Week 2 – Learned Traditions

One of my Instagram followers commented, “Happy Birthday! I know you’ll be eating pancit for long life.”

I smiled, my face lit with the glow of my iPhone. Turning it away, I lay in bed thinking of the coincidence. My family never made the tradition of eating noodles on our birthdays, but I’d already made plans to pick up a carton at a spot in East Village. Maybe some adobo too.


Vegetarian Pancit Palabok — best served with vegan chicharon, sliced egg, and homegrown kalamansi.

Three years ago I implemented noodle-eating at New Year’s when I celebrated by myself in a crowded Chinese restaurant in Downtown DC. I sat at a small table decorated with a red carnation and ordered lo-mein thinking of my mom. Two years later, I made pancit-palabok for the first time. A unique recipe for my vegetarian sister and niece–100% vegan aside from the garnish of sliced, perfectly soft-boiled eggs.

Growing up, pancit wasn’t specifically a celebratory food, but it was the only thing I wanted this birthday. Hope for long life, yes–but more so, memory of family, a taste of home.


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