Our Food Philosophy
April 19, 2024

How to cook Authentic Filipino Pancit Bihon: Stovetop vs Nymble's Kitchen Robot

Learn how to make Pancit Bihon, a Filipino dish with thin rice noodles, meats, and veggies. Try the traditional stovetop or modern robot cooking methods.

Kaustav Ray

Pancit Bihon is a well-loved Filipino dish made with bihon, which are thin rice noodles. Stir-fried with a mix of soy sauce, meats such as chicken, pork, or shrimp, and a variety of vegetables like cabbage, carrots, and green beans, it offers a delightful blend of flavors. Seasoned with spices and garnished with green onions and lemon or calamansi, the dish presents a tangy kick that adds depth to its taste. This dish is part of the diverse range of pancit in Filipino cuisine, referring to different noodle dishes throughout the country.

In this blog, we'll show you how to make this authentic Filipino recipe at home using two distinct methods: one on a stovetop and another modern approach that significantly reduces your cooking time. But before we dive in, let's explore what makes this noodle dish so special and a little bit about its history.

What is the origin of Pancit Bihon?

Pancit Bihon has its roots in the Spanish colonial period when Chinese immigrants to the Philippines made a living as street vendors, known as "panciteros." These vendors catered primarily to women working in cigar factories, providing them with quick and convenient meals as they often had limited time to cook at home.

This era played a significant role in establishing street food as a symbol of both convenience and quality. Noodles became a staple offering from these vendors, reflecting the culinary influence of the Chinese immigrants. Over time, the term "pancit" evolved and became an integral part of Filipino cuisine, signifying various types of noodle dishes.

Types of Pancit Bihon

This dish can be customized with a variety of meats, seafood, and vegetables, resulting in several different versions and variations. Here are some of the common types of pancit bihon:

Pancit Bihon Guisado: The most common version, featuring stir-fried bihon noodles with meat (chicken, pork, or shrimp), and vegetables such as carrots, cabbage, and green beans. It's seasoned with soy sauce, oyster sauce, and sometimes fish sauce.

Pancit Bihon with Seafood: This variation focuses on seafood like shrimp, squid, and occasionally mussels or fish, seasoned with fish sauce, soy sauce, and calamansi or lemon.

Pancit Bihon Guisado

Pancit Bihon with Vegetables and Tofu: A vegetarian option combining fresh vegetables such as cabbage, carrots, green beans, and bell peppers, sometimes with tofu as a protein substitute.

Pancit Canton with Bihon: A mix of pancit canton (egg noodles) and pancit bihon (rice noodles) in one dish, typically including various meats, seafood, and vegetables.

Ingredients Needed for Pancit Bihon Guisado

  1. Neutral Oil: You can use vegetable or grapeseed oil as a neutral cooking oil, allowing the other ingredients to shine.
  1. Boneless Chicken Thigh: Use boneless chicken thigh, cut into bite-sized pieces, for its rich flavor and tender texture. This cut works great in the dish and adds moisture.
  1. Garlic: Mince two cloves of garlic for a sharp, aromatic touch. Feel free to use more if you prefer a stronger garlic flavor.
  1. Red Onion: Dice a small red onion for flavor. If unavailable, yellow, white onions, or shallots can also be used.
  1. Vermicelli Rice Noodles: These thin noodles made from rice flour are delicate and absorb the flavors of the dish well.
  1. Mixed Vegetables: Include a selection of orange carrots, green cabbage, and snow peas for color and variety in texture. Feel free to customize with other vegetables of your choice.
  1. Pancit Sauce: Prepare a flavorful mix using light soy sauce, oyster sauce, and chicken stock powder for the sauce.
  1. Salt and Pepper: Adjust seasoning to taste, adding more if necessary for your preference.
  1. Scallions: For garnish, use chopped scallions to add a fresh touch to the finished dish.

