Pares: Beef Stew and Soup Combo


Street Food Series:

In every street corner in overcrowded neighborhoods in Manila, you will find food stalls that sell cooked meals at an inexpensive price, catering mostly to jeepney, taxi and truck drivers; construction workers;  students and then some. When I lived in Manila – after long, tiresome hours at work – I would occasionally pick up some dinner from one of my neighborhood’s stalls.  Viands and rice are scooped from huge pots into small plastic bags, tied into knots and ready to go.

Pares (Puh-rez) is probably the most popular street food in the Philippines.

Pares  literaly means “pair,” and is called such because the meal is a combination of a beef stew and a bowl of soup. It is best consumed with steamed rice, which then, to me, makes the meal a triad rather than a pair.  In most cases, the fat from the beef is not trimmed which makes the dish very flavorful and bit oily, but neither is ever a source of customer complaint!


1 lb beef, preferably brisket, cut into bite-sized pieces

1/4 cup soy sauce

4 cups water

2 pcs beef bouillons

1/4 cup brown sugar

2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed

2 tbsps fresh ginger, crushed

1 medium onion, chopped

2 pcs star anise

1 tsp corn starch

2 tbsps olive oil

2 stems green onions


In a large pot, heat olive oil in medium-high heat. Add the garlic and sauté until golden brown.  Add onions and cook until tender.  Add ginger and stir for one minute.  Add the beef pieces to brown, about 2 minutes.  Add water and bring to a boil.  Add 2 beef bouillons and stir well.  Reduce heat, add soy sauce, star anise, sugar, corn starch (diluted in a small amount of cold water), and let simmer for 60-90 minutes. Remove from heat. Scoop desired amount of beef pieces over a plate of steamed rice.  Scoop the desired amount of soup into  a soup bowl. Sprinkle  green onions over the plate and soup bowl.  Enjoy!


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