Nana Melody’s Oriental Kitchenette: Celebrating Pancit


Gone are the names such as New Life, Golden City, Golden Star, Southeast Asia, but the legacy of Sy Kau Teng lives on.  The late Kau Teng was a native of China who came to the Philippines to work as a cook at the People’s Lumber, met and married Felicidad Guevarra, an Ilocano, and set up his own Oriental Restaurant in downtown Laoag decades ago. Melody Co is one of the two children of Kau Teng who inherited their father’s cooking expertise and moved on to establish panciterias of their own.

To this day and age, no other restaurant in Ilocos can ever come close to Oriental Kitchenette’s lomi, chami, and kimlo. The recipes have been tweaked a little to suit the modern palate, like I couldn’t find anymore the authentic homemade kikiam and camaron, and innards, yet still basically the same legit Chinese style that keeps patrons go back again and again. The addition of ground pork rind (from traditional Ilocos chicharon aka bagnet) is the cherry on top in the enhanced or hybrid recipes. The chami I had was moist and piping hot, the noodles were chewy, the veggies obviously fresh and the toppings, plenteous.

Nana Melody's Oriental Kitchenette

Nana Melody’s Oriental Kitchenette in Laoag just moved to a new address on the corner of Gen. Luna and Zulueta Streets.

Nana Melody

– Nana Melody and her daughter Asuncion or Maan, who cooks just as well.

New Oriental Kitchenette

Besides old-time noodle favorites, habitues go to the Oriental Kitchenette for their super budget meals. At 30 pesos, one can have rice plus two viands (one meat and one vegetable) of their choice from the daily turo-turo counter.


– Ilocos Norte mayors frequent the restaurant to chat while eating lomi, their bestseller.

Long Live Pancit! Long Live Oriental!

Photographed by Blauearth © Blauearth™ All Rights Reserved 2009-2013

Lomi break

Because it’s so good, I’m sharing my talented cook’s clever lomi recipe with her permission. It’s basically a Chinese thick soup-based noodle dish with a dash of Ilocanoness. For this, she added ground chicharon skin from the Laoag Supermarket and kikiam from Sarah’s Kitchen on F.R. Castro Street.


Ingredients (for 8 people)

  • 1 k fresh pancit (noodles)
  • 1/4 k squidball halves
  • 1/4 k beef or pork slices
  • 1 pc carrot, julienned
  • 1/2 pc cabbage, shredded
  • 1/2 pc sayote, juliened
  • 8 pcs string beans, thinly sliced
  • 2 pcs Knorr chicken cubes
  • a pinch of ground black pepper
  • 2 tbsps Thai fish sauce (or salt to taste)
  • 2 tbsps cornstarch dissolved in 3 tbsps water
  • 1 egg
  • ground chicharon skin (pork rind)
  • 1 pc kikiam roll, sliced
  • toasted garlic bits


  • Bring to boil 9 cups water in a deep pan.
  • Add in meat and squid ball slices.
  • Stir in vegetables.
  • Pour cornstarch-water mixture and fish sauce, and then sprinkle with pepper.
  • Beat and drop the egg into the pan and stir.
  • Put in noodles and serve hot with chicharon, kikiam and garlic toppings.


Recipe by Lynn Coloma. Photographed by Blauearth  Copyright © Blauearth™ ALL RIGHTS RESERVED