Bicol Express – Not a Train But a Dish




Source:  Cook ‘n Share


The outcome of this Bicol Express Recipe can be described as pork cooked in coconut milk with shrimp paste and chilies. No wonder the name of this dish was derived from a Philippine region (Bicol) wherein Coconuts are abundant and the use of chilies is emphasized in most local meals.

There are stories saying that Bicol express was conceptualized and first cooked by Ms. Cely Kalaw in her Manila restaurant sometime during the late 60’s to the early 70’s. Based on an article written by Angela De Leon entitled Soul Train: The Unlikely Beginnings Of A Beloved Filipino Dish (published in Chile Pepper Magazine last October 2006), Ms. Kalaw toned down the heat on her Taro dish (this could be “Laing”) after receiving complains from some customers. However, she knew that other customers wanted the Taro dish to be hot and spicy so she invented another amazingly spicy hot dish that would best compliment the Taro. Thus, Bicol Express was born.  Source:  Panlasang Pinoy


Bicol Express Recipe

Source:  Kawaling Pinoy

Prep time

Cook time

Total time

Yield: 4 to 6 Servings


    • 1 tablespoon oil
    • 1 small onion, peeled and chopped
    • 6 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
    • 2 tablespoons shrimp paste
    • 2 pounds pork belly, cut into strips
    • 2 cups coconut milk
    • 1 cup coconut cream
    • 1 cup water
    • 12 to 14 Thai chili peppers, stemmed and minced
    • salt and pepper to taste

  1. In a wide pot over medium heat, heat oil. Add onions and garlic and cook until aromatic. Add shrimp paste and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes or until it begins to brown.
  2. Add pork and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned. Add coconut milk and water and bring to a simmer. Cook for about 10 to 15 minutes or until liquid is reduced.
  3. Add coconut cream and chili peppers. Continue to cook for about 20 to 25 minutes or until pork is tender and sauce begins to render fat. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot.


Other Photos


Source:  Pinay In Texas Cooking Corner


Source:  TuroTuro


Source:  Panlasang Pinoy


Source:  Home Cooking ‘n Baking