In this article, I will introduce you to some typical menus for a Filipino breakfast.
Don’t get me wrong, Filipinos eat different varieties of food for breakfast. The American influence holds strong in how we love pancakes, French toast, hash brown, cereals, peanut butter and bacon. In fact, there is an IHOP chain in Manila and when it first opened, the line was 3 blocks long. But there is something special about having ‘losilog’ or ‘tapsilog’ in the morning. It is just so essentially ‘Pinoy’.
A BIT OF HISTORY
If you go to the Philippines and go to any food court, you will find a lot of variations of the fried garlic rice / fried egg / meat or fish combination.
This is the ‘silog’ series which is a colloquial term formed by combining syllables of the tagalog words for the meat of choice (for example, Philippine sausage called LOnganiza), fried rice (SInangag) and egg ( itLOG).
Using this formula, this sausage/rice/egg combination is called LOSILOG. This is a trendy term that caught on in the’80s and now, that is how Filipinos call this combination of food everywhere. I will give you some variations of this menu. I will also give you some Filipino Breakfast recipes.
The history of these food items is an amalgamation of different cultures. Longaniza is Spanish sausage and tocino is Spanish bacon (cured sliced pork belly). Nowadays , tocino is also made from chicken. Tapa probably originated from beef jerky from the Americans. Fried rice came from the Chinese. Eggs are universal.
(Longaniza, Sinangag, Itlog)
Serves: 4 Prep time: 15 minutes Cook time: 20 minutes
- 1 package chicken or pork longaniza
- 5 eggs
- 3 cups of rice (leftover rice can be used)
- 2 cloves of garlic – minced
- 2 tbsp cooking oil
- 2 medium tomatoes – sliced
The hardest challenge for you may be finding the longaniza. If you do not have Asian food stores near you, you can use any Spanish or South American longaniza. I will list some options at the end of the article.
Another option is to make your own. You can make ‘longanizang hubad’ which is literally naked longaniza or sausages without the casing. One recipe is shown here on this public video.
How to Prepare:
- Cut the longaniza into individual links
- Using a fork, punch holes into the longaniza so it does not burst during cooking
- Put longaniza into the pan and add 1/2 cup of water
- Add medium heat and cook uncovered until the oil renders from the longaniza
- Fry the sausages for about 5 minutes making sure to turn it so all sides get cooked
- Use a fork or spoon to break the left over rice chunks
- To the oil left in the pan (about 2 tbsp)m add minced garlic and set heat to medium
- when garlic is starting to brown, add the rice and sprinkle some salt and pepper to taste
- Cook for about 5 minutes, mixing periodically
- Cook the eggs in a non stick pan, either sunny side up or scrambled
How to Serve:
Serve the longaniza with an egg and a cup of fried rice and garnish with sliced tomato.
You can add fried garlic chips on top of the rice if you like. This is best eaten when the rice is warm. You put the sunny side up egg on top of the rice and break the yolk.
(Tosilog is tocino, sinangag and itlog)
As I mentioned above, tocino is Spanish bacon. The meat is sliced thin and cured with annatto, water, anise wine and sugar. Tocino tend to go towards the sweet side and so when you cook it, the sugar caramelizes and makes for a sticky pan.
This oil and spices residue is then used to cook the garlic fried rice.
How to prepare:
- Cut the pork or chicken tocino in 2 inch squares
- Put in pan with 1/4 cup of water and cook on Low medium heat until fat is rendered and the meat starts to caramelize
- Remove the tocino from the pan and add a tbsp of oil
- Cook the garlic fried rice according to the directions in LOSILOG.
- Serve tocino with fried rice and egg and sliced tomatoes.
(Tapa, Sinangag, Itlog)
In Spanish cuisine, tapas is an appetizer or small plate dish. In the Philippines, tapa is cured beef, mutton or venison. The meat is sliced thin and cured with salt and spices. It’s a lot like beef jerky in the US. I don’t know if tapa originated from the Spanish word.
In the old days, tapa was seasoned and cured under the sun. This serves to preserve the meat. Nowadays, the same effect is achieved by drying the tapa in the oven. The secret is in slicing the beef as thinly as you can.
How to make tapa:
- 2 lbs of sirloin steak or flank steak
- 6 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1 tbsp salt
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F
- Slice the steak across the grain into thin slices 3 to 4 inches long
- Pound tthe beef with a mallet to flatten and tenderize it
- Mix the salt, sugar and garlic and add to the beef.
- make sure all sides of the meat is coated with the dry rub
- Spray a baking tray with some oil
- arrange the slices of beef onto the tray
- Place in the oven and bake for 15 minutes
- leave in the oven another 15 minutes to dry out
- The tapa can then be stored in a sealed freezer bag until ready for use
How to prepare Tapsilog:
- Make sure tapa is cut into bite sized pieces.
- Put in a pan with a little cooking oil. Cook on low medium heat until the meat is tender and even a little crispy
- Remove the tapa from the pan and add a tbsp of oil
- Cook the garlic fried rice according to the directions above.
- Serve tapa with fried rice and egg and sliced tomatoes.
MY BEST MEMORIES OF ‘SILOG’:
The food i described here is heavy fare. Growing up in the Philippines, we did not eat this every morning. Common breakfast fare was pan de sal (yeast-based rolls), coconut jam and milk or coffee.
The ‘silogs’ are usually served on weekend mornings when you can wake up late and savor a long and leisurely breakfast or brunch. It is convenient because you can use up your left-over rice, meat and vegetables. Everything tastes good again when fried with garlic.
When I moved to the US and started my own family, I started the same tradition. Weekdays when everybody is rushing to school and work, we just ate pastries, cereal, milk or coffee. But on the weekends, the wok comes out. I make sure we have rice on Friday night to use for garlic fried rice on Saturday morning. Planning is key to this menu.
I do not make just plain garlic rice. I use diced mushrooms, carrots, celery, green peas, corn, whatever I have in the refrigerator. This food lasts until early in the afternoon and powers up our weekends. Here is a sample of my weekend fried rice.
This has green beans, corn and mushroom as well as some left-over ham. After stir-frying, I crack an egg in the middle and make sure it is cooked. Then I mix it with the fried rice.
This is Chinese style fried rice and it is called ‘chaofan’.
What do you think?
I have shown you three variations of ‘silog’ but there are many more:
cornsilog – corned beef, fried rice and eggs. Argentinian canned corned beef is good. Sautee in garlic and onions and serve with fried rice and eggs
bangsilog – bangus (milkfish), fried rice and eggs. A good subsitute for milkfish is sole or trout or catfish. Marinate the fish in garlic and vinegar and salt. Let dry and fry until crispy and serve with fried rice and eggs.
adosilog – this is simply chicken or pork adobo, fried rice and eggs. You can try my adobo recipe here:
Where to Buy?
Here are some links to Spanish or South American longaniza.
>>>>>>GET ARGENTINA LONGANIZA HERE<<<<<
Wait, what about the coffee?
You cannot have good breakfast without great coffee. check out my link for the best espresso machine. This is an equipment I personally have and highly recommend.
I hope you have a better idea of how to prepare a Filipino breakfast. This is great if you have family or friends visiting and you want to host a brunch for them. Maybe you can start a weekend tradition in your own family. I have to tell you that this is not just eaten for breakfast. There are establishments in the Philippines that serve this all day. A very wise business decision as people order these day and night.
Kain na! (Let’s eat!)