Beef Pares: What is it and Where Did it Come From?

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What is beef pares?

Filipino beef pares is a popular dish in the Philippines that is made with beef and onions. The dish can be served over rice or noodles, and it is usually served with a soy sauce based sauce. Beef pares is a hearty dish that is perfect for cold winter nights.

Let’s look at everything that goes into making this delicious dish.

What is beef pares

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What Makes Beef Pares a Savory Filipino Specialty?

Beef Pares (full recipe here) is a popular Filipino dish that is commonly found in roadside establishments, street houses, and specialty food houses that specialize in Filipino cuisine. The term “pares” means “pair” in Filipino, aptly named because it is usually served with a clear broth on the side.

Why Beef Pares is a Popular Dish

Beef Pares is a popular dish in the Philippines because of its savory taste and the clear broth that accompanies it. It is commonly served as a breakfast meal, but it can also be eaten any time of the day. The dish is particularly associated with street food and roadside establishments, making it a staple in Filipino cuisine.

Beef Pares is also known for its health benefits. It contains protein, iron, and other essential nutrients that are good for the body.

The Origins of Beef Pares

Beef Pares is a popular Filipino dish that consists of braised beef, rice, and a light broth. The term “pares” is derived from the Spanish word “pār,” which means “pair” or “couple.” In Filipino cuisine, “pares” is usually used in its plural form, “magkapares,” which means “to be paired.” The term is indicative of the practice of serving the dish with a pair of dishes, preferably rice and garlic rice (known as “sinangag” or “ricesinangag”).

Borrowed and Forming a New Dish

The dish itself is a result of the borrowing of Spanish and Latin culinary traditions and forming a new dish that is uniquely Filipino. The beef used in the dish is usually from the cheaper and tougher cuts of meat, making it a more affordable alternative to more expensive beef dishes. The key function of the dish is to provide a hearty and filling meal that is both delicious and satisfying.

Other Variations of the Dish

There are a couple of other variations of the dish, including “ipares,” which is a fried version of the dish, and “kapares,” which is a dessert version of the dish that includes breads and other sweets. Leftover Beef Pares can also be used to make “pares sinangag,” which is a fermented rice dish that includes the leftover beef.

What Goes into Making the Savory Beef Pares?

  • Beef: The star of the dish, usually a tough cut like brisket or shank, is boiled until tender and browned for added flavor.
  • Water: Used to boil the beef and make the broth.
  • Bay leaves: Adds a nice earthy flavor to the broth.
  • Onions: Chopped and added to the broth for a slightly sweet taste.
  • Garlic: Crushed and added to the broth for a nice savory taste.

The Sauce

  • Soy sauce: A key ingredient in the sauce, giving it a nice umami flavor.
  • Ginger: Adds a mildly peppery taste to the sauce.
  • Cinnamon: A pinch of this spice gives the sauce a distinct and nice flavor.
  • Yellow onion: Chopped and fried until caramelized, then added to the sauce for a sweet and savory taste.
  • Canola oil: Used to fry the onions and coat the beef for browning.
  • Water: Dissolved with cornstarch to make a slurry for thickening the sauce (optional).

The Serving

  • Rice: A cup of freshly cooked rice is a must to serve with the beef pares.
  • Spring onions: Chopped and toasted, then sprinkled on top of the beef pares for added flavor and texture.

The Specialty

  • Beef pares is particularly popular in Filipino cuisine and is known as a specialty of roadside establishments and houses that specialize in the dish.
  • The term “pares” is associated with the combination of beef and rice, particularly in a stew or braised type of dish.
  • The beef pares is also associated with the clear and slightly peppery broth that helps cut through the gamey taste of the beef.
  • Frozen beef pares can be bought in some Filipino food stores, but it’s best to make it fresh for optimal flavor.

Mastering the Art of Cooking Beef Pares: Tips and Tricks

  • Start by choosing the right cut of beef. The best cut for beef pares is the neck, which contains enough fat to create a rich and flavorful broth.
  • Cut the beef into large pieces, about 2 inches in size. This will allow the meat to cook evenly and prevent it from becoming tough.
  • Mix the soy sauce, sugar, ginger, and black pepper in a bowl to create the marinade. This is an important step as it will give the beef a rich and savory flavor.

