The search through Grab Food amounted to nothing. Yes, there are Andok’s stores in our area in Marikina but none of them lists the hot new offering on the menu. So I looked for an Andok’s number online and was pleasantly surprised to find one (have you ever noticed a phone in an Andok’s outlet?). I was even more surprised a voice answered, a pleasant one at that.
I told the voice that I was looking for a branch where I can order the litson baka because Grab doesn’t seem to be helping. She said she understands—some branches hide the item on their menu because there are just not enough of it to go around just yet. She left our convo for a minute and came back with news: it’s available in one branch but I have to be the one to pick it up. I can book a Grab Pabili but there might not be any stock left by the time the driver gets to the outlet in Shoe Avenue.
And so I had to postpone my Andok’s litson baka moment for the next day. Meanwhile, people on my Facebook feed have either been posting how good it is, or pining for the moment they get to taste it. Bernice Tenchavez, who runs the Refinery in Salcedo, posted a photo of her order saying its “life-changing,” which just got me “budold” all the more. “Tastes like fresh off the grill smoky beef belly. The serving’s good for 2-3 pax. No need for any gravy, or condiments. The meat is packed with flavor, and good on its own.” She followed it with three thumbs up emojis. Now that’s saying a lot.
Meanwhile, my favorite food account on IG, Pepper.ph, has declared its verdict in all caps. “SO GOOD,” it said. “It’s like cheap instant roast beef. You get thin slices of beef that have fat and litid, with really smoky flavors like what you get with their litson manok. They serve it with suka, but honestly, make some gravy, pour it over the beef and it’s like a fancy meal.”
Don’t think I didn’t think of following Pepper.ph’s suggestion but I had no pack of instant gravy on the cupboard, and when my Andok’s litson baka arrived, I was already hungry that all I wanted to do was tear the packaging apart and dive into the thing. My sister who bought it for me said there was a queue of 10 people when she got to the outlet—a queue exclusively meant for the litson baka. Those who wanted litson manok or liempo had a separate counter which didn’t have a line.
Anyway, the beef came in a nice little waxed cardboard handcarry that was easy to open. The meat was wrapped in foil and smelled like how good barbecued meat should smell. Bernice and Pepper.ph were totally on point with their reviews. It was delicious—a real treat for its price which is P320. It had that smoky flavor and that first bite really makes you think of Andok’s litson—but that taste doesn’t overpower the beef. I bet it also has Knorr Seasoning because the scent of it was still on my fingers hours after I cleaned my plate.
The meat was chewy and tender, with just the right amount of sweet, slightly charred fat that makes the whole thing taste sinful (which it is. My doctor just advised me to lay off beef the day before because of my high uric acid). Is it this year’s sushi bake? I doubt it. This is big. Andok’s, that 36-year old homegrown brand that’s been so much a part of Filipino home dining, has found gold in this one. It’s very Pinoy. It’s perfect with rice, and I imagine perfect as pulutan. I also predict it will be everyone’s next potluck go-to come holiday season.
Will it be easier for me to order it the next time? Baka naman.
[Follow @pusongandoks on Instagram to find out which Andok’s branches sell the Litson Baka.]