Food Hack: Pepper Lunch’s Beef Pepper Rice

Words: Mikka Wee/Photography: Mylene Chung/Styling and Recipe Development: Katherine Jao/August 30, 2012


They say that the secret to Pepper Lunch is that half-melted, mustard-colored butter they casually dump right on top of your rice.

But guess what? It isn’t.

Well, we took a crack at hacking Pepper Lunch’s famous Beef Pepper Rice while using regular grocery butter. And ta-da, it doesn’t make a difference (at least in taste). We’re proud to say that our version is even better than the real thing.

So if it’s not the butter, what made it special then? For this recipe, we got the taste almost exactly the same. What really made this go boom was that we we used good quality, well-prepared beef. In fact, the recipe is ridiculously simple; and precisely because of the simplicity, the quality of the beef gets a bigger role. Think of what happens to Ironman if you suddenly replace Robert Downey Jr. with Robert Pattinson. That’s how screwed up this dish is gonna be without the rightful hero—good beef.

One does not simply stake their reputation on a sizzling plate of beef. But for this one, we will. Besides having it better and bigger, you won’t have to smell like a lunchtime promo after you’ve had your mid-day fix.

Lastly, the reason why we’re really excited to announce this post is that we’ll finally have something to reply to those confuddled tweeps who keep on tagging us mistakenly as Pepper Lunch. Every few days or so, we get something to the effect of, “Sarap ng beef pepper rice. Busog na busog ako! @pepperph.” Instead of slapping them for their ignorance, we can now point them to this recipe instead.

Pepper Lunch’s Beef Pepper Rice

Yield: 2 servings

Ingredients: Beef Pepper Rice

  • 400g short plate cut beef (thinly sliced)
  • 3 cups cooked japanese rice
  • 1/4 cup canned corn
  • 1/2 tsp freshly crushed pepper
  • 2 tsp cooking oil
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp spring onions, chopped

Ingredients: Honey Sauce

  • 1 tbsp cooking oil
  • 2 tbsp onion, chopped
  • 1 tsp garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 tbsp kikkoman
  • 1/8 tsp iodized salt
  • 1 tsp cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup water

Ingredients: Garlic Soy Sauce

  • 1/4 cup kikkoman
  • 1/4 cup regular soy sauce
  • 4 large cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup water

Procedure: Honey Sauce

  1. Mix together all ingredients in a sauce pan and boil for 3-5 minutes or until garlic and onions are soft.
  2. Puree in blender and transfer to sauce bottles.

Procedure: Garlic Soy Sauce

  1. Mix the 2 soy sauce together in a sauce pan.
  2. Marinate raw garlic in the soy sauce for 30 minutes.
  3. Add in the rest of the ingredients and bring to a boil for one minute.
  4. Turn off fire immediately.
  5. Puree in blender and transfer to sauce bottles.


  1. Make sure that the beef is completely thawed.
  2. Heat cast iron skillet on high flame until it smokes.
  3. Put half of the steamed rice (while still hot) in the middle.
  4. Turn off fire.
  5. While skillet is still on the stove, turn off fire and scatter beef around the rice.
  6. Top with 1 tbsp of salted butter (this will instantly melt into the rice).
  7. Top with half the corn, half the pepper and half the spring onions. Serve immediately with the two sauces on the side.
  8. Repeat the same procedure for the second serving.



Mikka Wee

Managing Editor

Mikka Wee’s goal is to travel the world with a backpack stuffed with her books and not much of an itinerary. With an appetite thrice the size of her 5-foot frame, waffles are the one thing that makes her weak in the knees. She also likes to torture herself with sci-fi movie marathons until her brain turns into goop. Her list of not-so-secret culinary crushes includes David Chang, Ivan Orkin, Rene Redzepi, and Anthony Bourdain. Alexander Supertramp is her hero. See More.

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  • Anne

    You had me all drooling just in time for lunch!!!

    • Mikka Wee

      Can’t wait for you to try it, Anne! It’ll definitely hit the spot. 😉


    The marbling on the beef is gorgeous! – Ray

    • Mikka Wee

      That is actually the secret… A good balance between the lean meat, and the delicious slivers of fat!

  • Rica

    i love beef pepper rice! im excited to try this 😀

    • Mikka Wee

      Go for it, Rica! 🙂

  • …need a skillet. heheheh! 2 servings for me. 😀

    • Mikka Wee

      Ohohohohoho. You’d want more than 2 servings, Egay! Hahaha!

  • KM

    Awesome! Can’t wait to try this!

    • Mikka Wee

      Yayyy! Let us know when you do, KM! 🙂

  • christine

    i love you. i shall steal this recipe. thank you!

  • kitkat

    Wooohoooo ! Thank you,! Thy palate is already salivating from this gorgeous picture — Got all the ingredients (except beef-SM here I go), gonna try this now!!! Can’t wait for it. My mom n bro are also in for it!!! hehehe 🙂

    • Let us know how it goes! Hahahaha! We’re seriously interested!

      • kitkat

        Great! Great! Awesome!!! We added butter mixed with finely chopped garlic on top before mix then eat! and we ate this again this evening!!! 😉 SARAP!!!

        • LOLOLOL you sure sound satisfied. But seriously, bias aside, I could eat this everyday as well. 😀

          • kitkat

            Satisfied to the last bite! Thanks! 🙂

  • You have a very eye pleasing website here! Lovely!

  • You guys are geniuses! I knew somehow, somewhere, someone was going to do this…it was only a matter of time! Looks like your version is the winner 🙂 Can’t wait to try this!!

