09 Jan2007


Bistek Tagalog or Beefsteak Tagalog is one of my favorite pinoy recipes. I made it frequently when I was studying in Boston, and it gave me an instant taste of home. My version then was rather westernized, with Kikkoman soy sauce and lots of lemon juice and excessive amounts of sweetish onions. I posted a recipe about two years ago, actually on the day the Philippine Daily Inquirer did a full page spread on the then just weeks old Marketmanila.com. I was off on a ferry to Bohol that day as the “hits” just shot through the roof! Oh, by the way, many many thanks to Margaux Salcebo of the Inquirer who mentioned Marketmanila in her Sunday Inquirer article last January 1, 2007 as one of the food blogs that caught her attention… A few weeks ago I also featured another version of bistek tagalog, using leftover Angus Roast Beef at the suggestion of one of our dinner guests. And here I have yet another version that was wonderfully intense and terrific with lots of white rice…

The key to this recipe is an extended swim in the marinade. I normally do bistek2not marinate my bistek tagalog…instead relying on thin and pounded beef and a last minute sauce of soy and kalamansi. However, when we have a trip to the beach planned, I try to make some dishes in advance to ease all of the logistics and I often make tocino, tapa, pork barbecue and bistek tagalog in advance and refrigerate or freeze it. That way, if we need more food, an easy breakfast or lunch, or the crew just needs to take a break, we pull out the prepared meats and have an easy, no fuss meal. This last trip, however, we never got to use the pre-marinated beefsteak tagalog so it aged a good 4-5 days in the freezer before we used it. I marinated good sirloin beef (that I had first pounded with a mallet) with light Kikkoman soy sauce, dark local soy sauce, lots and lots of kalamansi juice and cracked black pepper. It was in the fridge overnight then was apparently stuck in the freezer for several days. When we finally defrosted it and heated up a pan, added some Wesson oil and sautéed the beef and onions, we ended up with this INTENSELY flavored bistek tagalog. Super sarap. Not too salty, surprisingly, and tangy from the kalamansi. I think we will be marinating our bistek tagalog whenever we can in the future! If you want to thicken the sauce a bit, our cook adds a sprinkling of flour to the sauce…



  1. Lind says:

    Sure looks yummy :). Btw, can you provide a recipe for tocino? Thanks

    Jan 9, 2007 | 2:57 pm


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  3. Jacqui says:

    Yehey!!! After that lost post on what you are contemplating, this means the blog is on!!!!

    Jan 9, 2007 | 3:11 pm

  4. joey says:

    This is one of C’s favorites and now I have a whole collection right here of all your recipes! Hooray :) This is actually one of those things I had never cooked in my life until I got married! How weird is that? Anyhoo, I make my timpla with lots of calamansi and I use olive oil…tastes really good. I will definitely try marinating it longer next time…thanks for the tip!

    Jan 9, 2007 | 3:18 pm

  5. Lei says:

    I love onions!!! At home, you will everybody going for the meat and there I am, hording all those unwanted lovely onions!

    Hey, where did the beef go? I though it was bistek sibuyas! Hahahahahhh! I can imagine that with me on the table with you MM, we will end up fighting over those onions.

    Jan 9, 2007 | 3:30 pm

  6. Marketman says:

    Lind et al, I have made the links live to tocino and tapa recipes in the main post above. Just click the links to get to my recipes…thanks for asking!

    Jan 9, 2007 | 3:32 pm

  7. Mon C says:

    I love this dish! The salty, tangy, sweet mix always makes me eat a lot. Kahit sarsa lang, ulam na. We’ve even tried it with bangus fillet and it’s still a hit.

    Jan 9, 2007 | 5:22 pm

  8. Mel Dizon says:

    Dear Market Man,

    Try Bangus belly bistek Tagalog style. Marinate the belly for 10 to 20 minutes in the soyu, calamansi and cracked black pepper. The belly should be cooked skin side down over low to medium heat until done.

    Frozen Bangus belly from Sarangani makes this super and quick and easy to prepare dish possible.

