Bicol Express: A Spicy Culinary Journey

Bicol Express: A Spicy Culinary Journey
Bicol Express: A Spicy Culinary Journey

Preparation Time: 1 hour 10 minutes Cooking Time: 30 minutes Total Time: 1 hour 40 minutes Servings: 6 Calories: 1102 per serving of this yummy Bicol Express recipe.

My Fiery Affair with Bicol Express

The first time I encountered Bicol Express, it was more than just a meal; it was a challenge. The dish, with its rich coconut milk and fiery chilies, beckoned me with a promise of an unforgettable culinary adventure.

As I prepared the ingredients, I could feel the anticipation building. The pork belly, succulent and inviting, was the perfect canvas for the bold flavors to come. The shrimp paste, pungent and savory, was a reminder of the dish’s authentic roots.

With each chili I sliced, the air grew thick with spice, and I knew this was not a dish for the faint-hearted. I remembered the advice from a Bicolano friend: “If it doesn’t make you sweat, it’s not Bicol Express.”

The cooking process was a dance of heat and flavor. The coconut milk simmered gently, enveloping the kitchen in its sweet aroma. The chilies added their intense heat, turning the stew into a bubbling cauldron of spice.

When it was time to taste, I braced myself. The first spoonful was a burst of creaminess, immediately followed by an escalating heat that filled my senses. It was a delicious torment, the kind that made you reach for more despite the fire.

I paired the Bicol Express with steamed rice, which did little to temper the heat but everything to complement the flavors. Each bite was a testament to the dish’s reputation—a hearty, spicy, and utterly satisfying experience.

As I savored the last of the stew, I felt a sense of accomplishment. I had not only made Bicol Express, but I had also embraced its fierce spirit. It was a dish that demanded respect, and in return, it offered a taste of the Bicol region’s vibrant culture.

From that day on, Bicol Express became more than just a recipe to me. It was a memory etched in flavor, a dish that captured the essence of adventure on a plate.


  • 1 tablespoon Canola Oil
  • 1 Onion, thinly sliced
  • 4 cloves Garlic, minced
  • 2 pounds Pork Belly, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 2 tablespoons Fresh Shrimp Paste
  • 13 ½ ounces Coconut Milk
  • 1 cup Water
  • 14 pieces Chili Peppers, minced
  • 2 cups Finger Chilies (siling haba), sliced
  • 1 cup Coconut Cream
  • Salt and Pepper to taste


Bicol Express: A Spicy Culinary Journey
Bicol Express: A Spicy Culinary Journey
Bicol Express: A Spicy Culinary Journey
Bicol Express: A Spicy Culinary Journey
Bicol Express: A Spicy Culinary Journey
1. fry pork
2. brown
3. add milk
4. add more
5. ready
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  1. Begin by heating the canola oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the sliced onions and minced garlic, sautéing until they become translucent and aromatic.
  2. Introduce the pork belly cubes to the skillet and cook until they are evenly browned on all sides. This step is crucial for developing deep flavors in the dish.
  3. Stir in the fresh shrimp paste, blending it well with the pork. The shrimp paste is a key ingredient that imparts a unique savory depth to the Bicol Express.
  4. Pour in the coconut milk and water, and bring the mixture to a gentle simmer. Allow the pork to cook in this creamy base until it becomes tender, which should take about 20 minutes.
  5. Add the minced chili peppers and sliced finger chilies to the skillet. The chilies are the heart of Bicol Express, giving it its characteristic fiery kick. Adjust the quantity to suit your heat preference.
  6. Finally, stir in the coconut cream and continue to simmer the mixture. The coconut cream will thicken the sauce and add a luxurious richness to the dish.
  7. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Continue to cook the Bicol Express until the sauce reaches your desired consistency.
  8. Serve the Bicol Express hot, accompanied by steamed rice. The creamy, spicy stew is not only a feast for the taste buds but also a comforting meal that embodies the vibrant spirit of Bicolano cuisine.

Enjoy your homemade Bicol Express, a dish that promises a bold and satisfying experience with every spoonful

Must try: Seafood Boil Sauce for a Feast to Remember

Here’s the nutritional information for Bicol Express per serving

NutrientAmount per Serving
Calories1102 kcal
Carbohydrates10 g
Protein21 g
Fat110 g
Saturated Fat53 g
Cholesterol168 mg
Sodium411 mg
Potassium592 mg
Fiber2 g
Sugar2 g
Vitamin A45 IU
Vitamin C15.8 mg
Calcium52 mg
Iron4.2 mg

Bicol Express is a creamy and spicy Filipino stew made with pork, coconut milk, and fresh chilies. It’s a flavorful and satisfying dish that packs a punch! Enjoy. 🌶️🥥🍲

Related FAQ’s

Q: What is Bicol Express?

A: Bicol Express is a popular Filipino dish known for its creamy coconut milk sauce and spicy chili peppers. It typically features pork belly and is flavored with shrimp paste.

Q: How spicy is Bicol Express?

 A: Traditionally, Bicol Express is quite spicy due to the use of chili peppers. However, you can adjust the spiciness to your preference by reducing the number of chilies or removing the seeds.

Q: Can I use a different type of meat for Bicol Express?

A: Yes, while pork belly is traditional, you can substitute it with chicken, beef, or even seafood for a different twist on the recipe.

Q: Is Bicol Express suitable for a low-calorie diet?

A: Bicol Express is rich in calories due to the pork belly and coconut milk. If you’re watching your calorie intake, consider using leaner cuts of meat and light coconut milk.

Q: Can Bicol Express be made vegetarian? 

A: Absolutely! For a vegetarian version, omit the pork and shrimp paste, and use tofu or mushrooms as the main ingredient.

Q: What’s the best way to store leftover Bicol Express? 

 A: Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat gently to avoid the coconut milk from separating.

Q: Can I freeze Bicol Express?

A: Yes, it can be frozen. Let it cool completely before transferring to a freezer-safe container. It can be stored for up to 1 month.

Q: How do I prevent the coconut milk from curdling?

A: To prevent curdling, cook the coconut milk on a gentle simmer and avoid bringing it to a rapid boil.

Q: What can I serve with Bicol Express?

A: this recipe is best served with steamed rice to balance the dish’s richness and heat.

Q: Can I make Bicol Express less fatty?

A: Yes, you can trim the fat from the pork belly or use a leaner cut of meat. Additionally, opt for light coconut milk to reduce the fat content.

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