Cooking the Beef

  • In a large pot, heat some oil over medium heat. Add the chopped onions and sauté until they become translucent.
  • Add the beef to the pot and brown it on all sides. This will help to seal in the juices and improve the flavor of the meat.
  • Pour in enough water or beef stock to cover the meat. Bring the mixture to a boil and then reduce the heat to low. Cover the pot and let it simmer for at least an hour. This will allow the meat to become tender and flavorful.
  • Remove the beef from the pot and set it aside. Strain the broth and set it aside as well. This will be used later to make the sauce.

Making the Sauce

  • In a separate pot, heat some oil over medium heat. Add the chopped onions and sauté until they become translucent.
  • Add the beef broth to the pot and bring it to a boil.
  • Mix some cornstarch with water to create a slurry. Slowly pour this into the pot while stirring constantly. This will thicken the sauce and give it a smooth and velvety texture.
  • Add the beef to the pot and let it simmer for a few more minutes. This will allow the meat to absorb the flavors of the sauce.

Serving and Storing

  • Serve the beef pares hot over a bed of rice. Garnish with chopped scallions or fried garlic for added flavor and texture.
  • If you have leftovers, make sure to store them properly. Beef pares can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
  • To reheat, simply pour the beef and sauce into a pot and heat over low heat. Add a little water or beef stock if the sauce has become too thick.

Tips and Tricks

  • Adding a little bit of fat to the broth will improve the flavor and create a richer and more satisfying dish.
  • Be careful when adding the cornstarch slurry to the sauce. Adding too much can make the sauce too thick and gloopy.
  • If you want to achieve a more authentic and traditional flavor, try using ground star anise in the marinade.
  • Mixing in a little bit of soluble coffee to the broth can give it a deeper and more complex flavor.
  • If you want to save time, you can prepare the beef and broth ahead of time and freeze them separately. This way, you can easily make beef pares whenever you want without having to start from scratch.
  • Don’t be afraid to experiment with different ingredients and techniques to find the perfect beef pares recipe for you.

What’s the Beef Behind Beef Pares?

When it comes to beef pares, the cut of beef used is crucial to achieving the dish’s signature tenderness and flavor. While beef pares can technically be made with any cut of beef, some cuts are more commonly used than others. Here are the cuts of beef that are usually used in beef pares:

  • Short Ribs: This cut is ideal for beef pares because it has a good balance of meat and fat, making it flavorful and tender. It’s also slightly longer than other cuts, which means it’s easier to slice into the thin strips that are characteristic of beef pares.
  • Brisket: This cut is slightly cheaper than short ribs and works well in beef pares because it has a high amount of connective tissues and collagen. These components break down during cooking, resulting in a richer broth and a more tender meat.
  • Shank: This is an unconventional cut of beef to use in beef pares, but it works well because it has abundant connective tissues and bones. The bones add richness to the broth, while the connective tissues break down during cooking, resulting in a tender meat.

Why These Cuts are Ideal for Beef Pares?

The cuts of beef used in beef pares are ideal because they have a high amount of connective tissues and collagen. These components break down during cooking, resulting in a tender meat and a richer broth. Additionally, these cuts are slightly cheaper than other cuts of beef, making them an affordable option for beef pares.

In summary, the cuts of beef commonly used in beef pares are short ribs, brisket, and shank. While these cuts are tougher than other cuts of beef, they are ideal for beef pares because of their abundant connective tissues and collagen. When cooked using a pressure cooker, these cuts result in a tender meat and a rich broth that’s hard to resist.

How to Enjoy Beef Pares to the Fullest

Beef pares is a complete dish in itself, but it’s always good to add some sides to make it even more satisfying. Here are some serving suggestions to try:

  • Serve with steaming hot rice. The rich and flavorful beef pares sauce is perfect for drizzling over the rice.
  • Garnish with chopped spring onions or fried garlic for added aroma and flavor.
  • Try adding a fried egg on top of the rice for a more filling meal.
  • Serve with a bowl of soup on the side, such as a clear broth or a corn soup.

