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MMmmm… Tapsilog-a-licious!

January 4, 2010

One of the many lasting effects of having grown up in the Philippines is an unwavering love for Filipino food: adobo, sinigang, pancit (in all its glorious varieties), lechon, ensaymada, turon, bistek tagalog, salpicado, tinola, kilawin… oh, I could go on forever. Pinoy food is generally either sweet or salty and generally speaking, not the healthiest. Their affinity for all things pork-related, deep-fried and fat-rimmed belies the fact that most Filipinos are frustratingly on the small side. I, on the other hand, am not quite as genetically pre-disposed to warding off the pounds. Fortunately, my favourite Filipino dishes are not those that are deep-fried and ensconced in fat. I love their breakfasts. I love the fact that if you combine the name of a meat dish of your choice with garlic rice and a fried egg, you end up with the name of a dish. Take tapsilog, for example; TA comes from tapa (cured beef), SI comes from sinangag (garlic rice), and LOG comes from itlog (egg). If you’d prefer to have adobo (chicken or pork stewed in soy sauce, white vinegar, garlic, black pepper and bay leaf), bangus (milkfish) or tocino (a sweet, reddish cured pork dish), then you order adosilog, bangsilog or tosilog. Ingenious. These dishes are served everywhere in the Philippines from roadside street vendors to five-star hotels.

This was my very first try at making tapa. I think the next ‘x+si+log’ I’ll attempt will probably be tosilog or bisteksilog (Filipino beef steak dish with lots of onion, soy sauce and calamansi/lime juice). Mmm… decisions, delicious decisions!



500g of beef (cut into long strips)

8 cloves of garlic (smashed)

2 T of dark soy sauce (kikkoman is fine)

1.5 T of white vinegar

1/2 T of sugar

2 T of salt

1 T of cracked black pepper


1. Place all the ingredients in a ziplock bag, mix well and seal (remove as much air as possible).

2. Refrigerate for 24-48 hours.

3. Gently fry the beef in a pan with vegetable oil.

4. That’s seriously all there is to it… enjoy!

*Serve the tapa with sinangag (gently fry loads of chopped garlic in butter and then add the rice – which should be day-old rice, as with any fried rice dish), a fried egg and some white vinegar, soy and fresh chilli on the side.

*The tapa can be frozen in the marinade, but just remember to freeze it in portions!


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