Local Treats in Bicol - Philippines

What visit to Bicol would be complete without tasting their food? Here are the top picks of whats good to eat in this fascinating region of the Philippines.

Bicol Express

The Bicol Express is the most well known dish in the region and the following is the basic way it is cooked.

The ingredients here are pork, coconut milk, garlic, onion, salt, pepper, sugar and plenty of chili, as much you like actually. The process itself is simple; the pork is cooked in oil, while the onion and garlic are sautéed and added to the pork. The coconut milk is poured in and allowed to boil. The chili is added last. This spicy dish is served very warm.

Bicol Express with Bagoong

A variation of the Bicol Express is one wherein bagoong is included in the recipe, giving it a unique taste.

Besides the other ingredients of the Bicol Express mentioned earlier, Baguio beans are added and also plenty of sliced garlic and onion and the bagoong alamang or shrimp paste. It is prepared by pouring the coconut milk in a medium heated pot followed by the bagoong. The chili peppers are added with the chopped pork and cooked till boiling point. Before serving you may add more salt and pepper to give it extra flavor.


Tilmok, or coconut meat, is another tasty local dish that is not just popular among locals but also foreigners as well.

The ingredients are coconut meat, crab meat, calamansi (Philippine lemon), and some salt, pepper and garlic to taste. The process begins when the meats are mixed together and the garnishing added on. The calamansi is sprinkled along with the pepper and salt. They are placed in banana leaves and steamed for 15 minutes and then its ready to be served.

Dinuguang Bicol

Although the idea of eating pigs blood may not seem pleasant, all apprehensions will disappear once you get a taste of this delicacy.

The ingredients of this dish include pigs blood (at least six cups), coconut milk, about ¼ kilo of pork, and an assortment of garnishing and seasoning, including fish sauce (known in the vernacular as patis), vinegar, garlic and onion. The dish itself is cooked by first sautéing the onion and garlic and putting in the pork.

After mixing the vinegar is added along with the pigs blood. When the blood is thick and the meat tender, the coconut milk is included and allowed to cook again. This dish is served with rice cakes or fried rice.

Umba na Pata

Last but not the least is the Umba na Pata, a tasty concoction that is becoming popular to eat in restaurants.

Made up of meat, garlic, onion, generous helpings of vinegar, soy sauce, white sugar, the dish may also include soft drinks (common choice is Sprite or 7 Up). The result is a recipe with a very refined and delicious texture.

Filipinos have always been known for their love of food, and as this top 5 local treats in Bicol shows, the people in this region are no exception. Tasty and scrumptious, these meals will leave an impression on your taste buds that will have you yearning for more.