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Bistec a lo Pobre – Chilean Poor Man’s Steak


Many Chilean food dishes combine several delicious ingredients at once. The classic bistec a lo pobre, which roughly translates as “poor man’s steak,” simply piles on the tasty ingredients.

While the bistec a lo pobre isn’t uniquely Chilean, it is a very popular dish in Chile. You’ll find similar dishes throughout South America.


To make a bistec a lo pobre, you’ll need these ingredients:

thinly cut sirloin steak

thinly sliced onion

french fries (or potatoes to make them)



Vegetable oil for frying

Salt and pepper to taste

How to Make Bistec a lo Pobre

This dish requires that you prepare each of the elements and then combine them together.

First, prepare the french fries. You can cheat and use prepackaged fries if you like. Otherwise, slice up your potatoes and fry them in oil. Once cooked, put them in the oven at about 200 degrees to keep them warm.

Second, sauté the onions until they are carmelized and they turn a clear golden brown. Remove the onions from the heat and keep them warm in the oven too.

Chop up your garlic or use a garlic press and apply the garlic and seasonings to your steak. Cook your steak to your taste. Once done, you can put steaks in the oven to keep them warm.

Fry an egg, sunny side up on the stove top.

Stack the ingredients in a pile on a plate. You can pile them on as you please, but I’ve most often seen the french fries as a base, then the steak and onions, followed with the egg on top.

If you have bistec a lo pobre at five different restaurants or homes in Chile, you’ll likely get five slightly different variations. Nevertheless, each dish will have these three pillars: steak, potato, and egg.

This meal is very hearty and will fill you up. Enjoy!

Picture by Mick Taylor taken at the Club Aleman in Frutillar, Chile

Posted February 6th, 2013 in Food.

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