Dissecting the perfect kare-kare

This is what makes our favorite ulam sooo good

Adobo and sinigang aren’t the only superior Filipino dishes. Where’s the love for kare-kare?

Admittedly, kare-kare was one of the dishes that took awhile for me to appreciate since I was a picky kid. But when I finally tried it, I never went back. Today, we’re dissecting the key elements that make this dish special.

Ground peanut

Filipinos know that peanut is what makes kare-kare’s stew thick. Some might find it a bit odd, but this is the soul of the dish, IMO. Cabalen uses freshly ground peanut in its Kare-kare making its peanut sauce superior to ones made with peanut butter.

Stewed oxtail and/or tripe

kare-kare uses oxtail or tripe

Traditional kare-kare has either oxtail or tripe (or both). They’re cooked till spoon-tender and can easily be coated with the stew. If you’re not a fan of either meats, beef or seafood can be used in kare-kare, too!


No stew is complete without vegetables. Aside from adding some crunch and flavor to the dish, you also get your daily dose of vitamins and nutrients.


Cabalen's special bagoong

The saltiness of the bagoong (shrimp paste) juxtaposed against  the sweet and creamy sauce of the kare-kare is what makes this a standout. You can use the regular or spicy variant—or both if that’s how you like it.

If you want kare-kare but don’t have time to cook it from scratch, you can call up Cabalen and have some delivered to you. The restaurant is known for serving many Filipino dishes buffet style. Since many of us are at home, go get that kare-kare fix and add other dishes while you’re at it. Oh and it’s perfect for stay-in parties, too.

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