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What kind of breakfast do you like?

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In the Philippines, if you go to a restaurant and want to order breakfast, you are usually faced with a few choices for complete meals.

They usually list a “Filipino Breakfast” using exactly that name, although you don’t always know exactly what the Filipino Breakfast consists of.

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Another “full meal” breakfast that is on most menus is the “American Breakfast“.  There are usually not other choices like a “British Breakfast” and “Australian Breakfast”.  No German, Austrian, Australian, Irish, French or Japanese breakfasts either!  Nope.  You can choose whatever you like, as long as it is Filipino or American!  I have seen a Continental Breakfast listed on some restaurant menus too, but not usually.  Of course, in the Philippines, if you are a foreigner, that means you are American, and will be called an American no matter what country you are from, so I guess that the choice of a Filipino or American Breakfast is fitting.

Tapsilog

Tapsilog

Tapsilog

Among all Filipino breakfasts, one of the more famous breakfasts is called Tapsilog.  What is Tapsilog?

  • Tapa – This is meat entree consisting of a semi dried beef that is flavored with a bit of spiciness, maybe with some vinegar.
  • Sinangag – This is fried rice.  Usually with Tapsilog the fried rice you get is garlic rice.
  • Itlog – Itlog is an egg.  With a breakfast of Tapsilog the egg you will always get is “sunny side up”, unless you request that your egg be cooked another way.

American Breakfast

As I said earlier, you can never be completely sure what you will get with these “country” breakfasts.  Personally, I have usually found that the “American Breakfast” does not really have things that most Americans eat for breakfast!  Probably one of the most common meat items on the American Breakfast is a hot dog.  I don’t think I have ever seen an American eat a hot dog for breakfast before, except in the Philippines (when they order an American Breakfast!).

So, I think it is safe to say that you won’t always get what you expect you might get.

Another thing that is almost always, in my experience, part of the American Breakfast is rice.  Again, I don’t ever remember seeing an American person eat rice for breakfast (nor for most meals).  Normally, for the starchy part of an American breakfast you would see perhaps some kind of potatoes, probably most commonly hash browns.  But, rice?  Not very often, if at all.  Instead of rice, sometimes you will see toasted bread with the American breakfast, which is fairly common in America, so that is not a bad choice.

What is your experience?

So, probably most people who read this site either live in the Philippines, or have at least traveled here a few times.  What is your experience of breakfasts you have seen or tried here in the Philippines?  Did you come across any breakfast meals that surprised you?  Maybe they surprised you in a pleasant way, or a not so pleasant way.  Let us know what surprises you have experienced, and how you liked them!

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Bob Martin

Bob Martin is the Publisher & Editor in Chief of the Live in the Philippines Web Magazine. Bob is an Internet Entrepreneur. Bob is an American who lived in Mindanao from 2000 until 2019. Bob has now relocated back to the USA.

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Rease Wold
Guest

While I’m partial to an American, or even British style breakfast. I enjoy the Philippine Tortang Talong for breakfast.

Bob Martin
Guest

Sounds like you are open minded!

Rease Wold
Guest

More than most I think 🙂

David Smith
Guest

fried moro-moro with 2 eggs(sunnyside up) and a nice cup of liptons tea is my favourite starter for the day.

Bob Martin
Guest

Sounds good, except for the Lipton part.. I prefer other brends when it comes to tea. 🙂

Steve A
Guest
Steve A

What is moro-moro?

MindanaoBob
Guest

Moro Moro is a type of fish.

Steve A
Guest
Steve A

Thanks Bob, I’ve never heard of thatthat.

MindanaoBob
Guest

No problem.

PapaDuck
Guest
PapaDuck

Bob,
My favorite breakfast would have to be the omelet, which mostly you only see in foreign restaurants. There is a Swiss restaurant in Angeles that has the best ham, cheese and mushroom omelet served w/dark bread that i’ve eaten anywhere.

MindanaoBob
Guest

Sounds good, PapaDuck. We have two Swiss Restaurants here in Davao that are great, I bet they might be part of the same company.

Jenna Laughland
Guest
Jenna Laughland

My husband likes scrambled eggs, steam rice and tocino for breakfast when we vacation in the Philippines. Sometimes, he chooses longganisa for meat. Thankfully, I trained my babies’ palate. They can eat spam, steam rice and eggs if they visit us in the Philippines someday. Why, they even anticipate marinated boneless baby milkfish. SARANGANI brand, of course. Tee Hee!

MindanaoBob
Guest

I like longanisa and tocino. They are pretty good meats, but i have to be choosy and go for something that is sugarless due to my diabetes. These days, though, you can find sugarless things like that, which used to be unheard of in the Philippines.

