Wagyu steak in an unexpected place
Wagyu has always been put on a pedestal. Revered by every respectable carnivore, its remarkable marbling is usually reserved for occasions that call for coddling and pampering. Bokaps—the Kapitolyo neighborhood joint just off the strip—dares to ask the question we have all flirted with: If it's so good, why can't we have it every day?
What husband and wife owners Nands and Kats Muñiz came up with was to marry home cooking with celebratory Wagyu. Fatty beef cubes, for example, are marinated, then served as tapsilog. The Filipino favorite, available all day, has been a veritable bestseller since they opened their doors in May 2016. It’s not Grade A5 Wagyu (the kind that disappears in your mouth as quickly as the cash disappears in your wallet), but the quality is decent and enough for you to taste the difference. The Wagyu sticks—simple grilled and served with yakiniku sauce—is a steal at P120 (a stick skewering four pieces the size of your standard ice cube).
Bokaps, slang for Barrio Kapitolyo, wants nothing more than to be known as the area's go-to place for affordable Wagyu and comfort food. Kat may not have had formal culinary training, but she’s no slouch in the kitchen—just try her kare-kare, which is, according to the menu, "the kind your grandma makes on Sundays." It's not B.S. The thick peanut sauce skips instant mixes, squashing preconceived notions that holes-in-the-wall compromise quality for price. Home cooking at its best, Kat’s Butter Fried Chicken takes you back to grade school lunches.
She gives credit to her mother-in-law’s well-meaning (we assume) challenges. “‘Kaya mo kaya ito?' She would ask me when she likes a dish in a restaurant.” And because you never back down from challenges like these, Kat would try to replicate it at home, and her natural talents in the kitchen often led to successes—one of which is Bokaps’ sisig. Using their premium beef of choice, their Sisigyu solidifies their quirky “Japinoy” concept. You taste the rich beefiness, no doubt, but what is more striking is their flavorful sauté, which doesn't ache for liquid seasoning. Even if the Muñizes decide to make spin-offs using other proteins, they know that their sisig recipe is foolproof.
Reliable Wagyu cubes
The beef pares isn’t available at the moment. "It's still cooking at home," Nands sheepishly admits. "Home" being just a few blocks away. However, that minor flaw merely adds to the charm of this mom-and-pop operation. We know that when we return, probably one evening when the craving for a brisket stew and garlic rice strikes, we'll get a freshly cooked one at Bokaps.
Bokaps is at 6A Sta. Clara Street, East Capitol Drive, Barangay Kapitolyo, Pasig City; open from 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. (Monday), 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. (Tuesday to Thursday), 12 p.m. to 1 a.m. (Friday to Saturday), 12 p.m. to 10 p.m. (Sunday); tel. no. 0998-955-5248; [email protected].