My love affair with the Beef Pares (and what makes this 'Proudly Pinoy' dish unique)

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My love affair with the Beef Pares (and what makes this 'Proudly Pinoy' dish unique)


It was right after college graduation when I first encountered the Beef Pares at a food joint along Timog Avenue, Quezon City.

Not an exaggeration, but I fell in love with the dish the very second my tongue got near it.

You may call it a post-adolescent craving if you wish, but the exotic taste of a Filipino style beef stew really did give excitement to my already swelling gastronomic appetite.

Alas, my appreciation for food were never the same again.

"Pares" which means literally "pair" is a combo meal featuring beef stew with a bowl of beef soup, plus a garlic-topped fried rice (sinangag). The beef are cut into squares and are cooked in soy sauce, anise, and a lot of secret ingredients. The beef must contain "litid" or ligaments.


Mang Rudy's

My love affair with the proudly Pinoy 'Beef Pares' started out at "Mang Rudy's Pares-Pares House" along Timog Avenue, QC, just in front of the Music Box sing-along and comedy bar.

It is perhaps one of the most popular Pares chow spot in the late 80s to the 90s.

It's just a small joint but their Pares were excellent. I remember bringing along my relatives and friends to the resto and giving a wave at Mang Rudy. Yes, Mang Rudy was an actual person. During those times, you can always see him there as he sits at a chair right behind the cash register.

I enjoyed Mang Rudy's Pares for more than a decade. Until it closed down in the late 90s.


Present times

Mang Rudy wasn't the first to make the Beef Pares. Nobody knows for sure how and when it started but among the best restos to serve them which exists till today are the Original Pares Mami House in the Retiro and Espana area in Manila, the Cocoy's Pares Mami House in Visayas Avenue, QC and the Noodle King Pares Mami House in Dimasalang, Sta. Cruz, Manila.

At these present times, because of its popularity and affordability, more Pares houses have sprung and can be seen scattered all over Mega Manila.


What a good Beef Pares should be

So, what makes a good Beef Pares? Not every resto which has Pares on its menu got that distinct taste of the original Pares dish.

There's a criteria actually, and this makes the dish quite unique from the other Pinoy dishes that we've ever tasted.

As mentioned (and seen) above, the beef inside the Pares dish is cut into squares and must include "litid" or ligaments. They should be soft to chew on. They are then cooked with soy sauce, anise, pepper, salt and sugar.


Beef Pares and bowl of soup


The plateful of beef cutlets are paired with a bowl of soup. The soup is a combination of beef stock and a portion of the stew sauce. Sometimes, the soup goes with chopped spring onions and fried garlic.


Beef Pares: how the dish is served


Though a "Pares" means pair representing the beef stew and the beef soup, the dish is actually served with two more complements: the garlic-fried rice and the sawsawan (chili sauce).


Beef Pares and fried garlic rice


The garlic-fried rice is the sinangag topped with more fried garlic for the best aroma and flavor. Some restos even add chops of spring onion on top to give it a more Asian taste. If you're a bit hungry, you can order for an extra rice, measured in big and small bowls.


Beef Pares and chili sauce with calamansi


Then the sawsawan or chili sauce. The sauce is made up of ground chili, mostly preserved, diluted in red sauce. It is topped with a piece of calamansi so one can add a bit of extra sourness to the taste. You can even add a bit of soy sauce if you want to.


The architecture and interior design


Most Pares houses bear identical looks. A typical Pares restaurant has a rectangular signboard with the word "Pares" written in bold fonts.


Most Pares houses bear identical looks. A typical Pares restaurant has a rectangular signboard with the word "Pares" written in bold fonts.

The walls are mostly painted in red and yellow, with a huge menu hung on one of its walls.


Beef Pares:Inside are rectangular tables joined at their corners creating a square. These tables are surrounded with circular seats.


Inside are rectangular tables joined at their corners creating a square. These tables are surrounded with circular seats. They don't have tablecloths on them, but I can assure you won't even miss the thing once you're there.


Beef Pares: The employees, for their uniform, wear red and yellow t-shirts, red for the male and yellow for the females.


For their uniforms, the males wear red t-shirts while the females wear yellow -- colors which are quite staple to most fast food stores.


Pricelist

Here's a photograph of the menu so you'd have an idea how it costs to eat at a Pares restaurant. Also included in the menu are other dishes that you might want to try.


Beef Pares menu and pricelist






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