Beef tapa is a popular dish in the Philippines, with a rich history dating back to the Spanish colonial period. The word “tapa” literally means “smoked,” referring to the practice of smoking fish (as in Tinapa). Over time and with the arrival of the Spanish, this practice evolved into preserving meat as well, with marinated beef being the star ingredient.
Despite that, the preservation technique for tapa involves marinating the beef in a mixture of soy sauce, vinegar, garlic, and other spices to add flavor. Vinegar is used for preservation but no doubt, because it’s an acid, it doubles as a meat tenderizer. Filipino beef is known to be tough (ugh) and this is a perfect solution. The marinated beef is then fried, creating a delicious and satisfying meal that is perfect for any time of the day.
For sandwiches in the Philippines, we are exposed to a few international dishes, including the popular Philly Cheese Steak and Vietnamese Banh Mi. Truth to tell, I haven’t even considered the possibility of a tapa sandwich since I first tasted Philly cheesesteak and the ever-so-yummy Banh Mi. One time, I went to a Filipino Food fair and saw this, and the rest, as they say, is history.
So how does our beef tapa sandwich compare to these two classic sandwiches? Let’s take a closer look.
The Philly Cheese Steak sandwich is made with sliced steak, melted cheese, lettuce, and mayonnaise, all placed between two slices of bread. This classic sandwich is known for its simplicity and flavor, with the melted cheese and juicy steak being the star ingredients.
The Banh Mi, on the other hand, is a Vietnamese sandwich that is made with marinated meats, pickled vegetables, and herbs, all placed between a crusty baguette. The combination of flavors and textures makes this sandwich a popular option for those looking for a delicious and filling meal.
What makes our Tapa Sandwich different?
When it comes to the beef tapa sandwich, it has its own unique twist on the classic sandwich. The star of the Pinoy tapa sandwich is its distinctly sour sweet Tapa taste (ala Tapa king). The marinated beef is fried using slow fire, giving it a delicious texture that is sure to impress. (This is a preference, some prefer to cook it quick on high fire to create a caramelized texture). Yummy!
Here’s a simple beef tapa recipe that you can use for this beef tapa sandwich. Give it a try and let me know what you think!