Among the most visited places in the beautiful Philippine country, the Province of Bicol stands out as a must-see region. The province is popular with tourists for its beautiful beaches, impressive waterfalls, watching of white sharks, and its famous Mayon Volcano.
The tourism industry is supported not only by the beauty of the landscape and the popularity of the Mayon Volcano but also by the newly built CamSur complex for water sports and several other upscale beach resorts. Surfers particularly appreciate the beaches in the Catanduanes province and the Daet municipality. This is the perfect place to choose for your summer vacation under the tropical sun.
Visitors of the Bicol region can also enjoy the delicious and spicy Bicolano food. Many tourists come back to the province not only to enjoy its tropical landscapes but also to have a taste again of its food delicacies.
Here is a list of the top 10 best Bicolano foods:
- Bicol Express
Spicy foods are the cuisine specialty of the Bicol region. The province is well-known for its Bicol Express. This spicy dish is most popular not only in the province of Bicol but has become a staple of Filipino food throughout the whole country. However, other cities or provinces that are trying to create their own Bicol Express variety couldn’t imitate the original Bicolanos style. The dish is called Bicol Express because it’s very spicy and it’s said that those who eat it are made to run as fast as an express train. So, if you want to try Bicol Express, be prepared to experience a spicy hot dish. Have plenty of tissue by your side because you’ll most likely to get tears due to its extreme spicy hot taste. Also, have some water ready to manage its hotness.
- Dinuguan Bicol
Dinuguan is a Filipino dish that isn’t particular to the Bicol region. This Filipino style stew is usually made of pork snout, heart, ears, intestines, and lungs and meat mixed in a spicy dark gravy of vinegar, garlic, and pig blood. This food is somehow similar to the Irish and British black pudding or the blood sausage European-style. The Dinuguan Bicol is cooked in a particular style. In Bicol’s distinctive cuisine, some chili pepper is also added to the dinuguan, giving it a spicy taste.
Tilmok is a Bicolano native dish that is specific only to the region. The main ingredients in the dish are the crab meat and coconut. They are mixed together and steamed. The Tilmok dish is served wrapped in banana leaves. Due to the abundance of coconut and crab in the region, Tilmok is a staple food in the Bicol Province. However, this delicious food is not only popular with the locals but also well-known among foreigners.
The Kinunot is an exotic dish particular to the Bicol region. In the local dialect, kunot or kinunot means shredded. This tasty favorite Bicolano food is made of coconut milk, malunggay leaves, and flaked fish. The main ingredient found in the recipe is shark meat or stingray meat. The shark meat in this dish is one of the tastiest ways to cook this scary creature. However, because the shark is protected and not allowed to be caught anymore, nowadays the Kinunot recipe mostly replaced it with stingray fish. To cook this Bicolano food, the ingredients added are moringa or malunggay leaves, vinegar, and coconut cream.
- Pinangat or Laing
Pinangat or Laing is a Bicolano vegetarian dish. You can usually find this dish on the menu of some fine restaurants in the Bicol region. The native Bicolano recipe is based on ingredients such as coconut cream, taro or “Gabi” leaves, and chili pepper. Since most Filipinos can pick up some taro plants in their backyard, this is an affordable vegetarian dish in the region.
- Ginataang Labong
The Ginataang Labong Bicolano dish is made of sardines or shrimp paste, coconut milk, and bamboo shoots. The Bicolano style recipe also adds some chili pepper to the mix. The secret in getting the best taste is to use bamboo shoots picked up during rainy days and some really fresh shrimp.
- Pili nuts
The Bicol region is rich in Pili nuts. You can mostly find them in dessert stores and the pasalubong center. The recipes based on Pili nuts many and diverse. After boiling the nuts they are consumed with fish sauce dip. By adding some sugar to the raw Pili nuts, you can caramelize them.
- Ginataang Santol
Since coconut milk is one of the staples products of the Bicol region, the Ginataang Santol Bicolano fish includes this ingredient as well. By adding coconut milk to the soar Santol fruit, the combination has a unique taste. The coconut milk can be cooked with various vegetables such as bitter gourd, banana blossom, winged beans, or eggplant.
Bicol region is also rich in banana products. Sinapot is a tasty dish having the main ingredient the Cardaba or the Saba banana variety. For this recipe, it is best to use a yellowish or greenishbanana that is just half-ripe. In order to prepare this delicious food, the banana is peeled first and then sliced into pieces. Water, salt, sugar, flour and baking powder are mixed in a bowl. In the Metro Manila region, the recipe uses just flour with no egg in the mixture. However, the authentic Bicolano Sinapot is using eggs and sticky rice flour as a batter mixture. Depending on personal taste, some people also add little toppings like confectionery sugar or grated coconut.
- Pancit Bato
Pancit Bato is a variety of noodles recipe that originated in the municipality of Bato, from the Camarines Sur province within the Bicol region. The dish is somehow similar to the more widely known Pancit Canton. For the Pancit Bato dish, the noodles are cooked first. Carrots, cabbage, garlic, onion, and peppers.
What’s your favorite food to eat in Bicol? Share it with us in the comments section. We would love to hear from you.