Aside from adventures that surround the most majestic Mayon Volcano, there’s also a lot of thrill in a Bicolano food trip. Your palate will be activated by Bicol’s various spicy delicacies, many of which are made with coconut milk or gata, which is another prominent local ingredient aside from red (or green) hot chili peppers. They are best experienced at local eateries, which not only sell at reasonable prices but also serve dishes with the most authentic flavors.
If you see yourself going on a food trip around Legazpi City and the many other beautiful towns in the Bicol region, be sure you have these dishes (and desserts) on your list!
You can’t talk about Bicolano cuisine without the mention of Bicol Express. The dish is typically made with pork, mixed with two key Bicolano ingredients, chili and coconut milk, as well as shrimp paste. If you’ve eaten Bicol Express anywhere outside of the province, you may want to brace yourself as others pale in comparison to the authentic dish made by a Bicolano.
Laing / Pinangat
Laing is Bicol’s own kind of pesto, a simple green dish that has captured the hearts of many. Its main ingredient is shredded gabi or taro leaves, cooked with coconut milk and chili—even with just these, you already have a satisfying rice partner. However, you may also find versions with seafood or other meats. You’ll know you’ve got the perfect laing when it cruises smoothly in your mouth without that itch from poorly prepared taro leaves.
The Bicol region is blessed with an abundance of marine resources, which allow Bicolanos to enjoy dishes like kinunot made with stingray or pagi. Stingray meat is shredded and mixed with moringa leaves, coconut milk, and chili. This dish is best enjoyed at Bicol’s beaches and near fishing communities where you can ensure the freshest catch. You may also find versions made with shark meat, crab, and other fish.
At first look, pancit Bato may look like your regular pancit canton as it’s cooked very similarly. However, it’s worth trying in Bicol because it uses a special kind of noodles that originated in Bato, Camarines Sur. Compared with canton, the noodles are distinctly firmer with a nice toasty flavor. Pancit Bato can either be stir-fried or cooked with soup.
Who doesn’t love desserts after a meal? In Bicol, you have a variety of unique options too! Can’t get enough of the spicy thrill? Grab sili ice cream from 1st Colonial Grill, the restaurant that started it all. Tiwi halo-halo is also popular; not spicy but cheesy! It’s named after Tiwi, Albay, where it was popularized by DJC Halo-Halo
Also don’t miss out on various kakanin or rice delicacies. You can find them scattered across public markets and street stalls, like puto bukayo filled with sweet shredded coconut and linubak made with mashed cassava.
Ready for your Bicol food trip? Be sure to have exciting activities in your itinerary as well, such as this Mount Mayon SkyDrive ATV Experience!
Stuck at home? We’ve got you covered! Find various snacks and sweets you can order on KKday!