Cooking Filipino Food: Bicol Express


I was once eating at a Filipino restaurant and I saw written on a menu “Bicol Express”. I knew that Bicol is a province in the Philippines. But why is this Filipino food called “Bicol Express”? I was so curious that I asked the chef. Unfortunately, he is so busy cooking that he didn’t have the time to talk to me. So as soon as I got home, I searched for the Filipino food recipes about the dish and tried to learn more about the awesome, one of a kind food that I was able to try.

It has been two days that I have been looking for about Bicol Express. I have seen quite a lot, but I don’t have the imagination to picture how it is like to cook this. I decided to go back to the restaurant. I noticed that, miraculously, there aren’t many people eating at that time. So I went in and ordered this Bicol Express again. As soon as I finished enjoying my meal, I then again asked for the chef. Yes! He was available and I was able to talk to him. I was able to ask him about the famous dish.  And then he explained to me the story Bicol Express. The chef said that Bicol Express is the name of the train that travels from the northern part of Luzon to the southernmost part of it, Bicol. The province is famous for their spicy dishes, and since Bicol Express is a food that is based on chilies, the name Bicol Express is born.

Still, I was so astonished with how this Filipino food is. It is a pork stew that is based on chilies and coconut milk. As weird as it may sound, these recipes are just surprisingly awesome. Read on and find out how to prepare this great recipe.

Okay, so let’s first prepare the ingredients. Let’s start with preparing the pork. Get ½ kilo and cut them into cubes. Get 4 cloves of garlic and mince them. Then, get a medium sized onion and slice them into cubes. Get 2 tablespoons shrimp paste for flavor. Prepare ¼ black ground pepper and 2 tablespoons of cooking oil too. Now get 2 cups of coconut milk. If you only were able to get the canned ones, then that will do – prepare 1 can. For the chilies, get 5 red chili peppers and 6 pieces of chili fingers. So your ingredients are now ready. 

First heat your pan and add your oil. Now you can sauté your garlic and onion. When the onion and garlic are ready, add in your pork and stir fry it for up to 7 minutes. Sometimes, the pork will be cooked faster, so be careful. As if the pork turns golden brown in less than 7 minutes, that’s fine. Most Filipino recipes indicate that as long as the pork is already cooked then its fine. Then, you can now add your shrimp paste and black ground pepper. Stir them together with the pork. Now it’s time for the chilies. Add both the chili finger and the red hot peppers. Shortly after, add the coconut milk. Stir well and let the it simmer for about 15 minutes. If the sauce thickens earlier than 15 minutes, then it’s done. Sometimes the coconut milk will need around 20 minutes to thicken. The trick written in most Filipino recipes is that you should just wait for the coconut milk to thicken and you’ll know that the it is cooked. Oh and don’t forget, you should serve it while hot!

You see, Filipino food is not hard to cook. Even when you look at varying Filipino recipes, you will notice that all those are easy to cook. They are quite simple to prepare too. This is the reason why more people all around the world are learning how to cook Filipino food. Try it yourself, grab a hold of different recipes and I assure that you and your stomach will both enjoy.

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