Homemade Filipino Beef Tapa (Tapsilog)

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Imagine waking up to the mouthwatering aroma of tender, juicy beef marinated in a delightful blend of soy sauce, calamansi juice, and garlic, then perfectly grilled to a smoky, caramelized finish. That, my friends, is the magic of Filipino Beef Tapa, or as it’s fondly known, Tapsilog. This scrumptious dish is a beloved Filipino favorite, often served for breakfast, yet perfect for any mealtime. Not only does it offer a symphony of flavors that dance on your taste buds, but it also delivers an exciting culinary experience that will leave you craving for more. So why not let your taste buds take a trip to the Philippines and indulge in this tasty creation?

As a bonus, this dish is surprisingly simple to make! All you need is a few ingredients, some patience for marinating, and a hot grill or pan. Whether you’re a beginner in the kitchen or a seasoned home chef, this Filipino Beef Tapa recipe is a surefire way to impress your family and friends. So what are you waiting for? Jump in and let’s embark on a culinary adventure that’s bound to make your taste buds sing!

Yield & Servings

4 servings


1 pound beef sirloin, thinly sliced
¼ cup soy sauce
¼ cup calamansi or lemon juice
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon minced garlic
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
½ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
4 cups cooked jasmine rice
4 fried eggs
¼ cup sliced green onions (optional)
¼ cup chopped tomatoes (optional)

Notable Equipment & Tools

Mixing bowl
Resealable plastic bag or airtight container
Frying pan or skillet

Step-by-step Instructions

Step 1: Gather and Prep Your Ingredients

All ingredients ready? Let’s begin!

Step 2: Create Flavorful Marinade

In a mixing bowl, combine soy sauce, calamansi or lemon juice, brown sugar, minced garlic, ground black pepper, and salt. Stir until the sugar is dissolved.

Step 3: Marinate Thinly Sliced Beef Sirloin

Add the thinly sliced beef sirloin to the marinade, making sure each piece is well-coated.

Step 4: Seal and Chill Beef for Marination

Transfer the beef and marinade to a resealable plastic bag or airtight container. Marinate the beef in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours or overnight for best results.

Step 5: Heat Oil in Pan for Cooking

When ready to cook, heat 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil in a frying pan or skillet over medium-high heat. Remove the beef from the marinade, allowing excess liquid to drip off. Reserve the marinade for later use.

Step 6: Fry Beef Slices to Desired Doneness

Fry the beef slices in the hot oil for 2-3 minutes per side or until cooked to your desired level of doneness. Cook in batches if necessary to avoid overcrowding the pan.

Step 7: Simmer and Thicken Reserved Marinade

Once all the beef is cooked, pour the reserved marinade into the pan and bring to a simmer. Cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the sauce thickens slightly.

Step 8: Serve and Enjoy your Homemade Filipino Beef Tapa (Tapsilog)

Serve the beef tapa over cooked jasmine rice, topped with a fried egg. Drizzle some of the sauce from the pan over the top. Garnish with sliced green onions and chopped tomatoes, if desired. Enjoy your delicious Filipino Tapsilog!

Substitutions & Alternatives

Fear not, intrepid home chefs! We understand that you may not have all the ingredients in your pantry, but we’ve got you covered with some clever substitutions and alternatives that’ll keep your Filipino Tapsilog tasting top-notch.

1. Beef Alternatives: While beef sirloin is the star of the show, you can easily swap it for other cuts of beef, such as flank steak or skirt steak. If you’re not a fan of beef, feel free to replace it with thinly sliced pork, chicken, or even tofu for a vegetarian spin on this classic dish.

2. Soy Sauce Swaps: If you’re watching your sodium intake or simply ran out of soy sauce, you can use tamari, coconut aminos, or liquid aminos as a substitute. These alternatives still pack a flavorful punch that’ll keep your marinade singing with taste.

3. Calamansi or Lemon Juice: Calamansi is a small, tart citrus fruit native to the Philippines and adds a zesty zing to this dish. If you can’t get your hands on calamansi, don’t fret! Lemon juice is a great substitute that will still give you that tangy kick. You can even use lime juice if you’re feeling adventurous!

4. Brown Sugar Alternatives: If you don’t have brown sugar, white sugar, honey, or maple syrup can step in as a sweet substitute. Remember, adjustments may be needed depending on the sweetness levels of your alternative, so taste as you go.

