One quick effect of moving to Budapest: I lost quite a bit of weight. No exercise. How? No Filipino food! I was cut off instantly from my ultimate favorites: sinigang, kaldereta, Bicol express, adobo, tapa, tocino. In Budapest, there is no Jollibee, Max’s or Mary Grace. No talipapa or carinderia either.
After finding a couple of Asian stores that carry Filipino ingredients, I had to learn how to make edible Filipino food. And learn fast. I cannot be deprived of my favorites for a long time, no? And I was getting sick of too much Lucky Me pancit canton too.
Since then, I’ve managed to increase the number of Filipino dishes I could make from scratch, including leche flan and maja blanca – things I could just buy anywhere in Manila.
This is only my second attempt to make beef tapa. But this time, I made changes to the original proportions to suit my taste.
Usually, only one cut of beef is available from local supermarkets – cubed for gulyás. I’ve never seen any meat shop that sells very thinly sliced beef (or slice them per request). So I bought half a kilo of gulyás beef, which I sliced into smaller portions and pounded until thin and flat.
You will need:
- 1/2 kilo beef
- Juice of 1 medium lemon
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce
- 5 cloves of garlic, crushed
- 1 tablespoon ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon of chili garlic or 1-2 pieces siling labuyo, minced (optional)
- Mix all ingredients together.
- Cover and marinate for 24 hours.
- In a pan, put in the meat with 1 cup of water and 2 tablespoons cooking oil. Bring to a boil. The water will help tenderize the meat.
- Add more water and boil again if you think the beef is still not tender enough. Boil until the water has completely evaporated. The oil will then fry the beef. Stir fry until done.
- Serve with garlic rice and fried egg!
Tips and notes
- I find that the vinegar available in Hungarian supermarkets are too acidic. If you have a choice, do not use such vinegar for cooking. Just use it to clean your toilet.
- If you only have access to local ones, make sure you get almaecet. Chop up lots of bird’s eye chili and put in the bottle of vinegar. You can also add chopped red onions for added flavor.
- In Budapest, you can get Filipino vinegar from Szep Kis India on Wesselenyi utca. This is my favorite shop for all things Asian and Filipino.