Steak night

There are three beef dishes I long for, two of which I think I will never ever taste again:

1. Pigar-pigar; strips of beef, heavily seasoned with salt, pepper and MSG (!) at Dagupan's market stalls, best had starting at 11pm, fried with onions and mushrooms. And with a case or two of strong beer. Every time we try to make our version, it ends up being too watery and I think the problem is that we cook way too much of it in a small pan, with inadequate heat, and it ends up getting braised (you need a big wok, over gas flames). Looking forward to a kilo or two in December minus the beer probably.

2. Australian beef done ala Bistek Tagalog & done by my Tita (Aunt) Lita; the story if I can remember it right is that a maid of my aunt's married an Australian and that when she came back to the Philippines for a visit, she brought Aussie beef. And it was the best beef I ever had. I've heard the phrase 'melt in your mouth' so many times to describe beef and every single time, it was a flat out lie except for this one. And it wasn't just the way my aunt cooked it which was just a simple pan fry (I think), but it was also the quality of the beef itself. I've looked and tried and have eaten so many since then- in Australia and in New Zealand- and nothing has come close.

3. Beef steak as done by my dad; we've tried to replicate how he makes it but it's just never the same which begs the question, are we competing with a memory? The procedure is fairly simple; pan fry beef strips in oil until brown, add soy sauce and the finish off with the juice of calamansi. I remember grazing off the leftovers, cold in the refrigerator, with a fistful or two of rice. 

Living in beef country (where it's more accessible than lamb, ironically), I don't do that much beef, but when I do, it's a good slab of scotch fillet or sirloin. 

Here's a good way of doing one from the New York Times Food.