LP21: Bicol Express para sa A-Tapang A-Tao

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I had been really busy and so lost and confused and excited (and whatever), all at the same time in another foreign land that I didn’t have time to blog. But it really is good to know that Lasang Pinoy once again is back and with a very interesting theme. When I had that precious time I even reminded my good friend Bursky about it and he told me that he’s already writing his entry that very moment. Impatiently I asked, “Sino ang sa ‘yo?” Then he answered, “si ano.” (Won’t tell you, just read his blog.) And so I said, pardon my humor or the lack of it but however hard I try to think and concentrate on a hero that I could associate myself with I just can’t help but think about…

Andres Bonifacio, a-tapang a-tao
A-putol a-kamay, hindi a-takot
A-putol a-paa, hindi atakot
A-putol a-ulo, hindi a-takot
A-putol a-***n, a-takbo atulin!

I even told him a dated joke about Andres’ monument and he eagerly waited for me to share it. Shoot!

Tanong: Ano ang sigaw ni Andres sa Monumento?
Sagot: (holding his tabak on one hand, he cursed with a significant emphasis on the 1st syllable) Pooot*****a mo Marcos! Hanggang d’yan lang ang LRT!

The poor twenty-something dude has never heard it before. Oh how he rolled all over the floor laughing out loud! (Obviously, we were on YM.) He then commented that at one point Andres almost turn around to face EDSA. This time to curse Gloria about MRT.

Oh well, I don’t mean disrespect but truthfully, The Great Plebian and Father of the Katipunan is known for being a-tapang na tao and if I were a binibini ng katipunan I would always be giving the supremo something that will even enhance his extra-ordinary valor (*evil grin* ano kaya yun?). Para hindi sya a-takbo a-tulin. A condiment full of siling labuyo will do the trick but he needs more protein to be stronger. Bicol Express maybe! Yeah yeah the dish wasn’t even invented during his time besides the fact that he’s not Bicolano (and so is Bicol Express). But who knows? Maybe I could have been the one who invented it. (I wish.) Anyhoo, having little time to cook given my present situation in New Zealand, Bicol Express is the only hot and spicy Filipino dish I’ve had here so far. Pretty explains why I chose it, huh? And here’s another bummer. I didn’t even cook the one shown in the photos! It’s lovingly and passionately concocted by my friend’s hubby E.

Ground pork (strips of pork is said to be best)
Several pieces of green chili, cut into small rings (remove seeds for less zing)
Chopped garlic
Chopped onion
Onion rings, cut into ringlets
Coconut milk
Fish sauce

Fry garlic in hot oil until aromatic. Add ground pork and cook for several minutes until a little brownish. Throw in the onion and chili and season with fish sauce. Stir-fry for another 2 minutes. Pour in coconut milk and cook until the sauce is thick and natural oil appears. Turn off the heat. Sprinkle with ringlets of onion rings, mix well and cover for a couple of minutes. Great with fried fish and plain rice. Mabuhay ang Katipunan!

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I am not a professional cook. My only claim to having a culinary background is a short stint as my dad’s teen ‘sous chef’ in his carinderia ages ago. Dad ran small eateries since I was a young kid - serving standard ‘turo-turo’ food ranging from the likes of menudo, adobo, pritong isda, dinuguan, binagoongan, bopis, munggo, pinakbet and giniling to merienda fares like goto, ginataan, pancit bihon, halu-halo and saging con yelo.

My father, a farmer in his hometown before working his way to becoming an accountant, definitely influenced my cooking in a lot of ways than I thought. My siblings and I were raised in a backyard full of fruit trees and vegetable garden. We spent weekends and the summer breaks running around with ducks, chickens, goats and pigs. I had wonderful memories of gathering eggs, butchering chickens, selling vegetables and the sweet aroma of preserved fruits. But my love for art led me to a degree in Architecture. Just few months after getting my license, I went abroad and lived independently at age 23. Definitely no maid, no cook, and a totally different food culture. Along the way I met lots of friends and spent what seemed a lifetime learning new tricks and recipes.