5. Oil Options: Vegetable oil is a common choice, but if you’d like to try something different or ran out of your trusty bottle, you can use canola, peanut, or even olive oil in a pinch. Just make sure it has a high smoke point to avoid any kitchen disasters.

6. Jasmine Rice: Though jasmine rice adds a delightful fragrant touch to this dish, other types of rice (such as basmati or long-grain white rice) can be swapped in without compromising the deliciousness of your Tapsilog. If you’re aiming for a healthier option, consider trying brown rice or quinoa.

There you have it, folks! With these substitutions and alternatives in your culinary arsenal, you’ll be able to whip up a scrumptious Filipino Tapsilog no matter what your pantry has in store. So go forth and conquer the kitchen with confidence, and enjoy your delicious, customized creation!

Storage & Reheating

The great thing about this scrumptious Filipino Tapsilog is not only the explosion of flavors but also how easy it is to store and reheat for future indulgence. Say goodbye to boring leftovers—this dish will have you looking forward to round two!

To store your beef tapa masterpiece, simply transfer any uneaten portions to an airtight container. If you’re feeling particularly organized and efficient, you can even separate individual servings into smaller containers for quick grab-and-go meals. The beef tapa can be safely stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. As for the cooked jasmine rice, it can also be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days, but make sure to let the rice cool down before sealing the lid.

Reheating this delightful dish is as easy as pie—well, easier, actually! When you’re ready to enjoy your Tapsilog encore, simply heat a frying pan or skillet over medium heat. Add a dash of vegetable oil and gently re-fry the beef tapa for 1-2 minutes per side, or until it’s heated through and sizzling. If you’ve saved some of the sauce, now’s the time to drizzle it over the tapa and let it work its magic. For the rice, you can either microwave it for 1-2 minutes or steam it for a few minutes until it’s nice and fluffy again.

As for the fried egg, it’s best to whip up a fresh one when you’re ready to devour your reheated Tapsilog. After all, a perfectly cooked egg is the crowning glory of this dish, and you deserve nothing less than the royal treatment! So go on, enjoy your deliciously reheated Filipino Tapsilog, and rest assured that saving and savoring leftovers has never been so satisfying!

Serving Ideas

  • Breakfast of Champions: Start your day with a mouthwatering Filipino Tapsilog! This hearty dish is traditionally enjoyed for breakfast in the Philippines, but who’s to stop you from savoring it at any time of the day? Pair it with a cup of strong coffee or an ice-cold glass of orange juice for a true morning delight.
  • Tapa Lettuce Wraps: Craving something lighter? Swap out the rice for lettuce leaves to make delicious Tapa Lettuce Wraps. Simply place a slice of beef tapa, a spoonful of sauce, and a dash of green onions and tomatoes in a lettuce leaf, and you’ve got yourself a refreshing and low-carb meal option.
  • Tapsilog Sliders: How about a fun and unique take on traditional sliders? Simply layer the cooked beef tapa between soft slider buns, topped with a fried quail egg and a dollop of sauce. Sprinkle some green onions and tomatoes for added flavor and color. These Tapsilog Sliders are perfect for game day, picnics, or any gathering with friends and family.
  • Tapa Salad Bowl: For those looking to incorporate more greens into their meal, serve the beef tapa on a bed of mixed salad greens, drizzled with the sauce. Add some sliced cucumbers, red onions, and cherry tomatoes for a burst of freshness. This Tapa Salad Bowl is a scrumptious way to enjoy your protein and veggies in one dish!
  • Tapa-Stuffed Omelette: If you’re feeling extra adventurous, try mixing the cooked beef tapa into a fluffy omelette. Simply whisk together some eggs, pour them into a hot, oiled skillet, and sprinkle the tapa, green onions, and tomatoes on top. Fold the omelette in half and cook until the eggs are set. This Tapa-Stuffed Omelette is sure to become your new go-to brunch favorite!
  • No matter how you choose to serve your Filipino Tapsilog, one thing’s for sure: you’re in for a tasty treat that is sure to become a staple in your culinary repertoire. So, don your apron, channel your inner chef, and get ready to embark on a flavorful journey to the Philippines!

