Bicol Express Recipe

Speedy's Bicol Express

The secret to the best Bicol Express is in browning the pork until crisp before simmering with chilies in coconut cream.
Course Main Course
Cuisine Filipino
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings 3 people
Author Connie Veneracion



  • Cut the pork belly into one-inch cubes. Separate any large chunks of pork fat.
  • Peel and finely slice the shallots.
  • Peel and mince the garlic.
  • Peel and finely chop the ginger.
  • Thinly slice the lemongrass (white and light green portions only; see visual guide for preparing lemongrass for cooking).
  • Thinly slice the finger chilies. If you prefer less heat, slit the chilies and scrape off the seeds and white pith inside before slicing (see if you want your chilies mildly hot instead of very hot). Reserve a tablespoon for garnish.
  • Heat a thick pan (Speedy used our carbon steel wok). Toss in the pork fat and cook over medium heat until you have about two tablespoons of rendered fat. Scoop out any remaining solids (it's chicharon!).
  • Add the pork cubes to the rendered fat and cook over high heat until well browned. Ideally, the rind should be puffed. 
  • Add the shallots, garlic, ginger, lemongrass and chilies. Pour in a tablespoon of patis. Saute for a minute or so until aromatic.
  • Pour in the coconut cream. Add another tablespoon of patis. Bring to a gentle boil, lower the heat, cover the pan and simmer until the pork is tender and the liquid is reduced. 
  • Taste, add more patis, if needed. before turning off the heat.
  • Serve your Bicol Express garnished with the reserved chilies.


Although bagoong (shrimp paste) is a traditional ingredient of Bicol Express, we omit it because there are two of us in the family who are allergic to it. We substitute patis (fish sauce).