For a lot of Filipinos, there seems to be no wrong time for a heaping order of pares. Pares (literally translated to “pair”) consists of braised beef, cooked for hours until tender with a thick sweet and salty sauce, paired with a clear beef broth, and garlic-fried rice or a serving of noodles. This combination quickly became a karinderya classic, and it’s found its way into restaurants and eateries all over the metro.

It is said that Lolita Tiu of Jonas Pares coined the term “pares” in the late 1970’s to make it easier for customers to order. The dish consists mostly of Chinese influences: the beef is usually cooked asado style with star anise, and it can also be paired with mami noodles instead of rice. The slow-cooking process brings out the favorite mix of Filipino flavors, salty and sweet, in the beef, while the garlic in the rice adds spice.

The popularity of pares is now so great that what used to be hole-in-the-wall pares eateries are now franchised restaurants with several branches around the metro. Perhaps it’s the long cooking time and the varying components, but I noticed that pares remains to be more of a karinderya or restaurant dish rather than a home-cooked one. While there are pares-recipes that started in the kitchen of someone’s lola or tito, many don’t see pares as a dish that you come home to. It fits the bill more as a post-inuman meal, or a heavier merienda for when you skipped lunch. What do you guys think? Let me know in the comments below.

There are a bunch of pares restaurants scattered around the city, so I decided to hit some up and see which is the best, and if there’s a special reason why this karinderya dish lasted as long as it did. Check out the video below! Did I visit your favorite pares spot?

Here are the pares places we weren’t able to visit. Try them out!

Original Pares Mami House: Retiro Street, Quezon City

Pares Retiro: 280 P. Tuazon Boulevard, Cubao, Quezon City

Erwan Heussaff
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