Variations & Customization

This beef tapa recipe is already a delightful dish, but if you’d like to cater to various dietary preferences, we’ve got you covered! Here are some easy customization options to make this dish suitable for everyone at your table.

Vegan: For a plant-based alternative, skip the sirloin and eggs, and replace them with your choice of protein, like tofu or tempeh! Marinate your plant-based protein in the same flavorful sauce, and cook it to perfection. Top your vegan-friendly tapa with some sautéed mushrooms or avocado for additional flavor and texture.

Gluten-free: This recipe can easily be made gluten-free by simply swapping out the soy sauce for a gluten-free tamari sauce. Your taste buds won’t even notice the difference!

GAPS/AIP: The Autoimmune Protocol (AIP) and Gut and Psychology Syndrome (GAPS) diets require some specific ingredient substitutions. Instead of soy sauce, use coconut aminos, which have a soy sauce-like flavor without the soy. Replace the vegetable oil with coconut oil, and use cauliflower rice instead of jasmine rice. Also, skip the tomatoes and green onions for AIP, but feel free to add them for GAPS.

Keto: For our low-carb, keto-loving friends, simply replace the jasmine rice with cauliflower rice. You can also opt for a sugar substitute, like erythritol or stevia, instead of brown sugar in the marinade. Enjoy your beef tapa with these keto-friendly swaps without the guilt.

If you’re feeling adventurous or would like to add a twist to the traditional Filipino Tapsilog, here are some ideas:

  • Spice it up with some sliced chili peppers or a dash of hot sauce in the marinade.
  • Add in some thinly sliced onions or bell peppers to the pan when frying the beef for a tasty veggie boost.
  • Try using other citrus juices like lime or orange juice in the marinade for a different zesty kick.
  • Serve the beef tapa with a side of pickled vegetables, like papaya or cucumber, for a tangy contrast.

With these variations and customization options, you can create a beef tapa dish that’s perfect for anyone’s taste buds or dietary preferences. So roll up your sleeves, experiment with these options, and enjoy a delicious Filipino Tapsilog tailored just for you!

Notes & Tips

  • Slice & Dice: To make slicing the beef sirloin easier, try partially freezing it for about 30 minutes before cutting. This will help firm up the meat, making it a breeze to slice evenly and thinly. Remember, the thinner the slices, the quicker they’ll cook!
  • Marination Station: To maximize the flavor of your beef tapa, marinate it overnight in the refrigerator. This will allow the marinade to penetrate the meat more deeply, resulting in a tastier dish. Pro tip: Avoid using metal containers for marination, as the acidity from the calamansi or lemon juice may react with the metal, causing an off taste.
  • No Calamansi? No Problem: While calamansi juice is the traditional choice for this recipe, lemon juice works as a great substitute. You could also experiment with other citrus juices like lime or orange for a unique twist on this Filipino classic.
  • Don’t Skimp on the Sauce: Make sure to reserve the marinade and cook it down into a delicious sauce. It’s the perfect finishing touch to drizzle over your beef tapa and rice, adding an extra layer of flavor.
  • To Fry or Not to Fry: If you want to make this dish a little healthier, you can opt to grill or broil the marinated beef instead of frying it. Just make sure to keep an eye on it, as the thin slices can cook quickly!
  • Egg-cellent Additions: While a fried egg is the traditional choice for topping Tapsilog, feel free to get creative! Try adding a poached or scrambled egg, or even an omelet with some diced veggies for a delicious twist.
  • A Worldly Affair: Tap into your inner globetrotter and explore Filipino cuisine further by pairing your Tapsilog with other traditional dishes like lumpia (spring rolls), pancit (noodles), or sinigang (sour soup). It’s the perfect way to travel the world without leaving your kitchen!
  • Quick Cleanup: To save time on dishes, use the same skillet to fry your eggs as you did for the beef. Just make sure to wipe it clean with a paper towel before frying to avoid any lingering bits of marinade.
  • With these tips and tricks in mind, you’ll be well on your way to creating a delicious and authentic Filipino Tapsilog that’s sure to impress family and friends. Happy cooking and Mabuhay!