How to make Authentic Filipino Pancit Bihon on a stovetop

  1. Whisk together the light soy sauce, oyster sauce, and chicken stock powder in a mixing bowl. Set the sauce aside.
  1. Heat a medium-sized skillet over medium heat and add a splash of neutral oil (such as vegetable or grapeseed oil). Pan fry the boneless chicken thigh pieces until fully cooked, then remove them from the pan and set aside.
  1. In the same skillet, sauté the minced garlic and chopped red onion for 3-4 minutes, or until they become aromatic and the onion turns translucent.
  1. Return the cooked chicken to the skillet and season with a pinch of salt and pepper.
  1. Add the mixed vegetables—orange carrots, green cabbage, and snow peas—and stir fry until they are tender but still have a slight crunch.
  1. Whisk the sauce again and pour it into the skillet. Bring it to a simmer.
  1. Add the dry vermicelli rice noodles to the skillet, allowing the heat from the sauce to cook them. Gently toss the noodles to ensure they are evenly coated and infused with flavor. They should cook through in 3-4 minutes.
  1. If the noodles remain crunchy after the sauce is absorbed, add a bit more water or chicken stock (around 1/4 cup) to help them finish cooking.
  1. Turn off the heat and transfer the dish to a serving dish. Season with additional salt and pepper if needed and garnish with chopped scallions for a fresh touch.
  1. Serve the Pancit Bihon with soy sauce and lemon wedges on the side for added flavor, if desired.

Nutritional information

These nutritional values make Pancit Bihon a balanced and satisfying meal option that offers a good mix of protein, carbohydrates, fats, and essential nutrients for an enjoyable dining experience.

  1. Calories: Approximately 300-400 calories per serving
  2. Protein: Around 15-20 grams per serving, primarily from boneless chicken thigh
  3. Carbohydrates: About 40-50 grams per serving, largely from vermicelli rice noodles and mixed vegetables
  4. Fat: Around 10-15 grams per serving, primarily from the oil used in cooking and the natural fat content of the chicken thigh
  5. Fiber: Approximately 3-5 grams per serving, thanks to the variety of vegetables used
  6. Sodium: Estimated to be around 500-800 mg per serving, influenced by the amount of soy sauce and other sauces used
  7. Sugar: Low sugar content, around 2-4 grams per serving

What to serve with Pancit Bihon?

Pancit Bihon pairs well with a variety of side dishes and accompaniments to create a more complete meal. Here are five options to consider:

Lumpia or Egg Rolls: Both options provide a crispy texture and savory flavor that complements the noodles well. Lumpia can be filled with vegetables or meat.

Grilled or Fried Fish: Offers a savory, crispy protein that pairs well with Pancit Bihon.

Chicken or Pork Barbecue: Grilled skewers seasoned with a tangy marinade provide a flavorful touch and contrast to the noodles.

Rice: A staple accompaniment in Filipino cuisine, rice can be served as a side dish for those who prefer an additional serving of grains.

Atchara or Chopsuey: Atchara, a pickled papaya, adds a refreshing, tangy flavor, while Chopsuey, a vegetable stir-fry, offers a healthy, colorful side dish.

Atchara (pickled papaya)

How to store Pancit Bihon?

To store Pancit Bihon and keep it fresh, follow these steps:

Let it Cool: Allow the dish to cool to room temperature before storing. This helps prevent condensation and bacterial growth.

Use Airtight Containers: Transfer the cooled Pancit Bihon to airtight containers. Seal tightly to keep the dish fresh and prevent odors from affecting it.

Refrigerate: Store the containers in the fridge for up to 3-4 days. Consume within this time for the best quality.

Reheat Properly: Reheat the Pancit Bihon on the stovetop or in the microwave. For stovetop reheating, heat the noodles over medium heat, adding a splash of water or broth to keep them moist. Stir occasionally until heated through.

Avoid Freezing: Freezing is not recommended as the noodles may become mushy when thawed and reheated.

