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The traditional beef kare-kare recipe is a Filipino dish that’s made with beef, vegetables, and a peanut-based sauce.

People always ask: Is kare-kare Filipino curry?

Yes! Kare-kare is a type of Filipino curry. The word “curry” is derived from the Tamil word “kari”, which means “sauce”.

So technically speaking, any dish that’s made with a sauce can be called a curry.

But did you know that the original kare-kare is made with oxtail?

Oxtail kare-kare is a bit more difficult to make because you have to slow cook and simmer the oxtails until they’re tender. But this meal is a popular Filipino food.

Kare-kare is a popular dish in the Philippines that has many different variations. The most common type of kare-kare is made with beef, but it can also be made with pork, chicken, or seafood.

The dish gets its name from the word “curry”, which is used to describe the flavor of the dish. Kare-kare is usually served with steamed rice and a side of bagoong, which is a type of fermented shrimp paste.


The origins of kare-kare aren’t entirely clear and there are several theories about its origins.

Some believe it to have been influenced by Indonesian and Indian cuisine.

The dish may have been introduced to the Philippines by traders from these countries, or it may have been created by Filipinos who were exposed to these foreign cuisines.

One thing is for sure: kare-kare has a long history dating back hundreds of years!

One story claims that the dish started with the Kapampangans in the Pampanga region of Central Luzon, while the other claims that it was created by the adjacent Tagalog people.

The Kapampangans claim that a meal known as “kari” is where the name “kare-kare” first appeared. Kari, a cuisine created by the Moro people of Southern Mindanao, is similar to dishes like Thai fish curry, but isn’t kare-kare.

While acknowledging that kare-kare originated from kari, the Tagalog people insist that they invented the current dish.

The Tagalog language claims that they first learned about the kari dish from the Kapampangans, who’d make and sell this tender curry on Filipino roads.

Due to its complexity, kari was a cuisine that no one could cook at the time; therefore, the Tagalog tried to imitate it. These imitations were known as “kare-kare” by the Kapampangans, who had a negative opinion of them.

Whether you think the current dish came from the Tagalogs or the Kapampangans, it’s now a mainstay of Filipino culture and cuisine!

Check out our new cookbook

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

Try it out for free with Kindle Unlimited:

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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.