The day is fresh and hopeful; the spirit is upbeat, the food tastes good, life is beginning again.Doreen Fernandez


Where do I begin?

With a meal, of course. With agahan [ah-gah-han]. The first meal of the day. My favorite meal of the day.

With sinangag [see-nah-ngahg]. The hiss of day-old grains in a hot kawali. The fragrance of garlic browned in hot oil. The familiar sound and smell of sinangag in the early morning.

Dried, salted danggit fried until the skins blister, until the heads and tails crisp. The comforting taste of sea and sun.

Eggs with yolks as radiant as ripe mangoes. Coffee as strong as a true barako.

Start with a proper meal, my mom always insists. Fuel for a fresh start. This is where I will begin. With good food. Always with good food.


Sinangag Recipe

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
6 cloves garlic, crushed
3 cups leftover cooked rice at room temperature (1 cup uncooked gives roughly 3 cups cooked rice)
salt to taste

Heat oil in a wok or large pan over high heat. Add garlic and saute until brown and fragrant. Mash the rice gently with clean hands, breaking apart clumps of rice. Pour rice into the hot wok and stir well, again breaking apart clumps of rice with a spatula. Stir fry until grains are separated and dry. Season with salt to taste.

“The most delicious breakfasts usually derive from the humblest of ingredients,” Marion Cunningham writes. For me, nothing can be more simple and more satisfying than a plate of sinangag, fried egg, fried fish, and fresh fruit. With steaming black coffee, of course.

Dried, salted fish like danggit (rabbitfish), tuyo (scad or mackerel) or dilis (anchovies) are available in most Asian grocery stores.


Almusal Filipino Breakfast


More Breakfast Recipes


Pork Tocino Recipe

The kitchen soon reeked of garlic, which I used to fry the day-old rice that had been sitting in the fridge. I cracked an egg into a hot pan while sweet tocino sizzled in another. Within minutes, I turned off my phone and emails, made myself a plate of tocino, rice and eggs and reveled in the promise of a fresh, new start.



Longganisa Recipe

My mind longingly drifted to our butcher back home. I dreamed about the stubby links of longganisa hanging handsomely under bright incandescent bulbs next to cuts of liempo (pork belly), kasim (shoulder), and tadyang (ribs).


Daing na Bangus Recipe

And my sleepy self watching the morning slowly unfold, combing through the same spiny fish — bangus; cut the same way — daing, which means split open; marinated the same way, cooked the same way — always tustado, fried until it is toasted golden brown.

  • Bianca Garcia

    The last time I had sinangag was back in Manila when I went home for the holidays! You’ve inspired me to make some this weekend :)

  • Pru

    Welcome back Jun! I hope you had a restful break and looking forward to what is to come…..

  • Niecey Roy-RomanceAuthor

    Reading your blog always reminds me of my mom, or visiting with my oldest sister, and my heart smiles. I can smell the scent of garlic frying in hot oil…

  • Jennifer Delos Reyes

    I love breakfast, too. My mom laughs when I say sinangag, though. I can’t get that “ng” sound. I’m going to try to make some tocino to go wih my sinangag. Glad you’re back!

  • Anonymous

    Yaaay! You’re back! I’m so glad because I was missing my online Filipino food fix! I always like sinangag and eggs for lunch when my appetite has fully awakened. Love the photos- looks like I could reach out and pinch a piece of tuyo to nibble.

  • Arthur in the Garden!

    Wonderful recipe! I love it!

  • Ann Gagno

    Oh am I ever hungry with that danggit pic!

  • Anonymous

    love that plate, jun! i can eat that at any time of the day! nakakamay, and yes, with a cup of hot coffee! :)

  • norma

    Great recipe and I love that perfect egg…

  • p0lst3r

    Saw this and had to have immediately – thanks for the inspiration (beautiful photograph). I even had the danggit (wow salty!). Instead of mango I went with chunky-diced tomato & green apple tossed in thinly sliced sibuyas and bagoong alaman. I used a high-quality Taiwanese short-grain rice (same I use for arroz caldo) – not traditional but nice result all the same.

    Was soooo good. Ok, I’ll admit I had my Filipino friend help prepare (I’m Anglo-Australian), but will do by myself next time. The surprising thing is how the coffee just goes with this so well. I’m serious, it’s like the same synergy you get with spaghetti bolognese and a glass of red wine.

    Maraming salamat po! Keep up the blog pls!

  • Anonymous

    Hardy beginnings. There’s a metaphor in there somewhere… GREG

  • Liren Baker

    I’ll have this for breakfast, or any time of day, really. Delicious, Jun, this is the best brunch ever.

  • Jun Belen

    Your note made my day! Thank you for writing. I didn’t get your name. I love the tomato and green apple combination with shrimp bagoong! And, yes, the black coffee completes the meal. Perfect breakfast in my book. Thank you once again for writing.

  • pupulebarbi

    Dear Jun – So glad you are back, I missed you! After reading this post I now know my Dad wasn’t just teasing us when he said he would eat “fish heads and rice” for breakfast when he was growing up in Hawai’i. Haha!

  • Jun Belen

    Your Dad is a wise man! Thank you so much for following the blog. So glad to be back, too!

  • Jun Belen

    I know, best eaten with bare hands!

  • Jun Belen

    Love the sweet and salty combination of tocino and sinangag for breakfast or anytime of the day!

  • Jun Belen

    Pru, thank you! It was a good break but I’m glad to be back writing again. Hope all is well.

  • Jun Belen

    Oh, Niecey, thank you for the very thoughtful note. Hope all is well.

  • jean coene

    Very early in our relationship, my now husband would look at me quizzically when I’d eat rice (sinangag, of course) for breakfast. He got over that minor shock quickly, and gave me a fancy rice cooker as one of my presents on our first Christmas together. You can take the girl out of Quezon City, but not the Quezon City out of the girl!

  • Anonymous

    You do not know how happy this makes me – that you are back!! Next time I have leftover rice, I am going to remember this recipe. Love the heavy dose of garlic!! Welcome back!

  • p0lst3r

    Please ignore my food styling and photography skills (or lack thereof).

    I’ve made this many times since but this is actually my first attempt when you first posted the recipe.


  • Anonymous

    Jun, I do my garlic rice slightly different. I use rice which has been in the ref for 2 to 3 days– they’re a lot crispier and the grains are firmer. I prep everything before starting as I do constant stirring at high heat. And oh, I double the garlic and mince it so finely that the rice is speckled with pops of golden yellow. I add just a wee bit of toyo (soy sauce) for color. And I add coarse salt while sauteing the garlic, just so the salt dissolves completely before adding the rice. You will never have soggy garlic rice with 3 day-old chilled rice and high heat. One last thing: I try to have a layer of slightly burnt rice at the bottom which is what everyone in the family hurries to get. :)

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  • Sheena

    My mum makes this alot and i was home alone and had a sudden craving for this. I decided to make it and even though i got burnt twice and garlic went flying everywhere it was definetley worth it :D

  • Rickey

    OMG that photo

  • Samantha

    Making this. :) Thank you!