The Bicol region is consist of six provinces namely Albay, Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Catanduanes, Masbate, and Sorsogon. Not only will you find here one of the world’s most photogenic volcanoes, the Mayon Volcano, but also some of the most popular dishes in the country.
Bicolanos are known for using coconut milk and siling labuyo (hot chilies) in their cuisines. So here are a few of their dishes that are known throughout the country.
100 grams taro leaves (dahon ng gabi), (use dried leaves), (dried gabi leaves)
2 slices pork, cut into 1/4 inch-thick strips
1 to 2 tablespoons shrimp paste (bagoong alamang), to taste2 cloves garlic, chopped
3 cups coconut milk (gata)
2 cups coconut cream (kakang gata), or coconut cream
1 thumb-sized piece ginger, cut into large strips
4 pieces green finger chili (siling pangsigang), cut into 1-inch pieces
2 pieces red chili pepper (siling labuyo), sliced thinly
In a large pan over medium heat, spread out your pork belly strips and pour water over until meat is covered. Place the lid on and and cook until all liquid has evaporated and the pork fat has started to render.Combine the shrimp paste, garlic, coconut milk and ginger in the pan and stir for about 2 minutes.Add the taro (gabi) leaves and let it absorb the coconut milk. Avoid stirring the leaves. Let this boil and dry up for about 10 minutes.Add in the kakang gata or coconut cream, green chilies and bird’s eye chilies. Again, leave to boil or dry up for another 10 minutes. Add more chillies, if preferred. Serve warm with rice and other viands.