I wouldn't be surprised if Anthony Bourdain and his crew find their way to the northern tip of the Philippines to try the much loved Batil Patung. Batil Patung is the local version of stir fried noodles served with an egg topping (patung). and a side serving of egg drop soup (batil). Of course the dish is served with condiments --- soy sauce and spicy vinegar with lots of raw onions, that make this noodle dish unique.
Minutes after leaving our house, our car is rumbling along an unpaved street wherein I can feel every bump on the road. We come upon a driveway (eskinita) lined with a fence made of dried bamboo. Locals say that it's not a legit panciteria if the restaurant is located in a new building with a modern facade. That being said, I can check this on the list and state that Lamud's Panciteria is definitely legit. Lamud's is quaintly situated in a small village (or barrio), the place is very much in an unexpected location and it could easily be mistaken for a barn. Panciterias in my hometown seem to sprout on every corner but I was told Lamud's is one of the popular pancit joints. Let's see why.
We were greeted by an ecclectic array of antiques (as American Pickers would describe it) that added to its "charm": a wooden wheel, a wagon filled with aged bamboo and a rusty motorcycle. Rustic? Maybe... I call it plainly provincial, just what I am looking for....
Here you go... what you see is what you get, no more... no less!
Ordering is easy, as I saw on the menu pasted on the wall - we had 3 options: Regular (P45.00), Special (P70.00) or Super Special (P80.00) noodles. The difference lies mainly on the toppings or ingredients added on top of the dish. Most of us ordered the Special, even though the Super designation sounded intriguing. And they also had three sizes available:
When I say "us", I meant this group of batil patung adventurers...
...meet the youngest adventurer of the batil patung troop.
Then Tita Bess started to teach us how to eat the noodles: "You hold the fork with your right hand, and the left hand drives the flies away...", hahaha!
That's the master chef (Gloria) at work... and she doesn't want to be distracted...
But oh well, luckily my Mama knows her so I took more pictures. And I got more tidibits of information. It is said that Batil Patung is a breakfast dish among butchers. In the wee hours in the morning when they prepare their meat to sell in the market, they ground the portion that is not selleable; this explains why the meat used is ground beef and the original recipe has liver on it (as liver is best eaten fresh). Since it's for breakfast, a poached egg is added on top of each serving.
One of the reasons why people trek to Lamud's is because Gloria is a well known butcher in the area. She has supplied beef to the local market for many years (and that's how Mama knows her). Customers know that the meat that she adds to the noodles is beef and not the cheaper alternative of cara-beef.
Lo and behold, the steamy plate of freshly cooked pancit is served. The familiar aroma takes me back in time. The thick steam (plus remember the room has no AC) causes your face to form beads of sweat and you know the feeling of warmth enveloping you, steering you to total pancit nirvana, as most locals can attest.
The poached egg, once broken, gives a silky texture to the already smooth noodles cooked al dente and is good to the last bite.
Mid way through our meal, and still wiping those beads of sweat around my forehead, the egg drop soup is served. Its earthy flavor puts the meal to its climax... then I reached out to sip an old time favorite orange soda, to make the whole experience similar to my favorite childhood meal.
This has been the most organic batil patung experience I've had in years. From the ambience, to the scent, to the piquant taste and flavor... all in all contributed to the awakening of my hometown palate. It was superb!
I had shared my batil patung experiment here before. The only change I did was to remove the sausage and replaced it with longanisa (Filipino sausage). So here's my take on the dish.
The huge serving gave my nephew S a shock, haha! So if you're curious how this pancit tastes, I invite you to try making a plate for yourself. Enjoy!