“The breakfast we never knew we needed.”
That’s exactly what the Bicol Express Longganisa–developed by the same team behind the now-famous Laing Longganisa (after gaining social media momentum and a massive outing as one of the top ten products during the 2019 Ultimate Taste Test by Our Awesome Planet)–is all about.
The long wait is over and the Bicol Express is here to stay–as a longganisa!
Bicol Express and its roots
Like many other Filipino dishes, the Bicol Express has several iterations. What remains constant however is its use of pork, balao/balaw or local salted baby shrimps, coconut milk, chili and aromatics.
In some areas of Bicol, versions of it may incorporate vegetables such as string beans, winged beans and bell pepper.
Some would add pineapples, adding a layer of sweetness to the dish. Others have versions of the Bicol Express as sauteed and pan-fried with little coconut milk, while others would be in its original stew version.
While the origin of the dish (and its name) is widely debated (others credit its roots to a non-Bicolana cook who was inspired by Bicol’s Gulay na Lada, or Sinilihang Gulay during her stay in the region in her youth), it is a fact that the Bicol Express has become synonymous to the region’s cuisine alongside Laing/Katnga/Natong and Pinangat.
Onboard the regional cuisine trend/train
“We wanted to bank on the booming national and global interest towards local cuisine,” Rica Buenaflor of Que Rica says, “and we started with the Laing Longganisa.”,
With massive response towards that idea of regional cuisine being made available and easy to prepare, her team has invested in the development and packaging of Pili Nuts (also a hit) in novel flavors such as Truffle-Pecorino Cheese.
After several successful product launches (bottled ready-to-eat meals such as Sinantolan and Vegan Laing, and other meat products such as the Libas-smoked Bacon) in events, bazaars, and in the digital space, the Que Rica team is taking Bicol cuisine to new, greater heights.
“The Bicol Express Longganisa is one of the five (5) new products we have developed recently while in quarantine,” she quips, “and instead of pork we used chicken to cater to customers who like healthier options.”
Several products are also in the pipeline and who knows–we’d all end up as passengers to such Bicol Express-sions of food! ■