The internet has had its fair share of food obsessions over the pandemic. From the DIY Dalgona coffee to the complex sushi bake, our taste buds have practically traveled everywhere while we stayed cooped up at home. This time around, there’s a new contender in the game—and it’s coming from an unexpectedly local source.
Enter Andok’s Litson Baka, a new beef dish that’s quickly joining Dokito Frito (or fried chicken) in its bestsellers on the menu. Priced at P320 in-store and P352 on GrabFood, this offering is perfectly charred and presented in scrumptious thin slices brimming with fat and smoky litid.
Just a quick scroll through Instagram and Facebook and you would notice it’s been the talk of the town. Earlier today, we at PhilSTAR L!FE tried to find out why. Read on to know what we think about the instant food hit.
Camille Santiago, Associate Editor: I was supposed to buy from a nearby Andok’s, but I didn’t know that the Litson Baka is only available in select branches. Good thing though, the servers know the nearest branch that sells, which is in Stop N Shop, Sta. Mesa. The wait wasn’t that long, but there was a short line in the said branch. The service was quick, too. It took only about 5 minutes to get my order.
Saab Lariosa, Content Producer: Since I’m staying in Cavite at the moment, the app choices weren’t all that wide. Though there’s an Andok’s on Grab, the Litson Baka wasn’t available on their menu yet so I had to join a Pasabuy group just to order. When kuya arrived, he shared that there were already a lot of people in the stand ordering the same thing, but luckily he got there early so they had time to cater to his order. Still, it’s best to order in advance to skip the long lines - and make it in time for lunch or dinner!
Brooke Villanueva, Content Producer: The order process didn't go smoothly for me. I’m currently residing in Quezon City and I had to check all 11 outlets on GrabFood before I found a branch selling the new offering. I ordered mine from its Shoe Avenue branch in Marikina. Thankfully, it only took around 40 minutes to have it delivered to my place.
C: The box that contained the food is handy and not too bulky. I prefer those kinds of boxes since it doesn’t require extra plastic or paper bag.
S: It came in Andok’s signature cardboard packaging with the witty tagline #BakaNaman. It can look pretty underwhelming at first in the tiny tightly wrapped foil, but once you open it, the delicious aroma hits you fast.
B: The packaging was kept simple. It's just wrapped in foil and then placed inside a cardboard box with two small containers of vinegar sauce.
C: Each order contains about 450g of meat and two small containers of spicy vinegar. If you’re eating it without any other dishes, I’d say it’s good for 3 pax.
S: With three of us digging in, we were all already pretty satisfied with our portions. The meat is cut in thin slices with a good mix of litid and fat, though there are bigger pieces as well. One of my cousins suggested that it was a good pulutan dish, and I can honestly see people ordering this for a drinking session!
B: The portion size was really satisfying. We're four in the household and everybody said they had a filling lunch. It's good for quick catch-ups with a few of your family and friends.
Flavor, Taste, Texture, and Doneness
C: The taste has that signature Andok's taste. It has that smoky, umami flavor that’s not too salty and overpowering. It was cooked perfectly, too—not too dry and not too rare. Since the beef contained fat, it almost had a greasy texture that felt a little different in the mouth. According to my dad, it’s not like your usual lechon baka, but it's flavorful enough. Personally, I do not like the vinegar that came with it. I was supposed to make gravy but didn’t have much time, so I just used regular lechon sauce instead.
S: Right off the bat, you’re hit with this wafting-rich beef smell. It’s definitely reminiscent of smoky roasted meat sizzling on the grill! I didn’t like the red-hot spicy vinegar sauce all that much, I feel like it combatted the taste of the already savory beef. To each his own, but I preferred the Litson without any dip. I tried it with bread first, then the classic rice combo. It’s savory without being too salty; tender without being too chewy. It tastes great with some warm rice, and will definitely be a crowd favorite when family gatherings return.
B: I absolutely loved its smoky hints. It's also not too salty for my taste. I'm not a huge fan of thin-sliced beef, but I can say it's what prevents this dish from getting overwhelming. It felt a little bit dry in my mouth and as a steak-obsessed person, it's a deal-breaker. It tasted juicy when I dipped it in vinegar sauce, though.
C: An order of this is P320. For me, that’s already reasonable, given the beef has quality and it almost tastes like fancy roast beef.
S: P320 for 450 grams of meat? It isn’t half bad considering you know that Andok’s knows their meat after 36 years of being a staple business. The only problem would be the additional charges you’d have to pay to Grab or pasabuys to get your hands on the coveted Litson Baka.
B: It's priced just right. With its smoky taste and serving size that can be enough for a small family, it's true you get what you pay for.
C: I'd give it a 3.5 out of 5 stars. This is a good option if you want to serve something special to your guests. I’d definitely buy again and try eating it in other ways: a la KBBQ, with mushroom and gravy, and as a sandwich.
S: I’d give it a 4 out of 5 stars. The hype is real, but Andok’s lives up to it by providing a dish that fits right for the Filipinos’ taste buds.
B: I'd give it a 3 out of 5 stars. I'd eat it again when I see it on the dining table but I wouldn't exactly go out of my way for it.
Photographs from the authors