adobo dish family / friends

Pork Bistek Tagalog (Filipino-Style Pork Steak)

Monday, July 28, 2014Enz F

I have four really amazing and handsome brothers – Lorenzo, Eduardo, Enrique and Placido. Do not ask but yes, we are all boys! We are five riot-ringleader replicates who are bound to carry forward the family’s surname and produce more reprints of our late mother and father’s DNAs. I can still remember the old times when all of us were still living in the same house with our parents, no days had passed that Dad never raised his voice to his highest possible tone when his boys, as always were, started to mess around and became so unmindful of the “house rules”. Raising five unpredictably mischievous bears, military-style of discipline would just be the best remedy most of the time.

Bistek is one of the Western-inspired steak dishes that has become popular in the Philippines.
Among my siblings, Kuya Edward (our second eldest) is the one I most admired with respect to academics. He must be the most intellectually-gifted among us, not to mention, he was also the most disciplined and most well-accomplished. He was an honor student in the top class during his gradeschool, was admitted in a prominent special science school during his secondary level, pursued Medical school and almost grabbed a place in the Medical Licensure Exam. Now, he is gainfully practicing his profession as a doctor and permanently residing in the U.S. with his wife, eldest son and the twins. I have always wanted to become like him and almost followed his footsteps, except the Medical school. I must say, he was also my lucky charm. He was the first to know when I passed the entrance exam for the same science high school where he used to go which was beyond my expectations since I was not as performing as him during my gradeschool. When I was admitted in my chosen college, he was also my adviser and my never tiring companion. And most importantly, he financed my final years of schooling until I entered the review center for the CPA Board Exams which I was also able to pass to my great surprise. If he is the "intellectually gifted", I must be the “lucky” counterpart for having him as a brother who is 10 years senior to me. His example served as my driving force to strive hard in life just like what he did. Maybe out of pressure too, I felt the need to deliver results since I was oftentimes compared side by side to him. The rivalry was silent yet so grim and deafening. But at the end of the day, when the competition had already subsided and the battle arena silenced, what would be left of us was a sizzling platter of a sumptuous tenderloin cut of beefsteak bathing in rich and mouthwatering gravy or barbecue sauce that we would shamefully share on the same plate and eat with the same utensils, just like what real brothers do - because after all, we are still “brothers” without any prejudice of the word. On the 31st of July, my model guy figure will be celebrating his 39th birthday. Alas, when was the last time we celebrated his birthday together? It has been years, I am already having a hard time recalling.
Kuya Edward is my second eldest brother. He is 10 years senior to me.
A very interesting western-inspired Filipino meat dish with preparation and cooking techniques tweaked in resemblance to our local adobo, here is another regular table fare to celebrate food. If American steakhouses are known to serve highly-prized T-bone or Porterhouse cuts of beefsteak, we, frugal Pinoys, have our very own reinvention and thinner version of steak in the form of Bistek Tagalog. “Bistek” is our short colloquial term for the word “beefsteak” and “Tagalog” pertains to the Tagalog Region in the Southern Luzon, Philippines where bistek is believed to have originated. Usually served with tender slices of beef, similar cuts of pork can also be used, and in other cases, chicken and fish fillet too. If using pork chops, it is very typical to Filipinos to include some fats and pork skins as they add flavor to the dish.

The steak is braised and cooked with its marinade sauce, very much similar to how adobo is being cooked.
Just like the local adobo, the meat is initially marinated in the mixture of soy sauce and acidic ingredient, usually calamansi lime or lemon juice. How salty or citrusy you want it to be depends of the ratio of the ingredients and length of time to marinate the meat, which is ideally overnight to better infuse the flavors. The steak is braised and cooked with the marinade sauce towards the end until the meat is fork tender. Filipinos are lovers of rice so there is no doubt and it is never odd to pair steaks with hot steamed or garlic fried rice. Sometimes potatoes are added too or the steak can live in itself as long as there is rice. Warning: Never serve a steak to a Filipino if rice is missing. It is like telling them to eat Caesar Salad without the dressing or hamburger sandwich without the bun.
Pork Bistek Tagalog (Filipino-Style Pork Steak)
Number of Servings: 3 to 4 

  • 4 thin slices (about ½ inch thick) of pork chops (loin or tenderloin) 
  • ¼ cup soy sauce 
  • 2 tbsps. Worcestershire sauce 
  • 7 pcs. calamansi lime, juice extracted 
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced 
  • ½ tsp. sugar 
  • salt and pepper, to taste 
  • 1 cup water 
  • 2 tbsps. butter 
  • 3 tbsps. cooking oil 
  • 1 medium sized white onion, sliced into rings 
  • 1 medium-sized red onion, sliced into rings 
  • 3 medium-sized potatoes, thinly sliced 
  • chopped spring onions (for garnish) 
  • toasted garlic (for garnish) 

  1. In a bowl, combine the soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, calamansi lime juice, garlic, sugar and pepper. Stir well to combine. 
  2. Wash the pork chops and pat dry with paper towel. Place the meat slices in a resealable container or ziplock bag. Pour the soy sauce mixture on pork slices and lightly toss to evenly coat the meat with marinade. Seal and keep inside the fridge to marinate for 1 hour to overnight. 
  3. Melt the butter in a skillet or saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions and sauté until translucent. Transfer the onions on a plate and set aside. 
  4. Season the potatoes with salt and pepper. On the same pan, fry the potatoes for 3 minutes on each side. Transfer on a plate lined with paper towels to drain the excess oil and set aside. 
  5. Drain the marinated pork and shake off any residue of ingredients. Set aside the marinade. Using the same pan, add cooking oil and set the heat over low to medium. Carefully put the pork on the pan and fry in batches for 5 minutes on each side. Transfer the lightly browned pork chops on a wire rack and let the excess oil to drip off. 
  6. On a clean pan, combine the marinade sauce and water. Bring the mixture into a simmer over low heat. Add the pork chops and cook for 20 to 30 minutes or until the meat is fork tender and the sauce is reduced, flipping the meat half-way through. Add more water if the sauce begins to dry. 
  7. Three minutes towards the end of cooking time, add the dissolved cornstarch (optional). Continue to simmer until the sauce slightly thickens. Adjust the seasonings. 
  8. In a large platter, arrange the pork chops and potatoes. Pour over the sauce and garnish with onions. Sprinkle the top with chopped onion springs and toasted garlic. Serve with steamed or garlic fried rice. Enjoy! 

  • This recipe is also suitable to beef, chicken and white fish fillet, preferably bangus (milkfish) or tilapia. Just adjust the cooking time depending on the type of ingredients.

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  1. I cooked this for my husband, and he really really loved it. He said he would rate this recipe two thumbs up. Thank you for sharing this recipe :D

    1. Thank you for the kind words. I am glad that your husband enjoyed the dish.

  2. I'm reviewing for CPA Boards too. I visit this site to learn your recipes as well. I hope I get the exams and recipe right.

  3. I love the side kwento about you and your brothers. Ang gulo nyo siguro. I hope you guys are treating your mother like a queen to make it up to her. buy her an Hermes bag!!!

    By the way, Will try this recipe tonight, thanks for sharing!

  4. can you be more specific with calamansi lime - it says 7 pcs


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