Now living in Auckland, I am a work-from-home mum who juggles time between work, fun and family - in pursuit of work-life balance. No matter how busy I am, I love the idea of cooking for my family. My blog chronicles home cooking greatly influenced by life outside my home country from Southeast Asia to Beijing and Auckland. And most of the time, being busy also means easy (sometimes quick), affordable meals.

18 thoughts on “LP21: Bicol Express para sa A-Tapang A-Tao

  1. the expletive is the key! hahaha…

    i’m scared of making a mess out of bicol express. and then i see this one with ground meat! shall i do it? hmmm…

  2. wow! buena mano! thanks for this entry, iska.

    btw, is that fried samaral right next to the bicol express? i’m getting hungry already.

  3. What the heck! I didn’t even know that they are having another Lasang Pinoy episode. O’h well I guess I’ll catch on up the next one.. ISKA you made a good choice of choosing your hero I would have picked him my self and of course the Bicol Express to go with it.. Mabuhay!

    Robert Colinares
    Missouri, USA

  4. Di ba we were also discussing via YM about Andy as our chosen hero? Good thing I attended that Luna commemorative in Ilocos recently. Otherwise, tatlo tayong si Andoy ang napiling hero . . .

    I haven’t had Bicol Express for a long time now. Perhaps I should instruct the chef here to make some one of these days . . . And indeed, Ces, this reminds me of Koya . . . Heheheee . . .

    Great entry, Kais. I love the Andy jokes!

  5. oh my goodness, iska. you’ve got me salivating here. after ROTFL with those jokes! ano ba ‘yan….. i had no idea you were in NZ na. buti naman at may bicol express d’yan.

  6. Excellent entry and nice post! :) I love Bicol Express…thank you so much for sharing your recipe! Now I can make it whenever I want! Yay! :)

  7. Nice! Loved your Bicol Express! I’m now experimenting on Asian Cuisine. Try substituting beef strips instead of ground pork and add lemon grass, lime juice, garlic & palm sugar. The kick is so bloody addicting, and it’s always perfect beer match.

    I had to back out on Continental cooking after finishing up a Banquet Course.

  8. @Dhey: Yeah right! You weren’t used to hearing (reading) that from me hahaha!
    Wag matakot sa Bicol Express… express yourself! Read Elbimbo’s comment here and how he used beef strips.

    @Bryan: It’s a very interesting theme. Why on earth should I miss it? Thank YOU!
    I have no idea what the fish was but it sure tastes good. Crunchy yum!

    @Ces: Oh yeah… ang kuya na masarap magluto. He should start a food blog and share his gift.

    @Robert: Hi! I need to research more if I choose another hero (aside from Rizal maybe) and that means more time which I don’t have hahaha! But I have always felt Andres is more pinoy na pinoy…

    @Mike: Yeah I remember that. We were talking about it while I was writing this entry hehehe… But you did an awesome entry bout Juan Luna no doubt. :-)

    @Stef: Good I had you ROTFL though I think I will make a better job if we’re all facing each other hehehe
    Yes Stef, dito na ko sa NZ and have a better access to Filipino ingredients than in Beijing. I haven’t started cooking much though.

    @Marvin: Try it Marvin and you’ll enjoy! :-)

    @Em Dy: Didn’t know it’s that popular now in cafeterias. (But when was the last time I was home? wahahaha!)
    Thanks for visiting my site Em Dy!

    @elbimbo: Hmmm… that sounds like quillo and I like it so much. I was even addicted to it at one point.
    Hey I miss your LP entries…

    @Joey: Oh well it’s my friend’s recipe hehehe and it was really good! I’ll do it myself sometime.

    @Dhanggit: Hello! Thanks for the visit :-)
    Ako din… after reading all the comments parang gusto ko mag-Bicol Express uli tuloy mamaya…

  9. Confession: I had bicol express only once before, and that’s because it was very mild and it disappointed me. Thanks for the recipe so maybe I can make one to my taste :)

    PS your domain name kind of freaked me out! I thought for a while there an unwanted picture of Piolo Pascual would pop up!

  10. It’s somehow related to quillo, except maybe for the onions. Before serving, I pour a condiment mixture of: chilis, garlic, salt, pepper, sugar, lime juice & the good old patis. I’ve never used patis this much, but patis gives out that ASEAN flavour I truly miss: HOT! Perfect for this bloody cold weather.

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