    A very Happy New Year for you, Mrs. Market Man and the KId.

    Jan 9, 2007 | 5:38 pm

  9. jo says:

    Oh my! Super sarap! Paborito ko ang bistek with lots and lots of onions.

    I am going to try your bistek recipe next month, your tocino recipe sa March, and your tapa recipe sa April lol, mag diet kasi ako and I figure na mag cheat ako once a month (finger cross, kasi baka ang one day cheat fest ko eh mauwi sa one month cheat fest lol, and well there goes the diet.)

    Natawa ako sa comment ni Elit sa yesterday post mo MM

    elit says:
    ‘Grabe! parang nadaig pa ng latest entry mo ang earthquake sa Taiwan a….your readers including me of course, almost panicked with just the thought of you quitting the blogging world.’

    Kasi medyo nag panicked din ako lol. I landed on your site when I was looking for paksiw na lechon recipe and the rest is history sabi nga nila. Ngayon… Eto… I am hook.

    Happy 007!
    Belated Happy Anniversary sa inyong mag sweetheart.
    Good luck sa diet mo.

    And lastly… Thank you

    MM, sorry I was not paying attention and I accidentally posted this comment sa post mo yesterday. Paki delete mo na lang iyong isa. Thanks.

    Jan 9, 2007 | 6:22 pm

  10. Veronica's Test Kitchen says:

    I love bistek, have not had in a while but will keep it in mind to make sometime next week. thanks!

    Jan 9, 2007 | 6:51 pm

  11. kaye says:

    i love lots of onions sa bistek! i dunno but i love bistek with lots of garlic as well sa marinade and when cooking.. does that additional garlic sa recipe make it more of tapa na?? confused! MM, am really glad you’re not leaving us.. i love this site and i love your recipes.. regards to your family and your choco lab!!(soo cute! wala pang bf ang lab ko?!?!)hoping to read thousands upon thousands more of blogs from you!!

    Jan 9, 2007 | 7:18 pm

  12. catalina says:

    One of our family’s favorite, Bistek was what we had for lunch today. Try adding a pinch of brown sugar to the marinade to temper the saltiness of the soy sauce and the tang of the kalamansi. Marinating the beef for 3 days to a week not only allows the flavors to blend and develop but also ages the meat (no need to pound). Lots of onions — plus fried potatoes on the side for my son!

    Jan 9, 2007 | 8:39 pm

  13. elit says:

    Mmmmm, yum! I just love bistek tagalog. I usually have a hit and miss sarap on this dish whenever I make them because I don’t make any measurements in making the marinade. I agree with Lei, I so love this dish with plenty of onions. I sometimes add green beans (habichuelas) in the bistek too to add more veggies in the dish, masarap din sya. Thanks for the link on the tapa and tocino. I will definitely try them. Your tapa recipe is different from my family’s recipe as we only use salt and sugar to season our beef and we use more sugar than the salt. And if I am not tooo lazy, I might even try to make the achara recipe you had linked to your tapa recipe. A bit off topic…….thanks for coming back to your senses (he he he)… we almost fell off our computer chairs there for a while :)

    Jan 9, 2007 | 9:53 pm

  14. relly says:

    One of my favorite even with the Bangus taste good as well!
    I love especially plenty of onions! yummm!

    Jan 10, 2007 | 1:51 am

  15. Maria Clara says:

    It is one of my faves. I love it over rice, with crunchy sweet onions and good dashes of Worcestershire sauce and regular soda!

    Jan 10, 2007 | 4:39 am

  16. Marilou says:

    This is one of my all time favorite dish. Which local dark soy sauce do you use?

    Jan 10, 2007 | 9:07 am

  17. erleen says:

    One of our family’s favorite dishes. We also marinate our bistek for at least overnight to get that intense flavor. Does not taste right unless we use Marca Pinya soy sauce. Must have lots of sauce to put over rice.

    When we cook Bangus this way we call it Bistek na Bangus. =)

    Jan 10, 2007 | 9:35 am

  18. Danney League says:

    Ay ang sarap sarap. I wish I can have some of it!!

