This restaurant’s namesake, tapsilog, is like a Filipino hangover helper. Featuring dried or cured beef (tapa), a mound of rice (sinangag) and fried egg (itlog), it’s a comforting treat sure to sop up the stomach slosh of a late-night bender. While fast-food joints like McDonald’s feature it on their breakfast menus in the Philippines, the dish has generally been tough to find stateside. Thanks to a partnership between Filipino immigrants Cristina Navata and Rodney Clamana (pictured below), you can now get your fix in Chicago.
Their tapsihan (the name for a place that serves tapsilog), in a spartan West Rogers Park storefront, is decked out with a mix of maplewood and plastic chairs, Formica tables, and a wall-mounted covey of bejeweled geese sculptures. They chose the location to take advantage of the large population of Filipinos working and living in nearby nursing homes, which is how the business, which opened in late April, has stayed open. “We don’t have a lot of money for advertising, and we don’t get a lot of walk-in traffic,” Navata says.
In addition to the traditional tapsilog, served on a banana leaf with a side of fried banana, the restaurant also offers additional meat options, including pork sausage (longsilog), milk fish (bangusilog), hot dog (hotsilog) and our favorite: sweet, crispy-skinned chunks of cured pork (tosilog). If you just can’t decide or are new to Filipino cuisine, a weekend buffet features quite a spread, including garlicky pork in adobo studded with black peppercorns, and lumpia, crispy pork egg rolls.—Michael Nagrant
2739 W Touhy Ave between Washtenaw and California Aves (773-338-6961). Bus: 93, 96, Pace 290. Breakfast, lunch and dinner (closed Tue). Average main course: $7.
This article first appeared in Time Out Chicago in a different form.