Bicolano Cuisine: A Bicol Food Trip Part 1

Bicol is land of the coconuts. It is situated along the typhoon belt so coconut trees are planted because they can bend and sway with the strong wind… just like the resilience of their people in difficult times. I can truly say that Bicolano cuisine has its own distinct identity with their heavy use of coconut milk and chili peppers. Food is generally spicier than the other regions. In the Philippines dishes are named after the cooking method. “Ginata” or “ginataang” means to cook in coconut milk. In fact almost all vegetables are cooked in coconut milk.

One very famous vegetable from the region is “gabi” or taro leaves.  They are hanged upside to dry before being used. Old folks  say it is not wise to stir the dish while cooking or else it will become “makati” or itchy . Non Bicolanos use the term “Laing” loosely to refer to gabi or taro leaves cooked in coconut milk.  The locals are very particular about the variations:

Laing - gabi leaves coocked in coconut milk, with shrimp paste or dried fish
Tilmok- gabi leaves cooked in coconut milk with fish meat or crab meat
Pinangat – layered gabi leaves cooked in coconut milk with bangot ( meaning “sahog” or sometimes minced pork).

Other vegetable dishes cooked in coconut milk:

Ginataang santol - santol fruit meat cooked in coconut milk

Purupagulong -Sigarilias sa gata

Ginataang puso ng saging – banana heart cooked in coconut milk

Other famous dishes:
Bicol express - named after the train. Pork cooked in coconut, a little shrimp paste and lots of chili peppers. In my travels I realized that each Bicolano family has their own version of the dish. Some serve it dried with the fat rendered out and others serve it with the creaminess of the coconut milk

Kinonut na Pagi - shredded sting ray meat cooked in coconut milk.

Fresh Alamang – similar to shrimp paste without the saltiness but is very spicy. Often eaten as an accompaniment in their meals. It’s derivative Bicolano homemade patis is also finished off with coconut milk.

There is an abundance is seafood like crabs, tuna, and squid as the provinces are located near the coastal water.

Fish drying is a very common along the sea shores

Sabang port along Camarines Sur boast of their Blue Marlin fishing industry.

Bicol is also known for the Pili Nut which grows only in this region. Culinary applications are similar to pecan or the macadamia nut. Albay has had this industry since the Spanish occupation. Tip for foodies is to look for the “Locsin” brand.

The different pili products

The Pili Nut

Another sweet dish is Binirubid – or pinilipit, deep fried rice flour with coconut milk, glazed with brown sugar

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About Pam

Teacher, cook, foodie, wanderlust, scuba diver
This entry was posted in food tours, Philippine Cuisine, Philippines, travel. Bookmark the permalink.

34 Responses to Bicolano Cuisine: A Bicol Food Trip Part 1

  1. Camilo Verces says:

    You missed one very original but rarely noticed Bicol dish. It is called “Tinutungan na Manok” or simply “Gulay na Manok”. This is also cooked in gata but before the grated coconut with is pressed to take out the gata, the coconut with is slightly burned with charcoal so the smell of the rest of the meat will be of burned coconut. The chicken used here is the native chicken so it organic. Most coconut in Bicol are organic because no one uses fertilizer. Some homes also use green chopped green papaya as additional ingredient while some also pours the blood of the chicken in the coconut meat while it is being pressed for the gata. The finished product therefore looks like dinuguan.

  2. admin says:

    Heard about the smoking process of grated coconut before extracting the milk (gata). Thanks for sharing that very important info.

  3. lace says:

    chef!sobrang nakakagutom naman tong entry!

  4. Avongail says:

    sir ano po b ung mga food ways & food pattern ng bicol dishes….pwde po malaman need q po kc sa report q sa school bukas,….

  5. Mark says:

    ayus chef!

  6. euness says:

    ahhmp.. good day!
    im looking on your best cuisine?
    im a HRM student.
    im looking forwrd you can help me.
    thanks.

  7. jeno says:

    pls post an picture of

    log log plain
    log log w/ egg
    log log w/ kinalas…

  8. myls says:

    chef,”biniribid” po ang tawag sa amin ng binirubid nyo

  9. myls says:

    can i ask for the recipe of nilatik?

  10. Ginataang dahon ng kamoteng-kahoy (cassava leaves) is also a popular bicolano dish. But, one has to be very careful in preparing the dish. Cassava leaves or cassava in general is known to contain neurotoxin. Young cassava leaves are carefully collected and extracted to remove the juice, which contains the toxins. The leaves are then air dried for an hour before cooking it in coconut milk (gata), smoked fish (tinapa or inagunan–smoked tuna meat), onion, garlic, and red chili (siling labuyo).

  11. jian says:

    i miss bicolano dish lalu na ung ginataang santol..uhhmm nakakapaglaway talaga,,,

  12. Adam Auro Asis says:

    Basta bikolano foods masiram maski dae na mag agum hahahaha

  13. anne2x says:

    Talaga namimis ko na nga Ang mga BICOL RECIPE Eh!! SAD.. :(

  14. anne2x says:

    Maka GADAN ang Ka SIRAm.. sa mga BICoL.. RECIPE.. Na mIs ko tuloy AGAD??

  15. Carlo Romano says:

    Hey Pam,

    Meron na ba part 2? I’m putting up a culinary tour in catanduanes bicol. It’s a separate island. I’ll keep you posted.
    But it’s basically 3 days and 3 nights. It’s a mix of culinary tour, Eco tour and enjoying and thinking if I’ll include a class on the last day.

    Look me up through twitter or email me your mobile number.ü
    See ya!!
    Carlo Romano

  16. chocolatecouture1226 says:

    The crab looks really good!

  17. I’d love to tag along with you! What an amazing post. Thanks.

  18. nice and interesting post!

  19. I came over to thank ypu for the ‘like’…and am fascinated!

  20. A very interesting and informative post!

  21. Thanks for the “like” – and what a fascinating and delicious-looking post this is! :-)

  22. Kasha says:

    Wow! I love seeing all the exotic ingredients and your pictures are great! Thanks for sharing and liking my post :)

  23. wineonmymind says:

    Gorgeous pictures and great post! Thanks for liking my recent blog post! Cheers.

  24. Fascinating! Wow! What a great window into their culture! Love it! Thanks for visiting my chocolate blog! So appreciate it!

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