How To Make Bistek Tagalog? (Recipe)

Bistek is not the name of a “tech” product. Not at all! At first glance, one would think it is a savvy name of an upcoming tech company, but Bistek is actually an exciting dish made of steak! You did not see that coming, did you?

Bistek is also called Bistec (Spanish alternative) and comes in 2 forms, Bistec encebollado (Spanish) and Bistek Tagalog (Philippines) and is made of beef tenderloin or sirloin and onions. According to the Oxford Dictionary, the tenderloin is the tenderest part of a loin of beef, pork, etc. taken from under the short ribs in the hindquarters

The difference between Bistek Encellobado and Bistek Tagalog lies in the different spices and ingredients used in their preparation. One thing you can be sure of, however, is that Bistek always contains steak and onions. It is even widely believed that “Bistek” is coined from the word “Beef Steak”!

In case you want to name the types of Bistek using your taste buds, there are a few things that are distinct in each form of Bistek;

1. Bistek Encebollado

This is the Spanish form of Bistek is notable for its distinct Adobo garlic rub and vinegar.

2. Bistek Tagalog

This is the Filipino variant of Bistek and has a deep soy sauce and lemon juice flavor that makes your taste buds dance.

3. Bistek a la Mexicana

This Mexican dish is prepared with spicy tomato and chili sauce, enough you make you sweat but still tasty enough not to resist.


Things To Note When Preparing Filipino Bistek

Bistek Tagalog recipe

1. Choice Of Meat

I tried to make Bistek Tagalog, and I was soon in a fix on which choice of meat to use. Do I use beef? Or pork? That was the first time I found out that Pork can also be used instead of Beef. Pork chops are an ideal option if you want to make Pork Tagalog. Beef Tenderloin is also a great option, any time, any day!

2. Tenderness Of The Meat

One thing you can attest to when cooking is that one mistake can make that food go awry. An extra minute can make that food burn or go flat; an extra pinch of salt can overwhelm your taste buds; and if your meat is too tender or not tender enough, your Bistek can be a near-miss.

This is why it is important to ensure your steak is just right before going ahead to make that awesome Bistek. A few tips on how to tenderize your meat include:

a. Marinade your steak for a longer time

Lemon juice and Vinegar have acidic properties that tenderize meat when left long enough. But, “long enough” should be between 30 minutes and 2 hours, or else your steak will become very mushy.

Another side piece to note: Salt is an amazing agent for tenderizing meat. Salt draws out the moisture from the meat long enough for the meat to become tender. The trick is to know how much salt to use, especially when using a marinade too!

b. Use a tenderizer

Physical tenderizers like Meat Mallets also work wonders in making that piece of meat tender. If you do not have a Meat Mallet, you can use your fork to punch tiny holes in the meat, and voila! You are ready to go!

c. Cook it low and slow to get the right internal temperature

Slow cooking ensures that the muscle fibers in the meat (which are usually tough) become softened. It also helps to avoid undercooking and burning the meat.

d. Do not be in a hurry to bring out the meat from the pot, i.e. leave the meat to “rest” a little after cooking.

This allows the flavors of the seasoning used in cooking to flow back into the cooked meat, making it even tastier and softer. The good part is that Bistek does not even need to be served hot.

3. Side Dish

The side dish you use to eat this dish will largely determine the thickness of the Bistek sauce. If you plan on eating the dish with steaming rice, the sauce will be slightly thick and “stewy”. But, if you plan on using salads and potatoes, you might want to make your Bistek sauce thicker.


Final Words On Beef Steak Filipino Recipe

Beef steak Tagalog can be eaten with vegetables, bread, potatoes, etc. in whatever form. You can tweak this dish to your taste, mix the flavors; go on a journey with the spices; experience a dance between meat and seasoning.

Newer variations of Pinoy beef steak even include Fish (called Fishtek), Tofu (called Tofu Steak Tagalog), Chicken, etc. So, this is one dish you will enjoy making because it gives you the opportunity to make a signature creation.

The first time I made Filipino beef steak, the meat was not as tender as I wanted it to be. I served it cool and it was like chewing “vulcanized rubber”. This was what led to me searching out what went wrong with my steak, and then finding out how to make the steak tender.

I have surely gotten better since that first time, and I am sure you would do way better than me in preparing the Bistek of your taste!

Please let me know how your dish turned out; what side dish you used, and the hassles you experienced while preparing it (if you had any)!

I would love to hear from you in the comment section. Also, please share this article as I am sure you must have learned a tip or two. Now, go make a sizeable Bistek dish and enjoy it!

beef steak filipino recipe

Bistek Tagalog

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Filipino
Servings 8


  • 4 lbs Top round or sirloin, sliced thinly
  • 4 Lemons, juiced (about 1/4 cup juice)
  • 1/2 cup Soy sauce
  • 2 Onion, peeled and sliced thinly
  • 2 Head garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1/2 tsp Pepper
  • 6 tbsp Canola oil
  • 2 cups Water
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 Onion, peeled and sliced into rings


  • In a bowl, combine beef, lemon juice, soy sauce, sliced onions, garlic, and pepper. Massage the marinade into the meat and marinate for about 30 minutes.
  • Remove meat, onions, and garlic from marinade, squeezing and reserving excess liquid.
  • In a pan over high heat, heat oil. Add beef and cook for about 3 to 5 minutes per side or until lightly browned. Spoon out and reserve released meat juices during frying. Remove meat.
  • In the pan,  add onions and garlic, and cook, stirring regularly, until softened. Return browned beef to pan.
  • Add reserved marinade and meat juices. Add water and bring to a boil. 
  • Cover, lower heat, and simmer for about 40 to 50 minutes or until meat is fork-tender and liquid is reduced. Season with salt to taste. 
  • Turn off heat. Garnish with onion rings, if desired, and cover to allow onions to cook slightly in the steam. Serve hot.


Keyword bistek tagalog

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