Pancit Upo

Pancit Upo with tender pork and bottle gourd squash for a tasty noodle stir-fry. Easy and economical to make, it’s an easy weeknight dinner that’s sure to be a family favorite!

If you’re following me on Instagram, you might have seen the photo of pancit upo I posted last month during my Philippine vacation. It was my first time to try this noodle dish and I was definitely intrigued.

Upo with pancit? It was an interesting concept I knew I had to post on the blog!

What is Pancit Upo?

Pancit Upo is a simple version of pancit guisado made of bihon and bottle gourd. Along with the strips of upo, diced pork, shrimp, shredded chicken, tinapa flakes, or canned mackerel can be added for extra flavor.

This Kapampangan dish is also known as Pancit Maklak or “deaf noodles” as it lacks the abundance of meat and vegetable add-ins you can find in traditional pancit guisado. It’s served as a budget-friendly meal due to it’s relatively cheap ingredients which can comfortably feed a large family for less.

While I found the pancit unique, I thought it was lacking in taste and color to be truly impressive. No offense to my mother whom I love dearly but her recipe needed a little tweaking.

To make it more appetizing, I added a healthy dash of annatto powder for color boost and a couple of dollops of oyster sauce for an extra layer of flavor. Only two simple additions but quickly turned the noodle dish from good to great!

Cooking Tips

  • Cut the meat and pork into uniform sizes to ensure even cooking.
  • As I didn’t want to overcook the vegetable, I soaked the rice noodles a few minutes longer than the package directions so they’ll cook faster.
  • Add the noodles when the upo is halfway done so they will finish congruently.
  • Depending on the brand of bihon you buy or how long you pre-soaked them, you might need more or less than the 1 cup liquid in the recipe. Just add in 1/4-cup increments as needed to cook the noodles to desired consistency.
  • How to serve?

  • If you’re looking for a fast and easy meal that’s hearty and tasty, this pancit is it! It’s delicious as a midday snack or as a main dish and the perfect addition to birthday parties or other special occasions.
  • Drizzle with freshly squeezed calamansi juice to help brighten flavors and serve with pandesal or puto on the side to complete the meal.
  • How to store leftovers?

  • Transfer leftovers to a covered container and refrigerate for up to 3 days. Unfortunately, noodles do not freeze well.
  • Reheat in the microwave at 2 to 3-minute intervals until completely warmed through.
  • Pancit Upo

    Pancit Upo with tender pork and bottle gourd squash for a tasty noodle stir-fry. Easy and economical to make, it’s sure to be a family favorite!

    Prep Time: 10 mins
    Cook Time: 20 mins
    Total Time: 30 mins
    Author: Lalaine Manalo
    Course: Main Entree


  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 onion, peeled and chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1/2 pound pork belly, cut into thin strips
  • 1/2 teaspoon annatto powder
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 large upo, peeled and cut into strips (about 2 cups)
  • 8 ounces pancit bihon (rice noodles)
  • 2 tablespoons oyster sauce
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Instructions

  • In a wide pan or wok over medium heat, heat oil.
  • Add onions and garlic and cook until softened.
  • Add pork and cook, occasionally stirring, until lightly browned.
  • Add annatto powder and stir to coat meat.
  • Add water and bring to a boil. Lower heat, cover, and simmer until meat is tender and liquid is reduced to about 1 cup.
  • Increase heat to medium. Add upo and cook for about 1 to 2 minutes or until half-done.
  • Add noodles and cook, stirring to separate.
  • Add oyster sauce and stir to distribute. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Continue to cook, stirring regularly, for about 3 to 5 minutes or until noodles cooked through, upo is tender yet crisp, and liquid is mostly absorbed.
  • Serve hot.
  • Notes

    Cut the upo in uniform size to ensure even cooking.

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