Common Mistakes

  • Not marinating long enough: Patience is a virtue, especially when it comes to marinating beef tapa. While marinating for 2 hours might be tempting when you’re in a rush, allowing the beef to marinate overnight will result in more tender and flavorful meat. Trust us, it’s worth the wait!
  • Skipping the calamansi: The distinct flavor of calamansi, a small citrus fruit native to the Philippines, is a key component of authentic Filipino Tapsilog. If you can’t find calamansi, lemon juice is a suitable substitute. However, if you have the opportunity to use calamansi, don’t miss out on the chance to experience this unique flavor profile!
  • Overcrowding the pan: When cooking the beef, be sure to cook in batches if necessary. Overcrowding the pan will lower the temperature and cause the meat to steam instead of sear, resulting in less-than-ideal texture. Give those beef slices some personal space!
  • Not reserving the marinade: After marinating, don’t toss that flavorful liquid down the drain! Reserve the marinade and cook it down into a sauce to drizzle over the finished dish. Waste not, want not!
  • Overcooking the beef: Since the sirloin is thinly sliced, it will cook quickly. Keep a close eye on it and avoid overcooking the meat or you’ll end up with tough, chewy tapa. It’s better to err on the side of slightly undercooked, as it can always be cooked a bit more if needed.
  • Forgetting the garnishes: While the beef tapa is undoubtedly the star of the show, don’t forget the supporting actors – the fried egg, green onions, and tomatoes. These components not only add visual appeal to the dish, but also contribute their own unique flavors and textures, making every bite even more enjoyable.
  • Remember, even experienced chefs make mistakes from time to time, but with these tips in mind, you’ll be well on your way to creating a delicious and authentic Filipino Tapsilog. So grab your frying pan, marinate your beef, and get ready to impress your taste buds!

Health Risks & Benefits

In the grand scheme of global culinary heritage, Filipino Tapsilog is a fantastic way to enjoy the benefits of a protein-packed meal while also tantalizing your taste buds with its delectable flavors. Let’s break down some of the health risks and benefits lurking within this scrumptious dish.

Beef, being the star of the show, is a high-quality protein source that contributes to muscle maintenance and growth. It also provides essential nutrients such as iron, zinc, and vitamin B12. However, do keep in mind that consuming large amounts of red meat can be associated with health risks such as heart disease and certain cancers. Moderation is key, so be sure to balance out your red meat intake with other protein sources like fish, chicken, and plant-based options.

The marinade ingredients, such as calamansi or lemon juice, not only add a zesty twist to the dish but also provide a dose of vitamin C, known for its immune-boosting properties. Meanwhile, garlic has been praised for its potential heart health benefits and anti-inflammatory effects. So, go ahead and add that extra clove if you’re feeling daring!

Soy sauce, while lending a savory depth of flavor, can be high in sodium. If you’re looking to cut down on your salt intake, opt for a low-sodium soy sauce or adjust the amount used in the recipe.

Now, let’s talk about the sidekicks of this dish: jasmine rice and fried eggs. Jasmine rice, although delicious, is a refined carbohydrate, which may not be the ideal choice for those watching their blood sugar levels. A simple swap for brown rice or quinoa can boost the fiber content and keep you feeling fuller for longer. As for the fried eggs, they boast a good amount of protein and healthy fats. To make this dish even more health-conscious, you can choose to fry the eggs in a minimal amount of oil or even poach them.

Finally, don’t forget the optional green onions and tomatoes. These delightful additions not only add a pop of color but also pack in some extra vitamins and minerals!

Overall, this Filipino Tapsilog recipe can be enjoyed as part of a balanced diet. With a few tweaks, you can make it healthier while still savoring the mouthwatering flavors that make this dish a true celebration of culinary heritage. So grab your skillet, flex those chef muscles, and get cooking!

Recipe History & Context

Break out your passports, folks, because we’re taking a culinary trip to the beautiful Philippines! This scrumptious dish, known as Tapsilog, is a beloved breakfast (and anytime) meal that’s been gracing Filipino tables for generations. While the exact origins of Tapsilog are a bit murky, we do know that it’s a wonderful fusion of indigenous and foreign cooking traditions, as well as a testament to the resourcefulness and creativity of Filipino cooks.
Tapsilog is actually an abbreviation of three words: Tapa (marinated beef), Sinangag (garlic fried rice), and Itlog (egg). The star of the show is undoubtedly the beef tapa, which features thin slices of sirloin marinated in a lip-smacking blend of soy sauce, calamansi (a citrus fruit native to the Philippines), brown sugar, garlic, pepper, and salt. The word ‘tapa’ is derived from the Sanskrit word ‘tapas,’ which means ‘heat’ – a nod to the spicy marinades that were used in ancient times to preserve meat. Over the years, the flavors have evolved into the delicious combination of savory, tangy, and sweet that we know and love today.

