5 Bicol Delicacies

Head to the Bicol region and get your tongue ready to try these hot dishes!

By Mathew S. Chan
September 04, 2014

There is more to Filipino food than adobo and sisig. Each province in the Philippines specializes in different cuisine, and there will always be dozens of dishes to try. The Bicol region is just one of many places where you can try authentic Filipino food. Bicolanos love to cook and eat so it’s not surprising why they have such tasty food. Read on for five food specialties in Bicol. Prepare a tall glass of milk because these dishes pack a spicy punch!

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This dish really appeals to vegetarians and vegans alike. It is made from taro leaves simmered in coconut milk and served with hot chili peppers.  The dish can be cooked in a variety of ways and is very common in carinderias and cafeterias in the region, even in Manila, although the city version may not be as spicy. To get a taste of authentic laing, visit Bicol.

Bicol Express
Bicol Express is probably the most popular Bicolano dish. The story goes that the dish gets its name from a passenger train from Manila to Bicol. After you eat the dish, you’ll be running to find anything to quench the fire on your tongue. Like most Bicolano dishes, it is made of coconut milk and chili peppers but with cooked pork as the main ingredient.

Ginataang Labong

Ginataang labong is a simple dish made from chopped bamboo shoots simmered in coconut milk with some shrimp paste or fresh shrimps and chili peppers. This dish is refreshing and hot at the same time, thanks to the combination of bamboo shoots and peppers. It’s another healthy dish if you are not a fan of red meat.

Sinapot is a fried banana desert that is in some ways similar to turon.  It is made from Saba or Cardaba banana. The fruit is peeled then sliced horizontally before being mixed in a batter consisting of flour and eggs.  After being deep fried, it is ready to be served.

Ginataang Santol
Most Bicolano dishes make use of coconut milk, a famous product in the region. One popular ginataang dish (a dish cooked in coconut milk) is ginataang santol. This sour fruit mixed with spicy chili peppers creates a unique flavor, which is made even more special, thanks to the silky coconut milk.

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*Photo by © Raymund Macaalay
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