Tuguegarao is perhaps the city in the Philippines with the most number of panciterias (noodle houses). It’s like there is a panciteria on every corner. They serve either Batil Patung or Pancit Cabagan.
We asked insiders for the best places to have them.
We had our Batil Patung at Big Star. Batil Patung is a Tuguegarao original. Batil means mix and patung means top or topping. The noodles in Batil Patung are the flat kind. The topping consists of sautéed beef or, I guess, carabeef, bean sprouts, sliced leeks, julienned carrots, crushed chicharon, meat loaf slices and fried egg. It comes with a cup of egg drop soup meant to be sipped or mixed with the pancit. Chopped red onions, calamansi and chili peppers are also served. The fifty-peso super we had was huge enough for two people.
It was actually my second time to try Dok’s Pancit Cabagan. Pancit Cabagan is said to have been introduced by a Chinese settler in the town of Cabagan in nearby Isabela province. It looks Chinese enough. The wet pancit has round noodles, julienned cabbage and carrots, boiled quail eggs and a generous heap of lechon de carajay slices. It comes with the sweeter white onions, calamansi and egg drop soup. The fifty-peso serving is supposed to be for one person but I shared mine with the dude.
My Verdict: I should have ordered one whole Pancit Cabagan for myself. I was craving for it the whole time on our way back to Laoag. The noodles, perfectly al dente, and the lechon was tasty with thin and extra crunchy skin. I liked it more than the first time I had it last year.
I’m not gonna have Batil Patung again. I didn’t like the “nuang” smell, which reminded me of a “beef” dish I had in a carinderia in Buguias, Benguet, many moons ago — one of my freaky road trip misadventures. To add, the noodles were dry and nasoprak (Help! What’s the English word for it?)… but then, the problem’s probably me because Batil Patung is really popular even to non-locals.