what is considered as the best fish sauce in the country. This noodle dish is simply irresistible with a drizzle of freshly squeezed kalamansi (Philippine lime) and patis (fish sauce) from Malabon.
Patis or fish sauce is a not-to-miss item in the Philippine kitchen table. Like its Asian neighbours, fish sauce is a staple in Philippine cooking and this condiment has earned a soft spot for many Filipinos that Asian stores in foreign cities are stocked with Philippine patis.
To foreigners the smell can be repulsive, but fish sauce diehards swear that it adds flavour to any dish. The amber-colored liquid is actually the distilled essence of fish (anchovy) or shrimp preserved in salt. As a dipping sauce it is a perfect match for pressed chillies, minced coriander and lime juice.
Rufina Patis is a popular fish sauce brand in the Philippines. But like the itlog na pula (red eggs) salt content is high in this sauce, betraying the preference for salty ingredients in Philippine cooking.
Nonetheless, eat your favorite Philippine meat or vegetable dish with patis as seasoning.
Mabuhay ang patis!