Pork Bistek

Bistek was the very first recipe I posted here on Kawaling Pinoy and thus, is very dear to my heart. In fact, I’ve been slowly re-taking old photos on the blog but it’s one I don’t plan to update. The photo below, not the most appetizing, eh?

At the risk of being sappy, I like to keep it as is to remind me, especially when I am feeling discouraged or overwhelmed, how far I’ve come on this blogging journey and how much I’ve learned in the last three years.

Bistek, in its traditional form, is a local adaptation of the Spanish bistec wherein thin slices of beef are cooked with onions and spices. However, the word bistek, which is the Filipino translation of beef steak,  has expanded in recent years to describe any type of meat or seafood stewed in soy sauce, calamansi, and onions.

For the sake of language pedants out there, allow me to clarify that the recipe we have here is not pork bistek per se (because bistek means beef) but rather, it’s pork prepared a la bistek. Oh, well, what’s in a name, anyway? Bistek or not, this pork dish delivers all the flavor s and comfort the whole family is sure to love.

I used pork cubes to pull this dish together as I forgot to ask the butcher to cut the whole pork butt I bought into thin slices and cutting the meat in chunks was an easier task for me. If you’re going to use thin strips instead, make sure to slice the meat across the grain for a more tender chew. And please, have plenty of steamed rice ready. You’ll need it. 🙂

Pork Bistek

Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Author: Lalaine | Kawaling Pinoy
Recipe type: Main Entree
Cuisine: Filipino
Yield: 4 Servings
    • 3 pounds pork butt, sliced thinly or cut into 1½-inch cubes
    • ½ cup calamansi juice
    • ¼ cup soy sauce
    • 1 large onion, peeled and sliced into rings (reserve 5 to 6 rings for garnish)
    • 1 head garlic, peeled and minced
    • ¼ teaspoon pepper
    • 3 tablespoons oil
    • 1 cup water
    • salt to taste
  1. In a bowl, combine pork, lemon juice, soy sauce, onions, garlic and pepper. Massage marinade into meat and marinate for about 30 minutes. Remove meat, onions and garlic from marinade, squeezing and reserving excess liquid.
  2. In a pan over high heat, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil. Add pork 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.
  3. In the pan, add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil. Add onions and garlic, and cook, stirring regularly, until limp and aromatic. Return meat to pan.
  4. 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 and add the remaining onion rings. Cover and allow onion slices to cook slightly in the steam. Serve hot.

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