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Superb Soups

Bulalo Soup (Beef Shank, Bone Marrow and Vegetables)



This bulalo recipe was originally published in December 19, 2003. I am updating it because during our recent visit to Mahogany meat market in Tagaytay City, as I watched the butcher chop the whole beef shank that I had chosen, I realized that the secret to prevent the bone marrow from falling and liquefying in the broth was so obvious, and I wondered why I didn’t think of it before.

Bulalo Soup (Beef Shank, Bone Marrow and Vegetables) |

Bulalo can mean any of three things: 1) the marrow in the bone of the beef shank; 2) the cut of the beef, i.e., bone-in beef shank; or 3) the soup itself which consists of the bone-in beef shank and vegetables. The soup is a simple dish to prepare, really; but the flavorful broth and the texture of the meat makes it a treat.

In classy restaurants, bulalo commands a high price. In the province of Batangas where selling beef and beef by-products is a major means of livelihood, roads are lined with restaurants and small eateries with bulalo as a specialty. In Makati City, there is a small eatery called Soseng’s–a sidewalk affair actually–where one finds yuppies and businessmen having a lunch of hot bulalo. Street parking is a common problem. There was one time when we had to park two streets away and wait for a vacant table for several minutes. That is how popular bulalo is among the Filipinos.

Bulalo (beef, bone marrow and vegetable soup)

Bulalo (beef, bone marrow and vegetable soup)

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Course: Soup
Cuisine: Filipino
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 15 minutes
Servings: 2 to 3
Author: Connie Veneracion


  • 1 kilogram bulalo (bone-in beef shank)
  • 1 whole onion
  • 1 whole garlic
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 6 to 8 peppercorns
  • patis (fish sauce)
  • 1/2 head of white cabbage
  • 250 grams potatoes
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  • Place the beef shanks in a large casserole. Cover with water. Set over high heat and bring to a boil, removing scum as it rises.
  • Add the whole onion, garlic (pierced in several places with a sharp pointed knife), bay leaf and peppercorns. Season with patis. Lower the heat, cover and simmer for two hours (longer, for a more flavorful broth) or until the beef is fork-tender. Alternatively, pressure-cook for one hour and 30 minutes.
  • Using a slotted spoon, carefully remove the beef shanks and transfer to a tureen or serving bowl. Strain the broth. Reheat to boiling point.
  • Peel the potatoes and cut into chunks. Core the cabbage and cut in half. Add the potatoes and cabbage leaves and simmer for another 8-10 minutes.
  • Bulalo (beef, bone marrow and vegetable soup)
  • Scoop the vegetables out and arrange around the bulalo. Pour in hot broth and serve at once.
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