Filipino food

Que Rica serves authentic Bicolano dishes to enjoy at home

Steph Arnaldo
Que Rica serves authentic Bicolano dishes to enjoy at home
Que Rica's all-Bicolano team of cooks uses rich, homemade gata to create their signature creamy laing, sinantolan, and pinangat

Maybe you’re craving for homemade laing, or hankering for a taste of tangy sinantolan. If you’re homebound within Metro Manila, gaining access to these Bicolano staples might be a bit of a challenge, but local business Que Rica is here to help.

Que Rica is made up of an all-Bicolano team of cooks, spearheaded by Le Cordon Bleu Paris-trained Chef Rica Buenaflor. Que Rica hand-crafts authentic, local, and healthy dishes from their region – specifically the popular laing, pinangat, and sinantolan – and prepares them in small batches for maximum freshness.

The vegan-friendly laing of Que Rica is made with dried taro leaves, coconut milk, natural aromatics (ginger, garlic, onion, lemongrass), salt, and pepper. The taro leaves are stewed slowly in rich gata, resulting in a very creamy, flavorful entrée with a kick of spice, best enjoyed with rice or as a complementary side to your favorite Pinoy dishes.

You can get it in a frozen 400g pack for P400 or in a 230g bottle for P250. Laing with shrimp and as a special “lasagna” (layered with tomato sauce like a spinach lasasgna) are also available.

Que Rica also offers homemade sinantolan, the famous side dish made from the sour santol fruit (cotton fruit). Santol is minced finely and then stewed in coconut milk, shrimp paste, natural aromatics (ginger, garlic, red chili), salt, and pepper until moist, creamy, savory, tangy, and just a tad spicy.

Fans of maasim side dishes (think buro) will enjoy this; its smooth, creamy texture makes it a good dipping partner to fish, meat, or even crackers, while its distinctly tangy and savory taste can easily make it the ulam star of your plate with just rice. It costs P260 for a 400g frozen tub.

Que Rica also sells pinangat, which originates from the town of Camalig in Albay. It’s just like a creamy laing, but with the fish, pork, and shrimp stuffed inside instead of being mixed into the dish. It costs P360 for a 500g serving.

Que Rica’s dishes are indulgently creamy (without any dairy) but still balanced; the secret is their use of fresh coconut milk. They’ve perfected their own rich, creamy gata, which is the main component in most authentic Bicolano dishes.

Looking for other pescatarian-friendly options? Que Rica sources and sells abo dried fish (also called the tiger-tooth croaker), a daing-like dried fish that is popular in Bicol’s local markets. Its salty flavor profile is best tempered with a calamansi dip or suka, paired with creamy eggs and garlic fried rice. It costs P250 for a 200g pack.

Que Rica also has biti dried fish, which is dried, salted abo bladder that quickly puffs up like an airy, crunchy balloon when fried, making it an addictive afternoon snack with suka or even a light ulam. It costs P250 for a 250g pack.

You can check out the rest of Que Rica’s extensive Bicolano menu and place your orders on their website. They can deliver within Metro Manila for a flat rate. You can also visit their stalls in San Antonio, Forbes; EDSA Shangri-La Mall; Real Food in Molito and 25th BGC; and Manila Polo Club. – Rappler.com

Steph Arnaldo

If she’s not writing about food, she’s probably thinking about it. From advertising copywriter to freelance feature writer, Steph Arnaldo finally turned her part-time passion into a full-time career. She’s written about food, lifestyle, and wellness for Rappler since 2018.