Bistek or Filipino Beef Steak


My family loves Bistek, even my picky American wife likes it and definitely a favorite among Filipinos. The only downside of this dish is a bit pricey, so with that being said a lot of family in the Philippines cannot have this dish as often as they like.


That's also the very reason when they do have this dish it is almost guaranty that they will have more one plate each meal. I have eaten this dish many times, but I liked it even more when I tasted my ex-father in-laws version. I don't have his recipe, but from what I can remember he didn't put any black pepper or garlic in it. So I made mine just like that, but I had to make a few test runs to get the measurements right. The funny thing is you can mess up this one and it still tastes Ingredients:
  • 2 Lbs. Round Roast (lean beef)
  • 1 Large red onion
  • 1 Cup of soy sauce
  • 1 Cup of water
  • 7 Packets of frozen calamansi or fresh ones
  • ½ Tsp. MSG (optional)
  • Corn oil for frying
Cooking Process:
  1. In a large bowl marinate beef in soy sauce, water, calamansi, and msg for an hour.
  2. Heat frying pan and add 2 Tbs. of corn oil and fry meat in batches until they all have good sear marks on both sides.
  3. Remove meat from the pan and set aside. Repeat the process for the next batch.
  4. You will need to add more oil each time you fry more batches of meat.
  5. When you are done frying, add all the meat back into the frying pan and add the remaining marinade to the pan.
  6. Let it simmer for 5 minutes on medium heat and then add the onions and let cook for another minute.
  7. Serve with rice and enjoy your Bistek!
Tip 1: When buying the meat, have your butcher slice the meat no thicker than 1/8 of an inch. If you have to slice it yourself and don't have an electric meat slicer you may do so. The easiest way to do this is to partly freeze the meat. It will make it easier to slice thinly. Just make sure that you do not freeze it solid otherwise you will have to thaw it out and try to do it again. Tip 2: Pot roast meat is not the most tender cut of meat. Cutting the meat against the grain will make it more tender, although meat cut against the grain is not as presentable as it is when it is cut along the grain. Bistek meat is sliced very thinly so this is not going to be a big factor for this particular dish. As for myself, I cut mine along the grain. You decide which cut you prefer and let the butcher know before you have it sliced.

Bistek Meat






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44 Responses to “Bistek”

  1. Linda says:

    This looks so good… going to give this a try.. will have to use the lime I get here…

  2. Linda, lemon would be the best substitute for Calamansi. for the measurement above 2 lemons should be enough.

  3. Jennifer says:

    i made it! and it turned out really good! thank you for posting this recipe=)

  4. You’re welcome Jennifer! I’m glad it turned out good for you. I remember when I first tried cooking this dish and I didn’t have a recipe to go by. All I really remember is that my ex-father in-law didn’t put any garlic or black pepper in his. It took me a few tries before I was satisfied with the result. So what did you end up using? Calamansi or Lemon? Let me know!


  5. Jennifer says:

    i had to use lemon, there was no stores near by that carry calamansi where i live. can you make kare-kare?

  6. Jennifer,

    I actually have never even tasted Kare-kare. It’s one of those dishes we have in the Phlippines that didn’t seem to appealing to my taste buds for some reason. But all my friends and cousins love it. I know it is one dish that is very popular. Maybe I am missing out. One of these days I would like to taste and try cooking it. By the way where do you live now?

  7. berns says:

    hi there. i just thought i’d swing by to thank you for this recipe. it’s uber good, i’ve never tried any bistek as good as this, no kidding! even if my mom’s gonna be sad when she finds out that i find your version tastier than hers, haha. i’m sooo bad… but anyways, thanks for sharing this. keep them coming!! :o)

    more power to you!


  8. indayrachelle says:

    it looks so good…I love bistek…I’m going to try this dish sometime this week. I will try the chicken afritada first tonight. However, I have a question, since the beef is hard to cook; although, since it’s thinly slice, is the beef not chewy if you fry it? The reason I ask is that I normally put water (of course with the soysauce and onions) to cook the meat and let it simmer until the beef is tender and the water becomes sauce. Then, I add a little bit of oil then the fresh round onions. Your version is easier and scrumptiously looking. I’m looking forward to your answer. Thanks for this marvelous website…It is indeed a helpful website.

  9. I always make sure that once a month I eat Bistek for lunch or dinner. You have nice images, especially how you served the onions. I love onions on Bistek.

  10. franz says:

    I love bistek. It’s a play on the word beefsteak. The dish is also commonly known as bistek tagalog or beefsteak tagalog. =D

  11. Hi Robert,
    Your site is just awesome! Bistek is one of my favorite dishes. Am new to food blogging and you inspire me… more power!

  12. irene says:

    i wonder if there’s any calamansi here in norway 🙁

  13. Anne says:

    this is my first time on ur site and I can’t get enough of it..everyday I have been cooking different Filipino food and guess where I’m getting the ideas from .. of course from U!!! thank u !! I thougt I would never be able to cook different Filipino food until I found this site and my husband loves it.. hope u keep posting more.. oh taking pictures of the food and d ingredients help me alot too.. that’s d other reaason y I kiv this site cos u already know how it looks Luke when u go n get the thank u for taking pics of d ingrdnts.. ;).

