How do you decide if a city or a province is a “food town?”
In my view, a place would need to provide specialty culinary dishes that, although similar to those available in other restaurants, seem to be better prepared and presented in this setting. No one makes sushi quite like Japan, and no one does wonton noodles quite like Hong Kong. Both are outstanding achievements. Or, to put it a distinctive way, no one serves Pancit Molo quite like the people of Iloilo
Known initially as Pancit Molo, the dish is named after the city’s historic Chinese neighborhood of the same name. Many culinary events include this dumpling soup with a pig or chicken mixture wrapped in a wonton wrapper, which is always on hand to serve.
The first part of the dish’s name, on the other hand, is a little more complicated; contrary to popular belief, there are no “pancit” noodles in this preparation. Ground pork dumplings wrapped in wonton wrappers and shredded chicken are suspended in a steaming bowl of transparent yet rich and delicious chicken broth seasoned with crispy garlic, spring onions, and black pepper instead.
So, what meal do the Ilonggos recommend serving with Pancit Molo?
Several restaurants in Molo and across Iloilo City offer excellent Pancit Molo variations. They all agree that it is best served with their various varieties of siopao or even their chicken ala king.
Queen Siopao, Iloilo’s most renowned siopao, can only be purchased in the city itself. It’s stuffed with Chinese sausage, boiled egg, bacon, chicken, and pig adobo, and it’s served with rice.
On the other hand, Chicken ala King is cooked in a flower basket shape in Iloilo and is widely marketed and served since it is both attractive and easy. It is often filled on a plate of three triangular loaf bread pieces, with the delicious chicken and corn mixture piled on top.