8 OUT OF 10 STARS
A quaint, little city in a province that’s known for its endless rice fields, San Jose City, Nueva Ecija offers a refreshing respite from the usual noise and busyness of Metro Manila. I was given a chance to work in SJC earlier this year and the experience compels me to permanently set aside a gigantic space in my heart for this beloved jewel approaching the foot of the famous Sierra Madre mountains (No kidding, I really miss you, SJC!).
One of SJC’s varied attractions is its delectable Pansit Kanin, a local delicacy that’s offered in the carinderias (native food stalls) that pepper the lively city center.
Pansit Kanin is a concoction of steamed rice, pansit (rice vermicelli or rice noodles), and a topping of your choice. The common toppings available are local Filipino ulams (viands) such as Tinumis or Dinuguan (pork blood stew–not gross, I promise!), Sisig (minced pork brain and pork skin cracklings sauteed in an explosion of spicy and mouth-watering goodness!), and Igado (pork tenderloin plus pork liver, carrots, potatoes, and green peas sauteed in soy sauce, vinegar, and all that).
The dish is even more irresistible because it merely costs about Thirty Five Philippine Pesos (35 PhP) or less than a dollar (0.68 USD) per order! The meal comes with a small bowl of piping-hot sabaw (soup). Oh, and don’t forget that ubiquitous platter of siling labuyo (Filipino native chili) mixed with calamansi (Filipino lime) and patis (fish sauce), okay? Now, couple that with a 350 mL sized icy-cold bottle of soft drink (or water, for the extremely health-conscious types. Wink, wink.) and burp! Yummy! Another happy tummy, buddy!
A lot of carinderias in the central business district area render excellent service for locals and tourists, alike. However, I’d like to make a special shout-out to Cristy’s Pansit Kanin, the trailblazer of San Jose City’s favored Pansit Kanin. The store is located at San Roque Street, Barangay Abar 1st, near the public market, alongside the Baliwag Transit, Inc. Bus Terminal. It caters to its customers everyday–and they’re usually open even at around ten in the evening! Hence, it’s one of the best go-to places for foodies who crave the delicious fusion of rice, pansit, and Pinoy ulam as well as for people on a tight budget (people who are forever “dukha” like me!) who are on the hunt for good food that’d sate hunger without emptying the already piteous wallet.
So, if you happen to visit San Jose City, Nueva Ecija, make sure to taste their scrumptious pansit kanin! I’m sure, you’ll love it!