Papa Tejada’s Tapsilog

Today is a special day, everyone. It’s Papa Tejada’s birthday! In honor of our dad’s birthday, we’re sharing you (with his permission) his Tapsilog recipe.

Before we dive into the recipe, here’s a little Filipino cuisine lesson for a true Tejada favorite that I will probably not render as well as my dad. Tapsilog belongs to a class of Filipino dishes called Silog. Silog is an abbreviation of the words sinangang (fried rice) and itlog (egg). In this class, there are different dishes named after the meat accompanying the Silog. For example, Tapsilog is tapa (dried or cured beef), fried rice, and a fried egg. There is also Tosilog (sweetened cured beef), Bangsilog (bangus), Spamsilog (spam), Hotsilog (hot dog), and much more.

Originally, Silog dishes were made to be a quick breakfast fare. Today, you can order them in the morning at fast food places like Jollibee or have it for dinner like us Tejadas do.

What makes a good Tapsilog is of course the tapa. There are a lot of versions of marinades out there, but the one I am about to share with you might be the only one you need to know. I must say, however, I do have a few notes on making the perfect marinade for your tapa.

First, the soy sauce. In the photo above, you can see that my marinade is a lighter brownish red color. This is because I used Kikkoman, a lighter brown soy sauce. If you want a stronger marinade, look for a darker soy sauce brand like Silver Swan, which is usually Papa Tejada’s choice and overall a Filipino favorite.

Second, the sweetness. In this particular recipe, we are using sweet chili sauce; however, if you do not have this on hand, you may use brown sugar. But if you enjoy that sweet-heat combination like myself, I highly recommend using sweet chili sauce and furthering that flavor with some chopped red chilis. Of course, if you want to keep your tapa savory, you can use less sweet chili sauce or brown sugar. Additionally, I would not recommend taking this completely out of your tapa.

Third, white pepper. There is actually no real crazy reason as to why I am using this instead of black pepper. I just enjoy it more than black pepper. So don’t fret if you don’t have any white pepper on hand! Freshly ground black pepper will do just fine.

Lastly, the measurements I’ve listed below are just guildelines! You can alter this according to your taste buds; however, I do encourage you to go by this recipe first as a starting point. Heck, you may not even want to change this at all 😉 Whatever you do, good luck and have fun making this delicious Filipino breakfast.

  • 1 lb of sliced beef tenderloin, ribeye or sirloin
  • 3 tbsp of soy sauce
  • 1/2 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 4 tbsp of sweet chili sauce
  • 1/4 tsp of white pepper (black is okay)
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1-2 tbsp of cooking oil
  • Optional: Chopped red chilis or red pepper flakes
  1. Prepare the beef by slicing 1/4″ thick strips and place in an air tight container.
  2. In a bowl, prepare the marinade by mixing the soy sauce, oyster sauce, sweet chili sauce, white pepper, garlic, and chilis.
  3. Once the marinade is combined, pour the mixture over the sliced beef and cover. Let this sit overnight or at least 3 hours in the refrigerator.
  4. To cook, heat up 1-2 tablespoons of cooking oil in a frying pan on medium heat. Evenly lay out the beef slices in the pan and cook for about 3-5 minutes or until well-browned. This may take 3-5 minutes depending on the thickness of your meat. Be careful not to overcook.
  5. Serve with…
    1. Sinangang – garlic fried rice
    2. Itlog – fried egg
    3. Freshly diced tomatoes
    4. Sliced cucumbers
    5. Vinegar with crushed black pepper and minced garlic (highly recommend Datu Puti)

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