Filipino Bistek

Filipino Bistek

During the holiday’s my roommate got a bunch of calamansi from his family. What is calamansi you ask? Tiny little citrus fruit with a strong lemon flavor that resembles baby oranges or grapefruit. Technically, they’re a very old cross between mandarin oranges and kumquats grown throughout Southeast Asia, primarily the Philippines and Malaysia. Now that we have a strange fruit in our house, what do we do with these? My roommate immediately reflected on his childhood and said, “bistek!” What? Beefsteak?

Now this is probably comforting food at best. I wouldn’t call it healthy with how much sodium is in the marinade. In fact, we opted out of adding any additional salt to the dish given how much soy sauce we used. We also ate it with quinoa instead of jasmine rice. That made it a little healthier, right? Well, how about the side of steamed kale?

Filipino Bistek

Adapted from my roommate’s recipe


1 lb beef sirloin, thinly sliced
1 lemon or 3 calamansi
1 large onion, sliced into rings
¼ cup soy sauce
3 cloves of garlic, crushed
½ tsp ground black pepper
salt to taste (optional)


1. Marinate the beef in soy sauce, lemon (or calamansi), and pepper for at least one hour.
2. Heat cooking oil in a pan then stir-fry the onion rings until the texture becomes soft then set aside.
3. In the same pan, stir-fry the marinated beef sans marinade sauce (set aside for later) until the meat browns then set aside.
4. Saute the garlic in the same pan for a few minutes and then pour in the remainder of the marinade sauce and bring to a boil.
5. Add the stir-fried beef and simmer in the sauce for 15-20 minutes or until the meat is tender. Add water as needed.
6. Add the onions and serve hot.

I’m glad he was able to share this recipe with me for a trade off of me being his sous chef. I learned about a fruit I’ve never heard of and I got to learn a new dish. I’d say overall, this was a win.

Filipino Bistek

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.