29 Jun2007

This post was first published over two years ago. It happened to be the day that the Inquirer Newspaper did a story on Marketman/Marketmanila that resulted in a huge increase in page views that day. I think page views rose 800-1,000% from a fairly modest base of readers. Many of my long-time readers first heard about Marketmanila from that article so this post is a memorable one for me. Bistek Tagalog also happens to be one of my all-time favorite pinoy recipes… So enjoy this and I will be back in a few hours…

There are lots of recipes for beefsteak tagalog out there. bistek1Though the basic ingredient list is short, the proportions, type of ingredients, substitutions and type of meat matter a great deal. First there is the meat… you can use the strangely named filipino steak from the grocery which is probably from a tough part of the cow, then take it home and beat it with that spiked wooden mallet in your kitchen (pha-taly bet it, translate as “fatally beat it” according to a security guard who was called to our house when snakes were discovered in our yard and his solution was to pha-taly bet it!). Or you can spring for the good stuff and get some sirloin steaks sliced very thinly. Next you have the soy sauce – some insist on a darker marca pina type soy sauce while others like the clean taste of say an imported Kikkoman. Next the souring agent – either little or lots of kalamansi or some like lemon (especially if you are abroad and have no kalamansi). Finally, the last key ingredient are onions, and I tested three different ones with my last Bistek to give you my opinion which was the best…

To perform this experiment, I obtained three different types of onions – white, spanish (golden skinned) and red onions. bistek2I chopped up a relatively even amount of onions and set them aside. To make the beefsteak, marinate the beef for a few minutes in the soy sauce and kalamansi or lemon. Heat up a pan (non-reactive as you will be using acid), add some oil until hot, and cook the beef. I like to remove the beef (so it doesn’t overcook) then stir fry the onions until cooked, add any leftover marinade, season with ground pepper, then stir until just done. My challenge was keeping three types of onions separate. I managed, and the conclusion? The white onions seem to be the best choice. They soften nicely and seem to absorb the sauce brilliantly. Second choice were the spanish onions and third the red onions as their sharp flavor actually can interfere with the rest of the dish. All of the onions turned sweetish sour due to the natural sugars in the onions and the kalamansi in the marinade. Yum. In the first photo above, the onions from left to right are white, red and spanish.

Other bistek recipes? Check these out:
Porkchop Tagalog a la Marketman
Marinated Bistek Tagalog a la Marketman
Angus Roast Beef Tagalog a la Marketman



  1. Maria Clara says:

    Very versatile whatever you could get your hands work well. One of the five ingredients dishes that is one of our very own. Pork comes out good too if beef is not on your plate. Cooking oil is a vital player. If Kalamansi out of reach – lemon is a viable option and when it comes to soy sauce – Marca Pina out of your grocery shelves Kikkoman soy sauce is universal. As to onions any variety that suits you from regular or organic white to red variety and the sweet onions. Serve it over piping bowl of rice for breakfast, lunch or dinner one is a happy camper at the end of the meal!

    Jun 29, 2007 | 4:07 am


  2. Notice: Undefined variable: oddcomment in /home/marketman/marketmanila.com/wp-content/themes/marketmanila-v2/comments.php on line 33
  3. Mary-Ann Evangelista says:

    Pha-taly bet it! Gosh! that really cracked me up!
    This morning, I was just thinking of my mom’s special- bipstik!
    What a timing that you posted it.
    Anyway, she adds some cube cheese for added saltiness when it’s almost cooked. This meal and 7-Up made us feel much better when we were sick.

    Jun 29, 2007 | 9:37 am

  4. CecileJ says:

    You can try frying up the onion rings first and set aside. The put them back in later when the bistek is cooked. This way they keep a bit of crunch. ( I prefer the Spanish onions rather than the red onions for the same reason you gave. I also, obviously like a bit of crunch in my onions and not the wilted kind)

    Jun 29, 2007 | 9:54 am

  5. Kongkong622 says:

    This is weird but my husband and kids like Bistek with French Fries and Onions. It was a suggestion from my MIL (who is a caterer). Tried it..loved it too :)

    Jun 29, 2007 | 10:01 am

  6. Gourmet Traveller says:

    Thanks for the post on bistek! We love beefsteak tagalog and have it for dinner often. Since we can’t get kalamansi in Spain, we use either lemons or limes for the marinade and thinly-sliced rib eye which has more fat. This is classic Filipino comfort food.

    Jun 30, 2007 | 3:05 am

  7. Apicio says:

    The most popular potted plant here before it was edged over by cloned phalaenopsis was the fruit bearing calamondin from the Philippines. That’s about the only way you can have real calamansi this close to the Arctic circle. Failing that, you can use soya sauce tauted to have been blended with calamansi juice but you soon discover that it’s an out and out deception. We use limes instead and make up for the missing and missed calamansi dimension by (over)compensating with the other ingredients. The thinly sliced Korean beef they call bulgoki is great because it’s flavorful, cheap and requires only slight cooking. Vidalia or Mayan sweet onions is excellent specially for those who adore onions and for whom the beef is just an afterthought. And finally, you face an impediment of choice here when it comes to soya sauce, my favorite is Lee Kum Kee from Singapore.

    Jun 30, 2007 | 6:46 am


Market Manila Home · Topics · Archives · About · Contact · Links · RSS Feed

site design by pixelpush

Market Manila © 2004 - 2021