We’ve Food-Hacked Everyone’s Favorite Sweet-Spicy Tapa Queen

October 3, 2019

This food hack was originally posted on November 14, 2014, but was re-published with a video.

I’m going to go for a wild generalization here and say that everyone loves Tapa King. Tapa is probably one of the best dishes Filipinos have to offer to the world, a sweet and salty plate of food that just screams breakfast. Forget cereal or toast, a decent tapsilog is what I’d rather have everyday when I wake up and need something to start my day. Since it first opened, Tapa King has been an institution. By banking on our love for all-day-breakfast, the fast food chain has steadily churned out meal after delicious meal with their signature marinades, garlic rice, fried egg (complete with crispy burnt edges and quivering yolk), and atchara.

The king and the queen are on tapa this world.

Let’s be honest though, the real star of Tapa King isn’t their King—it’s the Queen. This is the only thing I’ve ever ordered at the chain, and I won’t be changing my mind anytime soon. Sweet and spicy, the Queen is infinitely tastier than their regular marinade, and is the one that should be battling other recipes for supremacy. The slight heat just begs for more garlic rice, and pairs well with the sourness of the atchara.

One meal hits every note on your palate, until you are singing for joy and adjusting the belt on your pants to make room for more. We’ve finally hacked the perfect ratio of chili to sugar to make your tapa taste exactly like the Queen’s. Recently, Tapa King’s servings have grown noticeably smaller, so this is the perfect recipe to recreate their meals and get endless portions of some tasty meat. Seriously, enjoy.

  • Serves: 6 people
  • Active time: 10 mins
  • Total time: 10 mins + overnight
  • Difficulty: Easy


  • 1 kg beef sirloin, tapa cut
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1 tsp tenderizer (optional)
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 3-5 pcs bird’s eye chili, chopped
  • 1/4 cup garlic cloves, crushed
  • ground black pepper
  • oil, for cooking


  1. Mix together soy sauce, tenderizer, brown sugar, chili, garlic, and black pepper.
  2. Marinate beef in the mixture overnight.
  3. Heat oil and pan fry beef slices in batches.
  4. Serve with garlic rice, fried egg and atchara.
Pamela Cortez Pamela Cortez

Pamela Cortez writes about food full-time, and has honed her craft while writing for publications such as Rogue, Town and Country, and The Philippine Star. She once rode on a mule for a mile just to eat mint tea and lamb in Morocco, and has eaten a block of Quickmelt in one sitting. Her attempt at food photography can be viewed online @meyarrr.

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