The sinangag (garlic fried rice) component of Tapsilog is a fabulous way to use up leftover rice and enhance it with the irresistible aroma of freshly toasted garlic. It’s a little nod to the Chinese influence on Filipino cuisine. And finally, the itlog (egg) adds that quintessential breakfast touch, with a runny yolk just waiting to be mixed in with the tapa and rice.

The popularity of Tapsilog has soared in recent years, with countless variations popping up in eateries across the Philippines and around the world. From chicken and pork to tofu and grilled fish, the options for Tapsilog are endless – but one thing remains constant, and that’s the delightful symphony of flavors and textures in every bite.

So, whether you’re a Tapsilog veteran or a newcomer to the world of Filipino cuisine, grab your frying pan and let’s embark on a delicious journey that will have you hooked on this amazing dish! And remember, you don’t need to be a master chef to create tasty Tapsilog; all you need is a love for good food and a willingness to try something new. Mabuhay!

Common Questions

Can I use other cuts of beef for this recipe?

Absolutely! While beef sirloin is a popular choice for Tapsilog, you can also use other cuts such as flank steak, skirt steak, or even thinly sliced ribeye. The key is to make sure you cut the beef into thin slices for quick and even cooking.

What if I don’t have calamansi juice?

No worries! Calamansi is a small, tangy citrus fruit native to the Philippines, but it can be hard to find in some areas. You can easily substitute lemon juice or even a combination of lime and orange juice to mimic the sweet-tart flavor of calamansi.

Can I make this dish ahead of time?

Certainly! Marinating the beef overnight will not only save you time but also allow the flavors to fully penetrate the meat, making it even tastier. After cooking the beef and the sauce, you can store them in the refrigerator for a couple of days. Just reheat the beef and sauce in a pan before serving over rice and adding a freshly fried egg.

Is there a vegetarian or vegan alternative to this dish?

Yes, you can make a plant-based version of Tapsilog by substituting tofu or tempeh for the beef. Marinate and cook the tofu or tempeh the same way as the beef, then serve it over rice with a vegan egg made from tofu scramble or a store-bought vegan egg substitute.

Can I add any other toppings or sides to my Tapsilog?

Feel free to get creative with your Tapsilog! In addition to green onions and tomatoes, you can add other garnishes like pickled vegetables (such as atchara, a Filipino pickle made from green papaya), cucumber slices, or a side of stir-fried veggies. The sky’s the limit when it comes to adding your personal touch to this classic Filipino dish.

Filipino Beef Tapa (Tapsilog)

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Marinating Time: 2 hours
Servings: 4
Calories: 498kcal


  • Mixing Bowl
  • Resealable plastic bag or airtight container
  • Frying pan or skillet


  • 1 lb beef sirloin thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • ¼ cup calamansi or lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 4 cups cooked jasmine rice
  • 4 fried eggs
  • ¼ cup sliced green onions optional
  • ¼ cup chopped tomatoes optional


  • Mix soy sauce, calamansi or lemon juice, brown sugar, garlic, black pepper, and salt in a bowl.
  • Add beef to the marinade, ensuring each piece is coated. Transfer to a resealable bag or airtight container.
  • Marinate beef in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours or overnight.
  • Heat vegetable oil in a frying pan or skillet over medium-high heat.
  • Remove beef from marinade, allowing excess liquid to drip off. Reserve marinade.
  • Fry beef slices for 2-3 minutes per side. Cook in batches if necessary.
  • Pour reserved marinade into the pan and simmer for 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened.
  • Serve beef tapa over jasmine rice with a fried egg. Drizzle sauce on top and garnish with green onions and tomatoes, if desired.



Calories: 498kcal | Carbohydrates: 51g | Protein: 36g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 226mg | Sodium: 1255mg | Potassium: 597mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 320IU | Vitamin C: 8mg | Calcium: 80mg | Iron: 4mg

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