History and Meaning

Beef pares is an iconic Filipino dish that involves mixing different elements to create a rich and flavorful sauce. The word “pares” literally means “pair” in Filipino, and it refers to the pairing of the beef and the soup. The dish is believed to have originated from the Chinese beef stew, but the Filipino version involves the use of soy sauce, sugar, and ginger to improve the flavor.

Cooking Tips

Making beef pares may take some time, but it’s definitely worth it. Here are some tips to make the perfect beef pares:

  • Start with a large piece of beef neck or any other cut that needs longer cooking time. Boiled beef bones can also be added to enhance the flavor of the stock.
  • Use low heat when cooking to make sure that the meat becomes tender and the flavors are well-incorporated.
  • To thicken the sauce, mix cornstarch with water and pour it into the mixture. Stir continuously until the sauce becomes thick.
  • Unlike other dishes, beef pares tastes better when it’s prepared a day ahead. This allows the flavors to meld together and improve the taste of the dish.
  • Don’t be afraid to try different variations of the recipe. Some people add black pepper or star anise to the mixture to add more depth to the flavor.

Related Recipes

If you enjoyed beef pares, here are some other Filipino dishes that you might want to try:

  • Tapsilog- a popular breakfast dish that consists of beef tapa, garlic rice, and fried egg.
  • Adobo- a traditional Filipino dish that involves cooking meat in soy sauce, vinegar, and garlic.
  • Sinigang- a sour soup that can be made with different types of meat, such as pork, beef, or fish.

Leftovers: What to do with your Beef Pares

When it comes to storing your Beef Pares, there are a few things you need to keep in mind to ensure that it stays fresh and delicious for as long as possible. Here are some tips:

  • Let the dish cool down to room temperature before storing it in the fridge or freezer.
  • If you’re storing it in the fridge, transfer it to an airtight container or a bowl covered with plastic wrap or aluminum foil.
  • If you’re storing it in the freezer, use a freezer-safe container or a ziplock bag. Make sure to remove as much air as possible before sealing it.
  • Label the container or bag with the date you cooked the Beef Pares so you know how long it’s been stored.
  • Beef Pares can be stored in the fridge for up to 3-4 days and in the freezer for up to 2-3 months.

Beef Pares: A Delicious and Nutritious Dish

Beef pares is not only a popular and iconic dish in the Philippines, but it also has some health benefits that you might not know about. Here are some reasons why beef pares is a nutritious dish:

  • Contains protein: Beef is a rich source of protein, which is essential for building and repairing tissues in the body. A serving of beef pares can provide you with a good amount of protein that your body needs.
  • Low in fat: While beef is known to contain fat, beef pares is usually made with lean cuts of beef, which makes it a low-fat dish. You can also remove any visible fat from the meat before cooking to make it even healthier.
  • Rich in nutrients: Beef is a good source of vitamins and minerals, such as iron, zinc, and vitamin B12. These nutrients are important for maintaining a healthy body.
  • Contains ginger and garlic: The beef pares recipe involves cooking the meat with ginger and garlic, which are both known for their health benefits. Ginger can help improve digestion and reduce inflammation, while garlic can boost the immune system and lower blood pressure.

Where to Find the Best Beef Pares

If you’re not in the mood for cooking, you can always ask your local Filipino restaurant if they serve beef pares. Here are some tips on how to find the best beef pares:

  • Check online reviews: Look for reviews of Filipino restaurants in your area to see which ones serve the best beef pares.
  • Ask for recommendations: If you have Filipino friends or acquaintances, ask them where they go for the best beef pares.
  • Try different places: Don’t be afraid to try different restaurants to find the perfect beef pares for you.

Beef pares is not only a delicious dish, but it also has some health benefits that you can enjoy. Whether you’re preparing it at home or ordering it from a restaurant, make sure to try this iconic Filipino dish.


What is Beef Pares? Beef pares is a Filipino dish made with beef, onions, garlic, bay leaves, and spices, and is usually served with rice. It’s a savory dish with a clear broth that’s popular for breakfast.

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Bitemybun's family recipes with complete meal planner and recipe guide.

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Joost Nusselder, the founder of Bite My Bun is a content marketer, dad and loves trying out new food with Japanese food at the heart of his passion, and together with his team he's been creating in-depth blog articles since 2016 to help loyal readers with recipes and cooking tips.