Tapsilog

For those who don’t speak Filipino, tapsilog is a contraction of tapa (quick-fried beef strips), sinangag (fried rice) and itlog (egg). It is a very popular breakfast combination in the Philippines. An anytime of the day breakfast dish, actually.

When I was a student in U.P., there was an eatery that was famous for its tapsilog. Rodic’s. It was almost an institution on campus. It’s been there long before I was a student and, as far as I know, it is still there today.

Most of my friends love Rodic’s tapsilog. They still talk about it fondly with much nostalgia in their voices. I’m afraid I never really shared the sentiment. Although I loved the time that my friends and I shared over meals at Rodic’s and I will probably always talk about those times in a voice oozing with nostalgia, remembering the tapa is another story.

The tapa, fried to a crisp, was crumbled into something that looks like bacon bits (smaller than bacon bits, actually) and sprinkled over the rice. I didn’t like my tapa that way. I still don’t. I like to see the meat and feel the texture in my mouth. Just like in the photo.

Marinated tapa can be bought frozen or chilled in most markets and supermarkets. But I never developed the habit of buyingmarinated tapa. Two reasons: First, there always seems to be too much liquid marinade which interferes with the quick frying. Second, most times, the cut of beef used is not meant for quick cooking. Combine a tough cut of beef with the liquid marinade and the result is tougher than leather tapa on your plate. So, when I want tapa, I choose the meat, I have it cut paper thin across the grain, I marinate the beef slices and then quick fry them in a little oil. And, since a near kitchen disaster that resulted in the best tapa I have ever cooked, I now add onion to my tapa.

If you don’t mind the added flour, you can follow the the best tapa I have ever cooked recipe. But the added flour does absorb oil. If you want minimal oil in your tapa, try this recipe.

Ingredients

  • 400 g. of beef (I recommend rib-eye, top round or bottom round, sliced paper thin)
    1 tsp. of salt
    1/2 tsp. of ground black pepper
    1 tbsp. of oyster sauce
    1 tbsp. of light soy sauce
    1/2 tsp. of sugar
    1/2 tsp. of finely grated garlic
    1 onion, thinly sliced
    2 tbsps. of cooking oil
    3 c. of fried rice
    3 eggs, fried sunny side up
    toasted garlic bits, to garnish (optional)

Instructions

  1. Mix the first seven ingredients in a bowl.

    Heat the cooking oil in a non-stick frying pan. When the oil is smoking, dump the marinated beef, spreading the slices over the entire bottom of the pan for even cooking. Leave to cook and develop some texture, about a minute, before stirring. Add the onion slices, stir, cook for another 30 seconds and turn off the heat.

    Divide the cooked tapa among individual plates. Serve with fried rice and egg.

Cooking time (duration): 10 minutes

Number of servings (yield): 3

Meal type: lunch