    • LOLOL please try it and share with us your findings! Thanks for always hanging out here! 😀

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  • Hi, I’m not sure if I got to post this as a comment, but just wanna ask where you can buy the short plate beef? Went to SM, Rustan’s Rockwell and Unimart and they all don’t have it.

    • Hi Kat! For this shoot, we got it from Unimart. It’s usually not available on display and most local butchers don’t know what it is, so it might be a struggle looking for it esp since popular butchers like Monterey usually don’t have it. In Unimart, we got it from the last butcher shop near the end and specifically asked them to customize the cuts for us. 🙂 I also saw Robinson’s Magnolia’s grocery sell these stuff.

      The short plate cut is cheap, fatty and packed with flavor that’s why it’s the same cut of beef they use for those buffets that serve unlimited beef like Tong Yang, Sambokojin, etc.

    • Hi Kat! To make it easier for you, go directly to Unimart’s own meat section and ask short plate aka beef belly and just ask them to slice some for you. 🙂

    • Got mine from Cash n’ Carry– which is a part of the Unimart-Makati Supermarket chain. Can you hack the Makati Supermarket Spaghetti??? <– ADHD lang.

  • Noob question, but what’s short plate beef in Filipino? Thanks guys!

    • Hi Dustin! it’s basically the cow’s belly. 🙂 Beef version of liempo.

  • *happy tears*

  • will definitely try this soon!! 🙂

  • Hi! This is really great! Will try to make this one next week 🙂 By any chance, do you know how to turn this into curry beef pepper rice?

  • Ann

    This looks great! I’m so glad I bumped into your site. Your recipes look so good and easy to make. I will try one each week.

  • try gyu gohan in 168 mall binondo.. it tastes really good. this restaurant is the first test project of the yakiniku tajimaya group. cheers!

  • Myeee! Mikka Wee! Thanks for this post! My boyfriend is in love with Pepper Lunch and it frustrates him so much that they don’t have a branch in Cebu. At least now this will satisfy his cravings until our next trip to Manila 🙂 Will definitely give this a shot this weekend! 😀

  • Daniela

    Food porn… <3

  • debimanjoo

    I’m so excited to try this one out!!!!

  • Billiam

    Outstanding!! Recently have been using avocado oil in place of olive oil…or butter. Also, had the guy take slices off rib eye roast. Not the same, but mighty tasty. Bella Vado or davo are the oils.

  • Pam

    i dont have a cast iron skillet. any suggestions for its substitute?

  • I am soooo happy that works on my server again! Boo Sky Broadband! I’ve missed reading the recipe hacks, and I’m pleased that this is the first page I’ve loaded since…September? Lol. Can’t wait to try this! Keep the hacks coming!

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  • Jc

    Hey where to buy cast iron skillet? or anything I can use as substitute? thanks!

    • Katherine Jao

      You can use a sizzling plate. Or buy cast iron from Landmark/ Gourdo’s/ Unimart.

  • brandon

    just made this for myself and it was soo good! thanks for this. id also recommend to throw in sauteed onion, garlic, and an egg to make a nice fried rice!

  • hahaha

    i follow every step and ingredient from the recipe. but why my honey sauce worst (very far from the original). can you make the tips to make more easy to make honey sauce pepper lunch? sorry for my bad english and thanks.

  • Raspberry

    Isn’t really exact but it’s really good! The beef is really the key. For the butter on top of the rice, I softened some butter and mixed in like a teaspoon of pepper, it tastes better that way 🙂 and the color somehow turned out as the same color of pepper lunch’s special butter

  • Katie

    When you say “regular” soy sauce, as opposed to Kikkoman, what do you mean? In my house, they’re the same thing :S

    • Lars Roxas

      any normal local brands, silver swan or datu puti or whatever. 🙂

  • jenin

    Please food hack the curry beef with cheese version. Pleeeeease.

  • ishy

    what butter did you use?

    • Katherine Jao

      We used Anchor butter in this recipe.

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  • John

    Hi, can’t I just use a sukiyaki cut beef in place of the short plate since it’s easier to find in the market?

    • Katherine Jao

      Yes you can.

  • John

    Hi, can’t I just use a sukiyaki cut beef in place of the short plate since it’s easier to find in the market?

  • Ellie

    We cooked this last night. It was a success. My kids said it tasted like the real thing. We were so full. My kids brought some for their baon today. Good job, PepperPH!

    • Ellie

      I cooked this on a sizzling plate because we didn’t have a cast iron skillet and it worked fine. c”,)

    • Mr. Ming

      I bought the skillet and I can say ” Almost Perfect ” because I still can’t get the source right…

  • Artsy8

    Awesome! I got my beef at a Korean store in Cartimar and it was perfect!

  • jem

    Tasted almost the same. 🙂 Can you hack their yakiniku? 🙂

  • ErnieA

    My wife made this the other night. It was delicious!

  • Lou Albert Laurel

    Cooked this for our anniversary. I had a hard time looking for the beef but it was worth it, my wife loved the dish. I also made a couple of recipes(apple pie french toast and breakfast wrap) that was posted here and she loved it also. Thanks to everyone behind More power to all of you!

  • MRFancyPantzz

    not even close to the original. sucks.

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  • Pandatralala

    Thanks Pepperph! We so love Pepper Lunch, and this was awesome. Made it without the beef (was after the pepper rice itself), mixed the sauces with the butter, pepper, corn and rice on a regular pan, and it tasted just the same. 👍
    I added more garlic though to the honey sauce for a stronger taste of garlic.