Here’s a popular Filipino breakfast for you to try! Beef tapa refers to thinly sliced beef that’s marinated, fried, and typically served with Filipino fried rice and fried egg — locally known as tapsilog. See for yourself why it’s such a well-loved dish!
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Beef tapa showcases the major flavors in Filipino cuisine: salty, sweet, and sour. A perfect balance of these three flavors is what you need to aim for when preparing the tapa marinade.
So, do not forget to sample the marinade before adding the garlic — you need to make sure it’s exactly how you want it to taste.
You do not necessarily have to serve beef tapa as part of tapsilog; it’s also excellent with steamed white rice.
But if you want the complete Filipino breakfast experience, you must prepare the rest of the tapsilog components — sinangag and itlog. 🙂
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- Soy sauce – I used dark soy sauce for this Filipino beef tapa recipe.
- Vinegar – you can use either sugar cane or palm vinegar for this tapa marinade.
- Salt & pepper – for additional seasoning.
- Garlic – minced.
- Sugar – regular white sugar is excellent for the tapa marinade; it balances the saltiness from the soy sauce and the sourness from the vinegar.
- Beef – it’s best to use sirloin and slice it into about half an inch wide and no more than 5-inches in length.
- Vegetable oil – you might end up using less than a third of a cup since you are not deep frying the tapa.
Start with the tapa marinade by combining soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, salt, pepper, and garlic (photo 1).
Mix until the sugar has completely dissolved.
Pour the tapa marinade into the slices of beef (photo 2).
Arrange the beef to coat each piece evenly with the marinade, then cover with a tight lid and store in the refrigerator overnight.
Place the marinated beef in a pan and pour some water on it — just enough to surround the meat (photo 3).
Set the heat to medium-high and bring the beef to a boil, turning it to the other side and letting it boil continuously until the liquid dries up (about fifteen minutes).
Pour a bit of oil into the pan (photo 4).
Once the oil is hot, lower the heat to medium and continue frying the beef on both sides until they’re cooked.
Place the tapa on a serving plate and garnish it with some spring onions.
Serve, either with steamed white rice or as tapsilog!
- When preparing the tapa marinade, add the garlic last. Taste it first, make any adjustment (more sugar, more vinegar, etc.), then add the minced garlic.
- If marinating it overnight is not possible, try to let it rest for at least seven hours.
Tapsilog is a combination of three words: TAP (for beef tapa) + SI (for sinangag or fried rice) + LOG (for itlog, meaning ‘egg,’ referring to the fried egg).
It means all these three components are served (typically) on a single plate.
You would need to prepare all the tapsilog components separately and serve them together.
So, one preparation is the beef tapa, then the garlic fried rice, and lastly, the fried egg.
Arrange them all together on a plate, then if you want some fresh vegetables, add some fresh cucumber or tomato slices.
Oh, and don’t forget the dipping sauce! Combine vinegar, fish sauce, and some chilis (if you like it spicy) — and you’re good to go. 🙂
So give tapsilog a try this weekend, and let me know what you think!
How to Make Tapsilog (Beef Tapa Recipe)
For Filipino beef tapa:
- 3 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 1/2 to 2 tbsp vinegar
- 1 tbsp sugar
- dash salt
- 1/8 tsp ground black pepper
- 1 pound beef, sirloin
- 1/3 cup vegetable oil
For the dipping sauce:
- 2 tsp vinegar
- 1 tsp fish sauce (optional)
- fresh chili or chili flakes (optional)
Preparing tapa marinade:
- Combine soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, salt, pepper, and minced garlic.
- Mix until the sugar has dissolved.
- Pour the tapa marinade into the beef slices.
- Arrange the beef to coat each piece evenly with the marinade, then cover with a tight lid and store in the refrigerator overnight.
Cooking Filipino beef tapa:
- Place the marinated beef in a pan and pour some water on it — just enough liquid to surround the meat.
- Set the heat to medium-high and bring the beef to a boil, turning it to the other side and letting it boil continuously until the liquid dries up (generally takes 15 minutes).
- Pour a bit of oil into the pan.
- Once the oil is hot, lower the heat to medium and continue frying the beef tapa on both sides until they're cooked.
- Place them on a serving plate and garnish with some spring onions, if desired.
- Cook Filipino fried rice (sinangag) and fried egg separately.
- Place a small amount of fried rice on a plate.
- Add pieces of beef tapa and fried egg next to the rice.
- Add some fresh cucumber or tomato slices as well, if desired.
- For the dipping sauce: combine vinegar, fish sauce, and some fresh chilis (or chili flakes) in a small bowl.
- Enjoy your tapsilog!
- Cook’s Tip #1: When preparing the tapa marinade, add the garlic last. Taste it first, make any adjustment (more sugar, more vinegar, etc.), then add the minced garlic.
- Cook’s Tip #2: If marinating it overnight is not possible, try to let it rest for at least seven hours instead.