One thing that will always connect a person to their hometown is food. The taste of home comes from the local dishes and foods they grew up eating. Wherever a person might be in the world, having a taste of the hometown foods they love is like going back home for a brief amount of time.
Currently, it is easy to get a taste of local dishes without going to the food’s origin place. With how fast food businesses sprout all over the country, trying out different cuisines and delicacies from anywhere in the Philippines and the world can be as simple as taking a 5-minute drive to a newly opened restaurant nearby.
Like the other places in the country, the Bicol Region is one of the top spots rich in culture, history, and local cuisine. There are tons of dishes that originated from Bicol that are well-loved and craved by people living outside the region. Given the region’s growing food industry, naturally, there are local famous food places within the place that are commonly visited by locals and tourists.
Home-grown Diners in Bicol
Every person has a go-to restaurant or food hub to eat at. Some like fast food, while others enjoy the fine-dining setting. In the fast-progressing Bicol Region, there are local diners that are deemed as a local pride, as they thrive despite the growing multinational competitors in the region.
Here are the top restaurants in Bicol that locals love and tourists must try:
1. Graceland Food Industries
Graceland Food Industries, Inc. has been in business since 1976, started as a “garage canteen” and a turo-turo outside the plaza of Naga City. After branching out to various provinces in the region, Graceland now has tons of different outlets all over Bicol, each serving different homemade cuisines and dishes to its customers. These outlets are present in the region’s key cities and municipalities like Naga City, Pili in Camarines Sur, Legazpi City, Daraga in Albay, and Sorsogon City among others.
Photo source: Trip Advisor
Graceland is a fast-casual dining restaurant in Bicol, which is also the main dining outlet of the company. Their menu consists of fast-food staples like Spaghetti, Burgers, and Fries. Graceland also serves well-loved Bicolano dishes like Laing, Pinangat, Adobo, Sisig, Lumpiang Shanghai, and more.
Baker’s Plaza is present in more than 28 branches in different parts of the region, almost every Bicolano relies on Baker’s Plaza for pasalubong and needs for sweets. They serve delicious cakes perfect for every occasion. Baker’s Plaza also serves pastries, and varieties of bread like their signature Happy Choco (elongated bread with choco filling) and Happy Yema (yema-flavored filling).
Photo source: Geewan Website
Dubbed as the “Home of Bicolano Dishes”, Geewan is a turo-turo style restaurant, where customers choose from displayed cooked foods near the counter or cashier. More than the all-time favorite Bicolano dishes, there are also common Filipino dishes served in the restaurant like Lechon Paksiw, Beef Kare-Kare, Lechon Kawali, and even bilao menus for sharing, like Pancit Guisado.
Red Platter is a semi-fine dining restaurant in Bicol that serves almost everything: from Bicolano to Asian and Western cuisines. They also have choices for desserts, cakes, and cookies. Red Platter is the go-to place of families, and a great events place for formal gatherings. The Red Platter has function rooms that can accommodate birthday parties, meetings, anniversaries, and other intimate social events.
2. Bigg’s Diner
Bigg’s Diner is another world-class local pride with a fast-casual concept, serving a western-inspired menu with hometown twists. The diner first started as a take-out counter specializing in burgers and fries in 1983, under a different name.
Bigg’s Diner officially opened their first branch at Old Albay District in Legazpi City. Since then, Bigg’s Diner became one of the busiest restaurants in Bicol. The diner first branched out in Pili, Camarines Sur, and started a continuous spread all over the Bicol Region.
Photo source: Out of Town Blog
Aside from their diverse menu which includes western dishes and local favorites, Bigg’s Diner is also known for its big servings. This makes them a household name not just in Naga City, but in the whole region in general. With their savory dishes, they live up to their tagline “Serving good food since 1983”. More than this, Bigg’s Diner has expanded beyond the Bicol Region, as they have branches in Lipa City, Batangas, and in Novaliches, Quezon City. This shows the once small enterprise that satisfied the western cravings of the Bicolano customers has now been catering to more and more Filipinos in different parts of the nation, with 18 branches within and outside Bicol to date.
Photo source: Rappler
Customers’ all-time favorite menu in Bigg’s Diner are the Tenderloin Tips, Baby-back ribs, Bigg’s Chicken, Bigg’s Pasta, and their signature burgers and sandwiches. They also serve “-silog” meals like Tapsilog and Tocilog. They also serve breakfast favorites like Goto or rice porridge with a hard-boiled egg.
The reason why Bicolanos keep going to these diners and restaurants in Bicol is not only because it makes good Bicolano and Filipino dishes. It is also because they take pride in them, as these locally loved food places make something special out of every dish people normally know. Having fusion dishes and other food innovations, these home-grown diners never fail to satisfy everyone’s different tastes. They continuously cater to both western cravings and, most importantly, the taste of home. This is also what makes Bicolanos feel at home, wherever they may be in the country.
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Life in the Bicol Region
More than the region’s thriving food industry, Bicol is also filled with opportunities as more and more are seeing the upsides and advantages of Bicol’s location. While it is reachable from the Metro Manila by land, the Bicol Region is thriving on its own, further supported by the equally progressive neighboring regions and provinces.
This location in the country is also one of the ideal places to start investing in a property, taking advantage of the continuous economic growth of the province. In the provinces of Sorsogon and Camarines Sur, Lessandra, one of the country’s top affordable house and lot providers, has communities present in both provinces’ prime locations.
The Lessandra communities present in the region are Lessandra Sorsogon and Lessandra Pili. Offering affordable house and lots in Pili, Camarines Sur, Lessandra Pili assures its homeowners of a safe and secured life within the community. The neighborhood is also remarkably close to establishments like malls, schools, hospitals, and churches, making life much easier for each homeowner.
A trademark in Lessandra communities, Lessandra Sorsogon boasts in its affordable house and lots near recreational spaces within the subdivision. Leisure spaces like a clubhouse, basketball court, playground are much enjoyed by homeowners. Residents also revel in the available shuttle services going in and out of the community.
With the Bicol Region’s promising growth, life in each province is guaranteed to be worry-free and filled with opportunities coming from thriving sectors all over the region. Bicol does not just pride itself in its rich culture and tastes of home, it also prides itself in the maaliwalas life for locals and future residents.
Lessandra offers affordable house and lots in the Philippines, present in over 40 areas nationwide. To know more about the affordable house and lots offered by Lessandra, visit Lessandra House Listings. To explore Lessandra communities, head over to Lessandra Project Listings. More food-related reads are available at the Food Finds section of Lessandra Blogs and News.