Bistek Tagalog is one of my all-time favorite Filipino dishes. Bistek is a local version of the very western beef steak, hence the name. But the etymology of the word may have come from the Spanish word bistec, which means, well, steak in English.
What makes it distinct from the western version is its mild, citrus-y flavor, which is produced by combining the tang of calamansi and the essence of soy sauce. Also, the Filipino bistek is usually thin in slices, compared to the thick chunks of meat and large servings of the American beef steak.
Beef is the typical meat ingredient, but you can also use slices of pork, such as pork chops and liempo (pork belly). I choose pork over beef because I like the taste better, and I try to avoid red meat as much as possible. My favorite cut is liempo, because it’s easier to cook and the meat is more tender and tastier.
When you prepare bistek, make sure not to overcook the onions to keep them crunchy. The potatoes are optional, but please, include them to your grocery list. Who doesn’t like potatoes, anyway? If beef steaks are great with mashed potato, consider this as our alternative.
Continue reading below to get the recipe: