The first is lechon kawali, crispy, pan-fried pork belly.
The second is tapsilog, a breakfast of champions that pairs thin strips of marbled, marinated beef with garlic fried rice, a sunny side up egg and sweet green papaya slaw.
Joyce is a self-taught cook who owns a catering company and a takeout spot called Kanto in Market 707’s retrofitted shipping containers at Dundas and Bathurst. (Ask her to explain the businesses’ full, cheeky name. “It always sparks a conversation whether you take it negatively or positively.”)
Kanto is open Tuesday to Saturday. You’ll find Joyce and/or her 70-year-old mom Catalina Libunao running there, preparing everything from scratch.
Joyce has ambitions, namely to share her food with everyone and “make it mainstream.”
All right, then. Let’s cook.
Joyce comes to the test kitchen — which is more spacious than Kanto — carrying all the fixings for her $7.50 tapsilog, which she calls “the steak and eggs” of Filipino cuisine.
She thinly slices a handsome hunk of marbled rib-eye, marinates it ever so briefly and pan-fries the meat while transforming jasmine rice into garlic fried rice and frying eggs sunny side up.
All of this — the backbone of tapsilog if you will — comes together in a snap.
But, let’s be honest: the embellishments (fried garlic bits and papaya slaw) were prepared in advance. Joyce talks me through those recipes. They are worth the extra effort.
Vince Talotta/Toronto Star
Every good tapsilog starts with a gorgeous hunk of beef, preferably with some marbling. Other key ingredients: jasmine rice, green papaya salw, fried garlic bits and bottled calamansi (a citrus extract).
This is the abridged version of her life story. Born in Oroquieta City. Went to university. Worked in pharmaceutical sales and marketing. Came to Canada “kinda by accident” when she was 26 in 2001 after driving a friend to drop off her visa application and being enticed to apply for landed immigrant status.
2002 TERRY LABONTE #5 KELLOGG'S CHASE THE RACE 1:64 CAR