15 Awesome Foods of Bicol, Philippines
Discover 15 awesome foods of Bicol. Bicol is a region in the Philippines. Many people consider it to have the best food in the country. OMG! Compared to the rest of the Philippines, the food of Bicol is something else. Lots of flavors and spices. As soon as I took my first bite of Pinganat, I knew Bicol was where I was going to make my base. Only thing now is, where in Bicol? By the end of this trip I will know, but for now, here is a guide to 15 awesome foods of Bicol.
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15 Awesome Foods of Bicol, Philippines
The first time I came to the Philippines I knew I was going to “set up shop” there for a while. In fact, as I write this I am on a mission to find a place to live. Anyway, the Philippines has a lot going for it. Cheap to live, friendly people, lots of outdoors activities, widespread English, and more. The one thing I felt let it down was the food. Don’t get me wrong, I like Filipino food. But compare it to other Asian countries like China, Vietnam or Thailand and it falls short. That is of course until you get to Bicol.
Some of these may not be strictly Bicol foods but they are foods which I found in Bicol.
Pinganat was my first experience of Bicol food. It was good! I got it from the SM Mall food court in Naga City. I’m not sure what it is exactly. Some kind of meat mixed with some kind of spinach-type vegetable and then a creamy sauce on top.
In mine a god a minced meat, but you could get something different, such as seafood.
I found this in a street food stall next to San Fransisco Church in Naga City, but I saw it everywhere. Actually, you can find most of the foods on this list in street food stalls all over Bicol. Minced meat with vegetables in a gravy sauce. Delicious.
Along with the Bopis, I got Sitaw as my vegetable part. It is green beans in a coconut sauce. I don’t usually like green beans that much but the sauce they put on it makes it very easy to eat. My whole meal of Bopis, Sitaw, one serve of rice and a sprite cost under 80php.
4. Toasted Siopao
Bicol puts an awesome spin on the already awesome Siopao. Instead of the normal steamed way, they toast it, i.e., in a “western-style” bread bun. A nice change from the steamed type. This one cost 15php but you can get them for 8php from the bakery.
5. Goto Kinalas with Tokwa
Number 5 on this list of foods of Bicol is Goto.I had no idea what this was when I ordered it, but I was happy when I got it. It seems to me that Goto is rice porridge. Similiar to the Chinese “Zhou”, but more flavorsome. I’m not sure what Kinalas is but Tokwa, to my joy, is Toufu. I also saw fresh soft tofu for sale in the Naga market.
You can get Goto plain, with egg, with tofu, with kinalas etc.
My combination of Goto Kinalas with Tokwa cost about 40php. Goto plain only costs 10php.
6. Log Log
From the same place I got the Goto they also have a dish called Log Log which is a noodle soup. You can get all the same combinations as with Goto and it is pretty much the same price. The picture is Log Log Special which I guess is Chicken and Egg.
I didn’t realize it when I ordered this but it was Moringa leaves. For those of you that do not know, Moringa is ridiculously healthy, the super-est of the superfoods. It had some fishy aspect in there and the trademark coconut sauce of Bicol.
8. Kwek Kwek
This is another item which I had no idea what it was when I ordered it. I thought it was some kind of fruit (like Durian). Three pieces cost me 15php (from Rizal Plaza in Naga City). There’s a variety of things to put on it, and as the lady that sold it to me said, mix them all together. One was vinegar and the other was sweet. Then when I bit into the thing I discovered it was a quail egg in a deep fried batter. The combination of vinegar, egg, and sweet is nice.
You can get a ducks egg version also, called Tokneneng.
9. Pancit Canton Solo
Pancit is noodles. Canton (I’m guessing) is referring to Canton Province in China (now called Guangdong). So this is Stir Fried Egg Noodles. Simple and delicious. I have had this all over the Philippines. It is usually a bit salty for my tastes, but this one was ok.
10. Bicol Express
Number 10 on this list of foods of Bicol is Bicol Express. I had been wanting to try this for awhile and finally got round to it in Daet. It is pork meat in a coconut sauce. It was pretty good although I suspect they dummed down the spiciness a bit.
I think this is the same thing as Pinganat (#1) but wasn’t presented as nice. Still tasted good though.
I was very happy with this dish. A sour soup with pork or fish and lots of veggies. It was big enough for two with rice, but I managed it okay. I had a good nap that afternoon.
13. Turron Lanka
Banana wrapped in a spring roll type wrapper and deep fried. It’s still healthy because of the banana right? Who cares, it tasted amazing.
This picture is from out the front of SM Supermarket in Daet. One day in the White Waves Hotel the manager cooked their home-made version and put mango in one of them for me.
14. Halo Halo with Cheese
Halo Halo is all over the Philippines, but in Bicol, they put cheese on top! It is definitely worth a try. Whether you go back for seconds or not will definitely depend upon personal taste.
15. Pork Meatballs
The last things on this list of foods of Bicol are pork meatballs. I’m not sure of the Filipino name for this dish, but the main thing here is the sauce. In the picture, it is over pork rissoles, but I also had it over chicken. It is delicious.
Bicol food features coconut in many of their dishes. I’m a massive fan of coconut oil (for loads of stuff), but can only take so much in food (it can be a bit too rich for me sometimes). Another ingredient they use a lot are spices, in particular, chili – which I LOVE.
In my opinion, Bicol food is better than all other food in the Philippines. What’s great is that if the flavors get a bit much for you then they also have all the normal Filipino foods. The best of both worlds.
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