Pancit Bihon made on Nymble’s Kitchen Robot

If all this seems too daunting to tackle solo, you could always get a private chef like Nymble to whip up succulent dishes like Pancit Bihon. While hiring a chef may not be financially feasible for most, a fully-automated kitchen robot could be just the solution you need.

Nymble is a fully-automated end-to-end cooking robot. You can try over 500+ recipes, customize them according to your liking, schedule meals ahead of time and track them from your phone. All you need to do is select recipes, load ingredients in its compartments and relax while Nymble cooks you a delicious meal.

How to prep and load ingredients for making Pancit Bihon on Nymble

Ingredient Containers are filled accordingly:

A: Light Soy Sauce, Oyster Sauce, Chicken Stock Powder

B: Boneless Chicken 

C: Red Onion, Garlic, Orange Carrot, Scallion, Green cabbage, snow peas

D: Vermicelli Rice Noodles

Spice Pods:

Pod 1 - Salt

Pod 2 - Black Pepper Powder

Pod 3 - Garlic Powder

Prep and Load Directions

Container A

Add ½ teaspoon of chicken stock powder and 1 tablespoon of oyster sauce to container A.

Container B

Cut boneless chicken thighs into small chunks and add 17 ¾ ounces to container B.

Container C

Thinly slice red onions and finely mince 4 cloves of garlic. Thinly slice ½ a carrot, cut the white part of 2 scallions into large pieces (discard the roots), and thinly slice green cabbage. Collect 2 ¼ ounces of  thinly sliced cabbage and 2 ¼ ounces of snow peas. Add all to container C.

Container D

Soak vermicelli rice noodles in hot water for 20 minutes. After soaking, weigh 14 ¼ ounces and add to container D.

Spice Pods

Place the spice pods labeled as salt, black pepper powder and garlic powder in the holders 1,2 and 3 respectively.

Final Steps to do before Nymble takes over

Check if the pan, stirrer and spatula is placed properly, and if the stirrer is connected to the outlet.

Check if water and oil is sufficiently added.

Select recipe and portion size.

How Nymble Cooks Pancit Bihon

  1. Press the "start cooking" button to initiate the recipe.
  2. Nymble dispenses the precise amount of oil into the pan, ensuring just the right amount for the recipe.
  3. The robot then adds boneless chicken pieces to the pan.

Nymble’s Camera Vision and Cooking Technology

Nymble combines a smart camera system with machine learning capabilities to manage and guide the cooking process. It checks the doneness of each ingredient by looking at things like color, texture, and moisture, then comparing that information to a large collection of cooking data. This careful oversight helps ensure each ingredient is cooked just right according to the recipe.

Nymble’s technology mimics how a skilled chef cooks, adjusting heat and timing based on what its camera sees. This way, Nymble can add each ingredient at the right time and stir, fold, and cook each part to perfection.

  1. Once the chicken reaches its ideal state, Nymble sprinkles the spices evenly across the pan.
  2. Nymble stirs and cooks the chicken until it achieves a perfectly crispy texture, using its vision technology to monitor the process and make adjustments as needed.
  3. Next, Nymble introduces the vegetables to the pan, using its camera system to assess the desired level of tenderness and color.
  4. The robot stirs the mixture thoroughly for even cooking.
  5. Nymble adds the soy and oyster sauce mixture to the pan, again relying on its camera vision technology to avoid overcooking.
  6. The final step is adding the noodles and continuing to stir all the ingredients together.
  7. Throughout the process, Nymble uses its camera system to evaluate the overall doneness of the dish.
  8. Once Pancit Bihon reaches the perfect level of doneness, the recipe concludes and the dish is ready to be served.

To see how Nymble cooks this dish entirely on its own, watch this video to see the complete recipe process.

Get Nymble in 2024

We are delighted to share that Nymble received an overwhelming number of pre-orders in 2023, resulting in the complete sell-out of our initial batch of kitchen robots. However, we are currently ramping up production for the next batch, and by signing up today, you will secure your place on the waitlist for the upcoming release, expected in mid-2024.