What is Silog? This Filipino Dish of Garlic Fried Rice Paired With Runny Eggs Is the Ultimate Savory Breakfast

Whenever I’m in the mood for a savory breakfast (and most of the time, I am), I typically resort to the timeless equation: carb + egg + salty meat. Depending on the time and place, this can take the shape of a BEC, eggs Benedict, or huevos rancheros. It’s a remarkably flexible formula, a blueprint with a long-standing reputation that inspires endless possibilities. 

And there’s no question which version of this equation I turn to on the reg. It’s the Filipino breakfast staple silog, and I make it in one form or another multiple times a week. It’s my swift and hurried workday meal, my fancy family weekend breakfast, the object of my late-night hangover lust, and my champion ride or die.

What is silog?

Silog is a portmanteau of its two components: sinangag (garlic fried rice) and itlog (egg). Sinangag begins with a bounty of chopped garlic, which sizzles steadily in a blanket of oil and reemerges as crispy golden confetti. The garlic bits are strained from the oil and set aside, leaving behind a flavorful, savory fat. Cold leftover rice is added and tossed until warm and fragrant before it’s reunited with the crunchy garlic flakes. My ideal sinangag is earthy and flavorful but doesn’t overwhelm the dish at large. Since I don’t like my sinangag too greasy, I use half of the garlic oil to fry the eggs, which should be runny but viscous, so that the yellow yolk lazes into the rice when punctured. And like a cherry on top of dessert, the egg should gleam with a brilliant, inviting flourish.

Silogs are usually served with a protein, and there are many variations. When I was growing up, my mom always kept our freezer stocked with vacuum-sealed packages of store-bought tocino (cured pork), brick-colored logs of longganisa sausage, and tuyo, a salty dried fish that’s notoriously smelly but tastes wonderful; in the pantry, metal cans of Spam and corned beef sat side by side. These were all indications (promises, really) of silogs to come.

When serving sinangag and itlog with a protein, the shorthand of the protein is prefixed to “silog,” creating another portmanteau. Hot dogs plus silog equals “hotsilog,” bangus fish plus silog equals “bangsilog,” and so on. While pan-frying is the most common cooking method for silog proteins, grilling is another viable option. Just about anything can be served silog style, which means it’s a great meal for repurposing leftovers or using up whatever you have on hand.

What is tapsilog?

The most famous silog by far is tapsilog, made with beef tapa. (The term tapsilog was coined in 1986 by Vivian Del Rosario, who, working in the corner of a Quezon City parking lot, sold budget-friendly breakfast plates featuring tapa, sinangag, and itlog to local jeepney and tricycle drivers.)

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