“Pancit Molo” is a soup, not a pancit!

When I was a child in my Lola Charing’s house, a delicious but strangely named soup called “Pancit Molo” which wasn’t a pancit at all, appeared every now and then on a white tureen on the dining table.  And because it was easy to eat, just soft dumplings and broth, slivers of chicken and salty ham, we kiddies tolerated it.  Actually, we kiddies didn’t like soup at all.  Only the old people, like Lola Charing, Daddy, Mommy, Tito Hector, and Brother Andrew liked soup, and steaming warm at that.

Looking back, since we were Capampangan, then our “Pancit Molo” was not authentic Ilonggo, but it sure was good, if a tad salty.  The bone of the “Hoc Shiu” ham was boiled with the chicken broth for that “kick.”  It also imparted a crazy salty-porky smell to the broth.  The forcemeat of pork, shrimps, garlic, and onions was enhanced with minced “Hoc Shiu” ham.  The dumpling wrappers were painstakingly homemade, one by one.  Slivers of “Hoc Shiu” ham and chicken floated with the minced celery in the broth.  It was so delicious it was easy to finish a bowl.

In the 1970s, Via Mare’s proprietor Glenda Barretto and Laguna-Quezon hacendero Ado Escudero made “Pancit Molo” uberchic by serving it in fresh coconuts.  My uncle, Brother Andrew, always fashionable when it came to food, also took to having “Pancit Molo” served in fresh coconuts during parties.

I had no idea that “Pancit Molo” soup had its origins in faraway Molo, Iloilo…

During my first trip to Iloilo City many years ago, we were told that the best “Pancit Molo” in Molo could be ordered from the spinster Miss Lazaro who lived in the pristine, obsessive compulsive – squeaky clean Lazaro ancestral house [ originally the Melliza house ].  It was reputed to be so good that it was the “official” “Pancit Molo” of many of the town’s better homes.

Oh, and now that I’m old, I already like soup.  In fact, I can’t live without it anymore.

Never mind that the Duchess of Windsor disliked soup and declared:  “You can’t build a meal on a lake!”


  1. Ipê Nazareno said,

    June 14, 2010 at 9:48 am


    In Cavite, there is also a macaroni noodle soup which had everything — pork, chicken, chinese ham, shrimp, vegetables, etc. It’s called CALANDRACAS and, by tradition, it’s served only during Christmas dinner (evening of the 25th).

  2. Dr. Taddy Buyson Gonzales said,

    June 13, 2010 at 9:49 am

    In Bulakan, I was amused to learn that there was a “SOPAS DE PATAY”.
    A chicken macaroni creamy soup served during wakes.

    In Bacolor the kitchens always had a cauldron of broth simmering for “casamacs” who would drop by, taken with homemade suman.

    Hospitality was a hallmark of Capampangans.
    anytime you dropped by any house, they would have something ready to offer you, San Nicolas bisquits, Masapodrida, Camachili, Uraro and other baked goods.
    ” mangan cayu pa mu” or “minum cayu saguli”..

    some had “garapinieras” of buko sherbets the whole day!

  3. Ipê Nazareno said,

    June 11, 2010 at 4:34 am

    In Cavite, a meal is never complete if soup isn’t served before the main course.

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