    Jan 10, 2007 | 10:49 am

  19. Didi says:

    Looks really good!!

    Jan 10, 2007 | 12:00 pm

  20. Jacqui says:

    Whenever I cook bistek for my brood, I cannot get satisfied with it myself because of the absence of real kalamansi juice. I still look for that taste that only kalamansi gives to bistek. MM, what is the next best alternative here in the States? Lemon or lime?

    Jan 10, 2007 | 1:01 pm

  21. Jacqui says:

    And when defrosting or thawing food from the freezer, does it make a difference on the taste when thawed in a microwave or on a stovetop? (questions only a novice trying-hard cook will ask!)

    Jan 10, 2007 | 1:03 pm

  22. Marketman says:

    Jacqui, I got used to the taste of lemons. It has a cleaner sweeter taste than kalamansi. But I understand that Filipino stores in the U.S. sell botled kalamansi concentrate, that might taste more like the real thing… And yes, I think that naturally defrosted meat tastes better and is less tough than microwave defrosting…but I have no scientific proof of that!

    Jan 10, 2007 | 1:18 pm

  23. chinkee says:

    What I do is fry the beef a bit before sauteeing in lotsa lotsa onions to seal in the flavors and give it a bit more “texture”. It’s perfect on weekends with smokin’ hot rice and sweet ripe mangoes for dessert. Sarap! Thanks for the post MM, will definitely cook this ASAP!

    Jan 10, 2007 | 1:34 pm

  24. ykmd says:

    One of my easy-to-prepare favorites! Jacqui, calamansi juice is also already available frozen in small plastic packets (about the same size as those (plastic?) catsup-containing thingies. There are a dozen or so packets in each pack. The brand name escapes me right now, but try looking for it in the Asian grocery nearest you. I was so excited to make this discovery (fairly recently)… so now we can finally have patis and calamansi, toyo at calamansi etc. sawsawan again! And the packet size is very convenient as well.

    Jan 10, 2007 | 2:49 pm

  25. lojet says:

    I use lime, sometimes a mixture of lemon and lime. An extra squirt of lime wedges just before eating gives it a fresh citrusy flavor too. I have tried the frozen, bottled and even powdered calamansi but I prefer fresh citrus. I am thinking of using balsamic vinegar to marinate and squirt fresh lime or lemon before serving next.

    Jan 11, 2007 | 12:51 am

  26. Jacqui says:

    Thank you very much, MM, ykmd, for the tips. So far, the only kalamansi juice I’ve seen sold in the Asian stores are the concentrate variety with honey. I’ll check out the little packets of kalamansi this weekend. ykmd, I hope you can remember the brand. :)

    Jan 11, 2007 | 5:01 am

  27. allen says:

    My tito used to cook this and served it with fried potatoe disks. Yummy!!!

    Jan 11, 2007 | 6:33 pm

  28. ykmd says:

    Hi Jacqui, we were out of town for several days, but we are now back home (yay!) and so I checked the fridge… the brand name is “Manila Gold”. I also have Maggi Calamansi seasoning liquid (I don’t like it, the taste changes after a while) and McSpice Calamansi powder with chili- this I use when baking salmon or tilapia fillets, and it works pretty well (although I still prefer the more authentic flavor of the frozen kind)! Hope you’ll find it! :)

    Jan 13, 2007 | 12:57 am

  29. pia says:

    had some porkloin and thought i’d cook bistek tagalog except im using pork. ;P
    good thing i saw ur blog.really helpful and easy to follow. I used kalamansi (from my in-laws tree) and kikoman. the kikoman changes the taste a bit.
    I agree that a longer marinade time will make it tastier. coz the sauce didnt seep in as much as i wanted it.
    next time mas masarap na following ur advise. :)

    i’ll serve it wid sinangad and fried sweet potatoes.

    May 31, 2007 | 9:08 am

  30. crisiboy says:

    super yummy!

    Jul 10, 2007 | 9:16 pm


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