Keep Your Cool in Bicol
Spice up your road trip with these local coolers.
by Kara Santos | May 14, 2019
Going on a road trip to the Bicol region any time soon? Bicol may be known for its spicy and hot dishes, but they also have their fair share of cold concoctions. If you’re craving for something to beat the summer heat, look out for these coolers and drinks that offer a twist on Bicol flavors.
Sili Ice Cream
When in Bicol, you have to try the chili-flavored ice cream. This novelty flavor looks just like strawberry ice cream at first glance but tastes like a mixture of creamy vanilla ice cream with a spicy pimiento kick.
You can try this out at 1st Colonial Grill which has several branches all around Legazpi and Naga City. The restaurant also dishes out other creative ice cream flavors including gabi, tinutong (crispy rice), pili, malunggay and calamansi.
Everyone loves a good halo-halo and Bicol has its own homegrown version to boast of. DJC’s Halo-Halo contains the usual assortment of ingredients like bananas cooked in sugar syrup, ube (purple yam) and leche flan (milk and egg flan) but what makes it unique is that it uses a special blend of ice and comes topped with grated cheese. The well-loved halo-halo originated from the small town of Tiwi in Albay which now has branches all over Legazpi and Naga City.
Pili nuts are an indigenous nut that grow primarily in the Bicol Region. They’re widely used in local delicacies – from pili nut pastillas, mazapan, suspiros, bonbones, cakes and candied treats like Pilinut Choco Kisses. For a refreshing drink, how about trying out a Creamy Pili Milk Shake? Several restaurants around Bicol like Bikol Blends Café in Daraga and Flavours Gastronomica in Naga City have this on their menu. The eye-catching purple version of Ranchero Grill is made of a blend of the skin, pulp and nuts of the pili nut.
Chili is the main ingredient in a lot of signature dishes in the region, including Bicol Express, Laing and Pinangat. So it’s no surprise that Bicol’s first craft brewery, Ibalon Craft Brew has chili-flavored beer on their menu!
Their Sili Beer infused with native siling labuyo (bird’s eye chili) is served on tap and sold in 330 ml bottles in their brewpub along Magsaysay Street in Naga City. The local brewery also has a chocolate stout flavored with Bicol Cacao and coffee beans. The beers are best enjoyed ice cold with local appetizers.
Que Pasa, a Spanish restaurant in Naga City, offers some innovative cocktails that feature the flavors of Bicol in a glass.
If you’re not a beer person, try the Laing Congelado, a frozen cocktail with basil leaves, fresh pineapple as the souring agent, kakang-gata and siling labuyo, spiked with light rum. This drink is refreshingly creamy but with a kick.
Que Pasa also has other Bicol-inspired drinks such as the Bicolandia, a slushie that makes use of local tablea, vodka, coconut cream coconut meat and pili nuts; and Ojos Duros, which combines gin with pineapple and coconut.
Which of these creative desserts and drinks have you tried? Let us know in the comments section.