Adam
Guest
Adam

Jollibee beef tapa (when not out of stock) Beef tapa is very nice with the fried egg and fried rice. Washed down with a hot chocolate.
Sometimes I will have the “English breakfast” at the Norweigan restaurant in town. Plenty of bacon on toast. Egg and even baked beans if you want.
As usual in the Philippines it tastes better because of the low cost. If you want to go out for breakfast in Australia you almost need to go apply for a bank loan to pay for it! ?

MindanaoBob
Guest

Hi Adam – That breakfast you describe…. Beef Tapa, fried egg and fried rice… that is Tapsilog! 🙂 Glad you enjoy it.

SteveB
Guest
SteveB

I like anything for breakfast….Coffee is the important part! One thing that surprised me though is a favorite breakfast of my Filipina wife: oatmeal with chopped apples in it. Being american, I also like mine with brown sugar. Anyway this is the Philippines so expect fish, vegetables and rice for all meals!

MindanaoBob
Guest

You are right. Food is not a meal if there is no rice.. it is only a snack. I never eat rice with breakfast, though, and only very rarely with lunch or dinner.

easymark
Guest
easymark

Ha ha ha…..I have to comment! My mother-in-law comes to visit from the province to our home in Manila….often the whole “gang” will show up and I will order in Pizza or such to feed the multitudes. Later, sometimes in the middle of the night, Nanay will come to the kitchen to “find” some rice to eat. “I didn’t have any rice”. “Pizza is merienda!”.

MindanaoBob
Guest

Yep, for sure. Every Filipino will tell you that no rice = snack only. Well, except my wife and kids.. they lived in the States long enough that they are used to have some meals without rice. 🙂

Bruce Cinader
Guest

Don’t forget that the Filipino is not normally given a knife, where as the American is. I remember one time my Filipina wife had to ask for a knife and was brought one, a few moments later another waitress saw the knife on the table by her and tried to take it away to be replaced with a spoon. The first waitress told her it was OK that it was requested. This has happened more than once to us during our visits to the Philippines and eating in the restaurants.

Bob Martin
Guest

Ha ha.. I didn’t forget about that.. it just was not really part of the article. Usually, the spoon is used as a combo of a knife and spoon in the Philippines. 🙂

GaryM
Guest
GaryM

I normally eat a eggs, hash browns and one of the following tocino, longanisa or bacon for breakfast. Every now and then it’s corned beef hash instead with rice and eggs. The hash browns are the frozen type that we buy at SM here.

MindanaoBob
Guest

Hi Gary – So you are doing a real mix of cultures on the plate! I do something like that myself a lot of times. Except for the hash browns part.. I don’t care for the frozen ones…. Feyma makes them from scratch for me. 🙂

GaryM
Guest
GaryM

I spent 15 years in Hawaii and it prepped me a lot for living here with the foods. I forgot to mention Spam in my post above. Spam is definitely another breakfast meat in our household. No for the hashbrowns, my wife doesnt cook and I am slowly teaching our help to cook western foods. Its a process.

MindanaoBob
Guest

When I was a kid we ate Spam, my dad loved the stuff. I tried some a couple years ago and just didn’t like it. I will leave it for my Filipino friends.

Michael heavrin
Guest
Michael heavrin

Tacinolog works for me…with some pandasal of course. My biggest complaint is that my meal usually arrives lukewarm or cold.

MindanaoBob
Guest

Hi Michael – I also prefer tocino compared to tapa. Around here, that is called “Tocilog”. At Taps Restaurant, they have the “log” dishes with any kind of meat you want, and a different name for each meal. 🙂 I don’t think I have ever gotten a cold meal at Taps. Usually after you order the food is in front of you in about 2 minutes or so.. no time for it to get cold!

easymark
Guest
easymark

The first couple of years I lived here, I really missed the big American breakfast I was used to. Eggs, fresh-made hash browns, country-style (meaning Southern US style) breakfast sausage (usually accompanied by a heap of sausage gravy). I was so desperate for that country sausage taste that I actually brought back the seasonings in bulk on return from my US trips, and made my own! A lifetime of food habits die slowly. While I enjoy a Filipino breakfast from time to time, my real treat now is blueberry pancakes from Pancake House! ….but I have to settle for a… Read more »

MindanaoBob
Guest

Hi Mark – Feyma has been making her own Country style breakfast sausage for many years here. Paul Thompson makes it also. Both have shared their recipes on the site over the years. 🙂 Now that we have S&R here in Davao, we can easily buy those things without having to make our own. You are right.. food is a comfort thing, and the habit dies very slowly, if at all. What we grew up with is important to most people, and when you are suddenly transplanted to a different country it can be a shock!

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