Filipino Beef Tapa Tapsilog

Tapsilog is a popular breakfast dish consisting of Filipino beef tapa, fried egg, and garlic fried rice.

Filipino Beef Tapa Tapsilog

What is tapsilog?

Tapsilog is a condensation of the words “tapa, sinangag at itlog” (tap-si-log) which translates to beef tapa, garlic fried rice, and egg.

This dish often enjoyed with a generous portion of sinangag (garlic fried rice). It is served alongside fresh tomatoes, cucumber slices, and a spicy vinegar dipping sauce.

Collectively, tapislog is a harmonious combination of sweet, sour, salty, and umami.

Filipino Beef Tapa Marinade

How to cook Filipino beef tapa

Traditionally, tapa was a means to extend the shelf life of meats (and other proteins like chicken and fish). The meat was cured or dried with salt and various spices similar to beef jerky.

Nowadays, beef tapa is simply marinated and cooked (either grilled, sautéed, or fried).

The marinate mixture consists of: soy sauce for saltiness, calamansi juice for a punch of sour, sugar for sweetness, and garlic for warmth.

When using beef, it’s best to slice against the grain. (The grain refers to the muscle fibers.) This is will result in easier to chew, more tender pieces. (Here’s why you slice meat against the grain.)

Filipino Beef Tapa

How to serve beef tapa

This dish is all about balance. The contrasting flavors and textures work together to keep your palate wanting more.

The richness of the beef, fried egg, and garlic rice is leveled with fresh tomatoes and crisp cucumbers. A sprinkling of fried garlic chips adds crunch and a punch of umami.

To round everything out, a spicy vinegar dipping sauce (made by soaking fresh Thai chili in white vinegar), cuts through all the fat and savoriness.

While tapislog is most popular for breakfast, it can really be enjoyed for any meal. Even the occasional midnight snack after a night of drinking!

Filipino Beef Tapa "Tapsilog"

Tapsilog is a popular Filipino breakfast dish that consists of beef tapa, fried egg, and garlic fried rice. Serve it alongside fresh tomatoes, cucumber slices, and a spicy vinegar dipping sauce.

Yield: 1 pound beef, serves 4

Author Maryanne Cabrera


Beef Tapa:

  • 1 pound beef sirloin (New York strip, or boneless rib eye), sliced thin against the grain*
  • 1/4 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup calamansi juice
  • 3 Tablespoons brown sugar
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Serve with:

  • garlic fried rice (sinangag)
  • fried egg
  • fresh tomato
  • sliced cucumber


  1. Mix together soy sauce, calamansi juice, brown sugar, minced garlic, and black pepper until sugar has dissolved. Toss in sliced beef. Cover and let marinate in the fridge for at least 4 hours (up to 24 hours).

  2. Strain beef from marinade. Add about one tablespoon of cooking oil (grapeseed oil or vegetable oil) in a large skillet over medium heat. Once oil is hot, cook beef in batches. Cook beef on each side for 2-4 minutes until well browned. 

  3. Serve hot with garlic fried rice and fried egg. 

Recipe Notes

  • Spicy vinegar sauce is made by soaking Thai chili in white vinegar. 
  • If you cannot find fresh calamansi juice, many Asian markets sell frozen calamansi juice packets. 

All images and text ©The Little Epicurean.

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I love this dish. I will definitely make this for breakfast on Cinco De Mayo. Where can I buy calamansi juice?

    Maryanne Cabrera

    Many Asian markets (or specifically Filipino markets) sell fresh, frozen, or concentrated calamansi juice.

Trish | Spoonful Of Butter

Your photos made me crave for Tapsilog, Mary Ann! This is how I make my tapa too, but sometimes I use lemon when I don’t have calamansi on hand.

    Maryanne Cabrera

    Thanks! I always keep some calamansi juice in the freezer for cooking!

Mabel Craig

Can I use lemon instead of calamansi?

    Maryanne Cabrera

    Yes, you can lemon juice instead. However, I would reduce the amount because lemon juice can be bit more acidic.


Can you sub in chicken for beef?

Maricel abalos

Is is safe to frooze marinated beed tapa for 4 days?


Thank you for the recipe! I cooked this for our Sunday brunch and we loved it!

    Maryanne Cabrera

    Thank you for trying the recipe! I’m so glad you enjoyed it!

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