Bicol is well known for their food that is cooked in “gata” or coconut milk. The province is blessed with a lot of coconut trees and one would notice that almost all their dishes are cooked in coconut milk.
One of the famous Bicolano dishes to try is “Laing” or “gabi”. These are taro leaves that are air dried first, hung upside down to drain the water fast from the leaves, then after drying the leaves for a few days, chopped into small pieces and cooked in coconut leaves and chili pepper. Sometimes it is best to include few cuts of meat or dried fish to it. The spicy and creamy taste of this dish made it very famous all over the country that almost every Filipino, not just in Bicol region, had tasted it.
Another well known dish from Bicol is “Bicol Express” named after the train. It is small cuts of pork meat cooked in shrimp paste (bagoong alamang) and heavy coconut milk with a lot of green chili pepper. This is a must try for everyone who goes to Bicol. Though it can be cooked easily at home, “Bicol Express” cooked by a Bicolano has a very distinct taste that you will never forget.
When it comes to sweets, Pili nuts or candied Pili nuts is one Bicolanos can be proud of. Pili trees are usually found in the forests of Bicol Region. These oval shaped nuts with sharp ends turned in magenta colors mean they are ready to harvest. The process of making them in a delicious candy treat is a bit long. After they harvest the nuts, they would need to dry them because the nutshells are slippery, thus making it harder when they remove the nutshells. After that when they get the white part they have to boil it first before cooking it in sugar.
These are only few of the known foods in Bicol. Make sure you try them all when you get to visit the beautiful province of Bicol.