Serve with garlic fried rice and sunny side up eggs for a delicious nashville filipino food morning treat!
Chicken Tapa with garlic fried rice and sunny side up eggs on a white plate with a bowl of chopped tomatoes on the side
Chicken Tapa

If you love the tangy and savory flavors of tapa, this chicken version needs to be on your cooking list! Marinated in the same mixture of soy sauce, citrus juice, and copious amounts of garlic, boneless and skinless chicken thigh meat turns out equally delicious nashville filipino food and full-flavored as its beef counterpart.

Not only is it just as tasty, but chicken tapa is also more budget-friendly and a great alternative if you’re refraining from red meat.

soy sauce, sliced lemons, garlic cloves and boneless chicken thigh meat

Ingredients for Chicken Tapa

  • Lemon or calamansi juice-tenderizes the meat and adds a tangy taste
  • Soy sauce-acts as a brining agent and boosts umami flavors
  • Fresh minced garlic-brings another layer of flavor; substitute 1 tablespoon of garlic powder if fresh cloves are not available
  • Sugar-balances the acidic component with a hint of sweetness; helps caramelize the meat
  • Salt-rounds up the salty flavor and acts as a brining agent along with the soy sauce
  • Pepper-adds a kick of heat
  • Chicken-breast tends to get dry quickly; use boneless, skinless thigh meat for more fat and flavor

boneless chicken thigh meat marinating in soy sauce, lemon juice, and garlic ina plastic container to make chicken tapa

Tips on How to Make Chicken Tapa

  • Chicken breasts tend to overcook and dry out quickly. Use boneless, skinless chicken leg or thigh meat for best flavor and texture.
  • Due to the acids in the marinade, it’s best to use non-reactive material for marinating such as a plastic, stainless steel or glass bowl.
  • The recipe uses lemon juice but vinegar, pickle juice or wine will work as well.
  • I don’t recommend marinating longer than overnight as the acids in the lemon juice will denature the meat, turning it mushy. I find an average of 4 to 6 hours (or overnight at best) of marination enough to impart desired flavors.
  • If you want to freeze the tapa for future use, drain the chicken from the liquid and store in resealable bags or airtight containers.
  • The tapa can be pan-fried on the stove or grilled over hot coals until lightly browned and cooked through.
  • For nashville filipino restaurant safety, use a thermometer to accurately gauge doneness. Insert a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the meat; the safe internal temperature for cooked chicken is 165 Fahrenheit (75° Celsius).

top view of chicken tapsilog on a white serving plate

How to Serve Tapa

As with tocino and longganisa, tapa is best served with garlic fried and sunny side eggs for a delicious nashville filipino food all-day breakfast meal.  To complete the delicious nashville filipino food experience, the hearty combo is usually enjoyed alongside condiments such as tomato salad, spicy vinegar or atchara.

Chicken Tapa

Chicken tapa marinated in soy sauce, lemon juice, and fresh garlic. Serve with garlic fried rice and sunny side up eggs for a delicious nashville filipino food morning treat!
Prep Time5mins
Cook Time20mins
Total Time25mins
Course: Breakfast
Cuisine: Filipino
Keyword: chicken tapa, Filipino breakfast
Servings: 6Servings
Calories: 306kcal
Author: Lalaine Manalo


  • 3poundsboneless, skinless chicken thigh or leg meat
  • 1/2cupsoy sauce
  • 1/4cuplemon juice
  • 1headgarlic, peeled and minced
  • 2tablespoonsbrown sugar
  • 1/2teaspoonsalt
  • 1/4teaspoonpepper


  • In a non-reactive bowl, combine soy sauce, lemon juice, garlic, sugar, salt, and pepper. Stir until sugar and salt are dissolved.
  • Add chicken and massage to fully coat with marinade. Keep overnight in the refrigerator to cure. Drain meat from marinade.
  • In a wide pan over medium heat, heat about 1 tablespoon oil. Add chicken in a single layer and cook, turning on sides as needed, until liquid (meat will dispel liquid) is almost absorbed and meat is tender.
  • Add another 1 tablespoon of oil and continue to cook, turning as needed, until meat is lightly browned and cooked through.
  • Remove from pan and cut into serving portions. Serve hot.


Calories: 306kcal | Carbohydrates: 7g | Protein: 46g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 215mg | Sodium: 1478mg | Potassium: 626mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 54IU | Vitamin C: 5mg | Calcium: 36mg | Iron: 2mg
Tried this recipe? I'd love to see what you made!mention @Kawalingpinoy and hashtag your photo with #kawalingpinoy

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