Bicol Express
How to Make Bicol Express

How to Make Bicol Express

By the name alone, one will have the idea that this recipe originated from Bicol, a region in the Philippines known for its spicy cuisine. In addition, the term “Bicol Express,” was taken from the name of the passenger train service from Manila to Bicol. From the time this traditional dish from Bicol was popularized in the district of Malate, there have been a number of recipes that grew like mushrooms. However, each individual interpretation of the Bicol express still has the very essence of the dish, which is the presence of long chillies that evoke the spiciness that made this recipe popular, especially among those who have inclination for spicy foods. Try this recipe for yourself, but first allow yourself to be acquainted with the ingredients below:


250 grams beef, sliced in strips

1 piece of ginger, minced

1 clove of garlic, minced

1 piece of onion, diced

6 long chillies either sliced or not

6 sword peppers

1 cup of coconut milk

2 tablespoons salty shrimp relish (Alamang)

½ sachet Magic Sarap

Cooking Direction:

  1. Sauté onion, ginger and garlic. Add the beef into the pan and stir it well. Let it simmer for about 30 minutes to soften the meat. However, you can lessen the cooking time if you have a soft type of beef.
  2. Once the beef is already soft and well-cooked, you can already add the rest of the ingredients: chillies, sword peppers, coconut milk and salty shrimp relish (alamang). Stir the mixture and let it simmer for another 2-3 minutes.
  3. Add the Magic Sarap and mix it well to distribute the flavour evenly.
  4. Have a taste of your dish to know if it lacks flavour or spiciness, so as you can add more if you desire. Once you are satisfied with your meat and the over-all taste of your dish, you can serve it already. It would be better to eat this spicy cuisine while it is hot.

With regard to this recipe, you should expect that the leftovers will be much spicier in the following hours. Hence, if you prefer its taste that way, you have all the liberty to keep some for you to indulge the next day. You just have to place it inside fridge so it won’t be spoiled. This recipe is good for 5-6 persons. (I didn’t place everything in the picture.)

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