  14. Roy says:

    I remember my mother making this and serving it with cold diced tomatos to eat with the rice. Guess I’m going to have to make this myself.

  15. Ella from Davao City says:

    It’s so mouth watering… I am not that good on cooking but I guess I will give it a try coz it has an easy procedure.. Keep on posting a recipe coz it will help a lot esp. person like me… Nice site! 🙂

  16. diane says:

    very yummy! im not much of a cook but my dish turned out great! even my picky american husband likes it… and my 2yr old girl too! her every spoonful was followed by “yum!”

  17. Marites says:

    My husband is a meat eater esp. beff we butcher our own beef meat coz we have a dairy farm. Instead of using Calamansi Juice I use sweet vinegar(balsamic vinegar) your bistek recipe looks good so, I’m going to try it for something different.

  18. Joy says:

    Please post more recipes!
    I love your website, thank you soo much!

    cooking in the usa!

  19. Marie says:

    by the looks of the pics , it makes me wanna get some and eat it, so yummy

  20. i am very fortunate of knowing this website. it helps me alot by preparing recipes on my kuyas birthday… thankyou

  21. Alice says:

    Hello! this is my first time to visit your site and i’m happy to found it. i love to cook but like you i also don’t have any proper training. i’ve cooked filipino beefsteak so many times already the same procedure as you have though i love adding it finely crashed garlic and ground pepper when i marinate the beef. i used to marinate the beef overnight before cooking it for a better taste (para lalo kumagat ang lasa). and i also preferred white ring onion a little bit fried on top of it cuz’ i don’t like the taste when it’s raw 😀 . so yes, my soon to be hubby loves it so much! 🙂

  22. franz says:

    that’s some good looking bistek you got there.

  23. Cecile says:

    This look really good….my american husband want me to cook this for him, hmmmm…maybe this week. ill let you know how it turn out..wish me the best.

  24. Cecile says:

    This look really good….my american husband want me to cook this for him, hmmmm…maybe this week. ill let you know how it turn out..wish me the best.

  25. Mary Ann says:

    My father used to cook this during my childhood days he loves to cook bistek. Now that I have my own family and living in america I crave Filipino food so often. I tried to cook this and turn out really good as a matter of fact my american husband and my daughter love this dish and so do I. I use rib eye and trimmed the fat off. Hmmm tasty!!!!

  26. Mary Ann,

    I am glad that you and your family like this recipe. This is my family’s favorite too and just like you I am married to an American and she also loved this dish. 🙂

    Robert Colinares

  27. noligutomyan (so cal) says:


    Easy and one of my favorites. Nice work! KUMAIN MUNA!

  28. Yes this is quick and easy to cook and very satisfying… It’s also one of my favorite! 🙂

  29. marina johnston says:


    This picture look so delicious.Can we use this recepe for cooking bangus?

  30. Yes, you can. Just make sure you use vinegar rather than Calamansi and add a little bit more garlic. 🙂

  31. Marilou says:

    Hey Robert, thank you so much for sharing this oh-so-yummy recipe! I haven’t found the one you have but I have a powdered calamansi (from a Filipino store). Do you that will work? Thanks! Can’t wait to try this out!

  32. Marilou says:

    Sorry, but I meant, Do you think* it will work?

  33. Hi Marilou,
    Sorry for the delayed response. I haven’t use powdered Calamansi, so I am the wrong person to ask about it. However, from my experience lemon is a very good substitute for Calamansi for Bistek.

    Robert Colinares

  34. Jason says:

    @Marilou, I tried it once using powder calamansi. Dilute it with warm water and pour it on the beefsteak before serving it.

  35. cel says:

    hi again Robert! I want also to cook bistek. pwd lng po ba na ung gagamitin ko na karne nang baka e ung may timpla na? (BEEF S-SIDE CORNED MISCELLANEOUS) thanks!

  36. Hi Cel,

    I never use a pre-seasoned meat. I guess you can use it as long as the flavoring is similar to Bistek then I don’t see why you couldn’t?


    Robert Colinares

  37. cel says:

    thank u for ur response Robert! hope it taste the same.I will cook it next time not using pre-seasoned meat. God Bless!

  38. Carl says:


    Thanks for all of your recipes which have inspired me to cook my native dishes on my own and more often. I have always preferred my Mother’s cooking as we all know “nothing beats Mom’s cooking”……I can get close to them thanks to your website! For the Pinoy game hunters out there…….try this Bistek recipe with your venison, I actually used the backstrap and it turned out awesome.



  39. liu says:

    i hope they got video on how to cook this recipe…

  40. I will take this as a request… Bistek video coming up in the future. 🙂

  41. abner domingo says:

    try 7-up or sprite inteadof water, it will help make the meat much more tender, and also, just sear the meat quickly otherwise it will be hard to chew.

    calgary, alberta, canada

  42. cherry de la fuente says:

    more video pls

  43. helen dean says:

    I tried this recipe today it was really good but salty maybe next time instead of 1 cup of soy sauce (silver swan) just need half a cup. thanks for your website. more Power kababayan.

  44. Hi Helen,

    You can certainly reduce the amount of any ingredients to dial it in to your liking. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

    Robert Colinares

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