Buhi Bicol food

Good Bikolano food at Lake Buhi Resort

Ninatkan na laing

Ninatkan na laing

My first lunch is a serving of traditional Filipino and Buhi cuisine

My first lunch is a serving of traditional Filipino and Buhi cuisine

There are two major reasons why I really, really loved my stay at Lake Buhi Resort. First the stunning scenery and natural beauty of the lake. Second, just great Buhi/Bicolano cuisine.

Most hotels and resorts that I know of, usually serve the usual Filipino and American dishes. Expect to see burgers, crispy pata, pansit,, fries, spaghetti and the likes, food that is just present wherever you go. But the first time I had lunch at this resort, I got curious with the dishes that were served.

Except for the fried tilapia and lechong kawali, the rest of the dishes were rather unfamiliar, ones that the owner, a true blue Buhi native, grew up with. These were locally available ingredients: sinarapan from Lake Buhi, taro leaves from the backyard, gata from coconuts growing across the fence, root crops from the neighbor. In short, most of the ingredients, the vegetables, the fruits, were fresh and readily available around the lake. And credit to the delicious home cooked meals too.

I got curious, I was asking questions, I was photographing, and taking notes, trying to see what ingredients were included. Once I tasted these, I wasn’t disappointed. These were new to my palate yet imbued with that authentic Bicolano flavors: fire from chilies, creaminess from the gata (coconut milk) and the distinct earthly taste of laing, taro leaves.

It was the first time I have eaten pinalupsi, a mishmash of saba bananas and various root crops cooked in gata with a little salt. There’s a hint of sweetness from the banana but pair this with the spicy tineouteou na balao, a Buhi version of Bicol Express that uses small shrimps and you got a wonderful play of flavors and textures.

Or how about the ginisang sinarapan, pair it with steaming rice and add ninatkan ra karabasa and you got a simple yet memorable meal. Or even the simplicity of having sinapot for a snack? The more these dishes were served, the more I looked forward to what I will have for lunch and dinner.

And I guess, resorts and hotels should also highlight local cuisine or making it an option as what Saylo Cuisine in Kalibo is also doing. Let tourists and travelers experience local food and let them know further the richness of the place. That’s what I discovered and it made my stay in Lake Buhi memorable.

Bicol Express, tineouteou ra balao version: instead of taro leaves, it uses small shrimps and mixed with gata (coconut milk), chili and tomatoes; a spicy yet flavorful dish

Bicol Express, tineouteou ra balao version: instead of taro leaves, it uses small shrimps and mixed with gata (coconut milk), chili and tomatoes; a spicy yet flavorful dish

Okoy ra sinarapan: sinarapan cake

Okoy ra sinarapan: sinarapan cake

Pork with string beans and cooked in coconut milk

Pork with string beans and cooked in coconut milk

Ginataang puso ng saging (banana blossom cooked in coconut milk)

Ginataang puso ng saging (banana blossom cooked in coconut milk)

Ginisang sinarapan (sauteed sinarapan) - well flavored, and goes well with hot rice

Ginisang sinarapan (sauteed sinarapan) – well flavored, and goes well with hot rice

Acharang ubod or pickled heart of coconut palm/coconut core

Acharang ubod or pickled heart of coconut palm/coconut core

Ninatkan na karabasa (squash cooked with coconut milk or ginataang kalabasa) soft and delicious, with a hint of sweetness brought by the gata or coconut milk

Ninatkan na karabasa (squash cooked with coconut milk or ginataang kalabasa) soft and delicious, with a hint of sweetness brought by the gata or coconut milk

Pinalupsi (cooked in gata or coconut milk): saba bananas, gabi (yam), camoteng kahoy (cassava) and camote (sweet potato) cooked in coconut milk with a little salt, usually no sugar

Pinalupsi (cooked in gata or coconut milk): saba bananas, gabi (yam), camoteng kahoy (cassava) and camote (sweet potato) cooked in coconut milk with a little salt, usually no sugar

Sinapot, fried sliced saba bananas

Sinapot, fried sliced saba bananas

Estan Cabigas is freelance photographer, blogger and writer based in Makati City, the Philippines. A true blue Cebuano, he makes stunning images and meaningful photo stories. His work has been published in local and international publications including National Geographic Magazine, Geo (Germany), Sunday Times Magazine (London) and other publications. He is also a peripatetic traveler and has traveled to all 81 Philippines provinces. I'm open for work, collaborations and inquiries, including hotel, restaurant and site features and reviews.

2 Comments

  1. Estan Cabigas (@EstanCabigas)
    August 5, 2014 @ 17:49

    Good Bikolano food at Lake Buhi Resort: Ninatkan na laing
    My first lunch is a serving of traditional Filipino … http://t.co/hMDerVdT1z

  2. Arlene
    August 6, 2014 @ 12:16

    Pansin ko halos ginataan 🙂 It makes me wonder that maybe ginataang dishes originates from Bicol. The bicol express makes me salivate. lol!siguro 3 cups of rice makain ko with that.

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