This Bicol Express Recipe is a flaring hot Filipino dish that is distinctly loved because of the marriage of flavors of coconut which is an abundant agricultural product in the Bicol region and chilies which are also evident in every Bicolanos diet. Bicol express is also very easy to make. It is made up of pork (you can use sirloin or liempo cut into cubes) coconut milk or “gata”, green chili (siling pansigang), shrimp paste or bagoong alamang and some aromatics like onion, garlic and ginger.

Bicol Express Recipe

The creamy coconut milk should be simmered in slow cooking. That is when you could savor the rich texture of this dish. If there is no available fresh coconut milk, you can always use powdered coconut milk. Just add water or follow the manufacturer’s instruction. For a hotter and spicier version of Bicol express, you can opt to use the red chilies or the Siling Labuyo.

Bicol Express Main Ingredients

Bicol Express Recipe Preparation Tips

This dish will make your sweat glands active, so make sure to have a glass of juice or water beside you just in case you can take the heat. There are unconfirmed stories about the Origin of Bicol express. There are some articles that tells the early story of a lady named Cely Kalaw who was born in Laguna but eventually moved and grew up in Naga. She then became a restaurateur and concocted the recipe of bicol express around the 1960’s in her restaurant in Malate, Manila. The food establishment is called Groove Restaurant. Other food historians also said that bicol express was derived from the local Bicol dish called Gulay na Lada.

This Bicol Express Recipe can be found on simple food stalls or carinderia to upscale restaurants around the country. Each having their own versions of this flaming hot dish. But one thing is for sure when you cook and eat this pork dish, be brave and be ready to experience a burning taste sensation.

💪Here’s how to make your own hot and spicy Bicol Express Recipe !!! 👇

Bicol Express Recipe
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 5
  • ½ lb. pork belly, diced
  • 2 cups thin coconut milk
  • 1-1/2 to 2 cups fresh alamang (shrimp paste)
  • 4 cups chili pepper, seeded and sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 medium-sized onion, minced
  • 1 cup thick coconut cream
  • 3 tablespoons minced ginger
  • salt to taste
  1. First, you have to soak chili in water with salt. Let stand for 30 minutes and then rinse and drain thoroughly.
  2. Heat a pan and then pour-in the cooking oil.
  3. Sauté the garlic, onion, and ginger
  4. Add the pork and then continue cooking for 8 minutes or until the color becomes light brown
  5. Mix thin coconut milk and alamang (shrimp paste),
  6. Bring to a boil, lower heat and then simmer for 10 minutes.
  7. Add chili and cook until half the liquid has evaporated.
  8. Pour in thick coconut cream and continue cooking until oil comes out from the cream.
  9. Add salt and ground black pepper to taste.

Bicol Express IngredientsBicol Express soak chili in waterBicol Express Add pork to sauteed onion and gingerBicol Express pour coconut cream

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