Last Updated on January 24, 2023 by Ed Joven
How to cook the famous Bicol Express
In every Karinderia or every Filipino restaurant, you would always see Bicol Express on their menu. It is such a loved dish by Filipinos that you must learn how to make it. But first, what is Bicol Express?
Bicol Express is a dish that originated from the Bicol region, which eventually made its way and managed to become very popular here in Manila. Bicol is the region in the Philippines known for its love and regular use of spicy ingredients in its dishes. And Bicol Express is one of those dishes. This dish is a spicy stew mainly made of long green chilies, chopped pork mixed with coconut milk, a bit of shrimp paste (bagoong), or sometimes stock fish and chopped garlic.
Bicolanos say that Bicol Express was created with the Bicolano dish, “Gulay na may Lada” (vegetable with chili), as its inspiration; it is now considered a variant of Bicol Express. Its main difference is that Bicol Express incorporates pork in its recipe, while “Gulay na may Lada” only uses vegetables. The dish, by its name, got its name from the passenger train, which travels from Manila to Bicol, hence its popularity in Manila.
It is believed that Cely Kalaw, a native of Laguna, was the one who created the name of the dish. Kalaw was born in Laguna but spent most of her childhood days in Bicol, which is why her palette was familiar with and accustomed to the flavors of the region.
Bicol Express is a spicy food made of pork, chilies, coconut milk, shrimp paste, onion, and garlic. The dish was believed to be coined by Cely Kalaw (Wikipedia), a native of Laguna. It is easy and quick to make. Although Bicolanos love to eat and cook, they often use coconut milk for their dishes, a famous product in the region.
Bicol Express Ingredients and Procedure:
Bicol Express Recipe
- 1/4 kilo pork thinly sliced
- 8 pcs birds eye chili
- 1 onion minced
- 1 head of garlic minced
- 1 cup coconut milk
- 1 cup coconut cream
- 2 tablespoons of cooking oil
- Salt to taste
- In a bowl of water with salt, soak chili peppers for 30 minutes then rinse and strain.
- In a cooking pan, heat cooking oil and brown sliced pork for a few minutes.
- In another pan, saute minced garlic and onion.
- Add to the saute the browned pork.
- Then add the coconut milk, bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes.
- Add the chili peppers and cook until dish gets a little dry.
- Add the coconut cream and simmer until the sauce thickens.
- Salt to taste.
Bicolanos are famous for their Bicol Express, a hot and spicy dish cooked in coconut milk, pork, and with lots of bird’s eye chili that makes it very hot.
Bicol Express may be spicy, but many have already considered it comfort food because of its delicious and unique combination of flavors. The coconut milk flavor brings out the great flavors of the chilies and the pork. Additionally, it is a loved dish by many Filipinos because of its simple recipe. The ingredients are easy to find, making it even more so. Learn how to make this recipe for your family dinner, reunion, or stay-in gala with your friends; give them that touch of spice they need.
Traditional Filipino Recipes:
- Pork Bistek Recipe
- Chicken Asado Recipe
- Igado Recipe
- Menudo Recipe
- Pork Estofado Recipe
- Sinigang na Baboy Recipe
- Chicken Caldereta Recipe