Lutu-lutuan #13: Bicol Express

Bicol express is one of my favorite Filipino dish. It’s spicy and I love food with coconut milk sauce. ❀

I chance upon an episode of Pinas Sarap show on TV and they said that Bicol Express was originally from Bicol as the name suggests. Vendors would sell the dish to passengers on train stations of then PNR that travels Manila to Bicol (and vice versa), thus, the “Express” on its name.

This may be true or not but I really think that the Bicol part is true. πŸ™‚

Anyways, here’s our recipe of Bicol Express.


  • 1 head garlic, crushed and minced
  • 2 onions, sliced thinly
  • 2-3 tbsp minced ginger
  • 1 kg pork, cut into strips or small cubes
  • 2-8 siling labuyo (bird’s eye chili), minced
  • 1/4 kg siling pangsigang (long green pepper), sliced thinly
  • 1/2 cup alamang (shrimp paste)
  • 3 cups coconut milk
  • Crushed black pepper to season


β€’ Amount of chili and pepper depend on your tolerance of spicy food and how spicy the chili and pepper really are. This version can be spicy for non-spicy food eaters.

β€’ For the long green pepper, I usually put it in a bowl of water after slicing then i shake off the seeds.

β€’ Buy shrimp paste in the market that is not very salty. The more vibrant pink it is, the saltier it is. You choose the one that is more natural looking. If you cant find it, use less amount or put it gradually (start with 1 tbsp) until you get the right taste.

β€’ I tried using the canned coconut cream from the grocery (400ml) instead of making the coconut milk from raw shredded coconut meat. I added 1 cup water for this recipe.


  1. Heat oil in a pan then saute onion, garlic and ginger.
  2. Add pork and saute until it turns light brown.
  3. Add siling labuyo and siling pangsigang. Mix for 2 minutes
  4. Stir in shrimp paste.
  5. Pour coconut milk (and water if you’re using canned cream). Mix well then bring to a boil. Cover, lower the heat and let it simmer for 40 minutes or until the pork gets tender. Stir occassionally.
  6. If the liquid is not reduced to half after the last step, remove cover and let it simmer until it is reduced to half or the oil from the coconut milk starts to come out.
  7. Add pepper to season.

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