This pancit - stir-fried noodles - has been featured countless times in Philippine published media and television programs that I may not have anything more interesting to say about it.
For those who have come across this only now, this is pancit dyed and flavored with squid ink and soft slices of squid, then topped with fried garlic bits, crushed chicharon, spring onions, and sliced kamias as the souring agent instead of kalamansi. The name means stick noodles in squid ink, from the pidgin Spanish spoken in Cavite City by old-timers.
For those who have read about it and/or come across it on TV, I have news. Asiong's Carinderia, the Cavite City eatery which invented and first sold this dish, closed shop several years ago. A new carinderia, however, has opened its doors and serves almost the exact same menu as Asiong's, including pancit choku, which is referred to as pancit pusit in the menu board behind the display counter. The photo above is the pancit pusit at Bernie's Kitchenette, whose staff told me is owned by a chef friend of Sonny Lua, Asiong's proprietor. The same staff also told me that Sonny now lives in Silang, Cavite, and has set up a new Asiong's Carinderia there, but that the cook/s at Bernie's are the same as the one/s who used to cook for Asiong's.
The pancit pusit tasted the same as pancit choku, only that instead of kamias the souring agent used is shredded green mangoes. The carinderia had run out of green mangoes when we ordered, so we were given kalamansi, which I supplemented with the very nice spiced vinegar that's also being sold at the store.
The pancit came to mind because as the kids and I were on our annual Bisita Iglesia, an officemate called to ask where she could find the black pancit. I was struck by the term as it was then Black Saturday, more so that we had decided to wear black shirts this year on our pilgrimage. After our survey of six churches in the highlands of Cavite, we decided to push the color motif further and went to Bernie's, to eat black pancit. We deemed it appropriate Lent fare, without meat (we chose to ignore the chicharon which wasn't meat, per se), particularly now that my eldest child is of eligible age for fasting and abstinence.
Photo of Asiong's pancit choku, with chili garlic in oil, taken five years ago.
Home-Cooked Pancit Negra