Bulalo: How to Make Filipino-Style Beef Marrow Stew

A beef soup comprised of the shank with bone marrow still inside the bone, Bulalo is considered to be one of the most favorite main dishes in the Philippines.

Because of the popularity of this Filipino food, restaurants and eateries specializing in cooking Bulalo have been in business for a while. Bulalo is a simple stew, traditionally made with various vegetables in a large cauldron.

The bulalo’s meat is the beef shank or hock. The word shank means the animal’s front foot, and the jacket is the meaty lower part of the front leg.

Bulalo: Beef Marrow Stew

  • Author: Romae Chanice Marquez
  • Recipe Category: Main Dish
  • Cuisine: Filipino

To cook bulalo, it is recommended to use a pressure cooker. However, a large cauldron can do. The right meat should be selected and made as tender as possible. The whole preparation and cooking time is 2 hours. This recipe is suitable for at least four servings. 


Bulalo is best paired with steamed white rice. Photo credits to: @panlasangpinoy.

Bulalo: Beef Marrow Stew Ingredients

  • 3 lbs beef shank
  • ½ pc small cabbage, whole leaves individually detached
  • 2 small bundles of Pechay
  • 5 pcs small corn, cut into halves
  • 2 tbsp whole peppercorns
  • 1/2 cup Green onions
  • 2 medium-sized onions
  • 35 ounces of water
  • 3 tbsp fish sauce (optional)
  • salt to taste
  • pepper to taste

Bulalo: Beef Marrow Stew Instructions

Step 1: Place the beef shank and the onion in a big cooking pot, then boil it for 1 1/2 hours (30 minutes, if you’re using a pressure cooker) or until meat is tender, and add to the boil.

Step 2: Fill in corn and cook 10 minutes more.

Step 3: Add the fish sauce, chicken and green onion. Add as much salt and pepper until the taste suits you.

Step 4: Serve hot.

Bulalo: Beef Marrow Stew Additional Information

  • This soup is best paired with steamed white rice.
  • Per serving has 437 calories, 12 g of total fat, 133 mg of cholesterol, 1050 mg of sodium. 
  • Cooking the bulalo slowly over low heat brings out the flavor of the meat and keeps the meat very tender.
  • This recipe takes around 2 hours to prepare and serves 4.

About Bulalo: Beef Marrow Stew Recipe

Bulalo goes all the way back to the Philippines’ pre-Hispanic Period or before 1565 when the most common methods of cooking were boiling, grilling, steaming, and roasting.

Most people believe that bulalo was originated in the south of Luzon, one of the Philippines’ three largest islands. But, views are divided over the city or province in which bulalo was first prepared. Certain people believe that bull is a prevalent dish in the province of Batangas.

Bulalo uses beef shank. The beef shank is a steering or heifer’s leg part. The equivalent shin (foreshank) and leg (hindshank) in Britain are the same cuts of beef. Because the animal uses the muscle continuously, it is hard, dry, and sinewy.

It is, therefore, better cooked with moist heat for a long time. It is an ideal cut for Burgundian beef. Since it is incredibly lean, it is common in the production of highly fatty ground beef. It is not frequently seen in shops because of its lack of sales. Beef shank is very cheap and cost-effective for beef stock if found in the retail sector.


Bulalo is best consumed during times of cold weather. For more international recipes, click here.

Featured Image: @dan27suzara / Instagram, @fantvgurlz / Instagram