Yesterday’s food journal entry is about beef pares. In the excitement, I forgot to take a photo of the actual dish. Beef pares is a popular street food in the Philippines, usually served with garlic rice and beef soup. The most popular iteration of beef pares is sweet. You can find some that are salty, but that’s not what usually comes to mind when we think of street pares. I think it’s really a testament to the Filipino sweet tooth. My husband likes his pares with thick and sweet sauce. The dish is just a simple braise but with the addition of brown sugar and star anise. It’s best to use beef brisket for this dish, but I used beef shanks because it’s what I currently had in the fridge.
Shopping during this pandemic is very challenging. Amid the spread of the deadlier, more transmissible Delta variant, we just have grocery delivered through apps. I miss going to the grocery store, markets, and meat shops to look at the meat and find cuts that have good marbling and good color. Having a stranger pick out meat for you is just not the same, but these are the times we live in right now.
Star anise also wasn’t available in the shopping app we use, but I realize that it’s available in Lazada. You can’t substitute anything for star anise. It’s what gives pares that characteristic taste and smell. Simple ingredients, simple cooking methods. What’s more important (aside from getting the seasoning right) is to take your time and slow-cook the meat to perfection so that the fats are rendered and the tendons are melt-in-your-mouth soft.