Philippine Adobo

Another all time Filipino favorite: adobo.

This I cooked is a pork adobo. It’s one of many adobos actually, so best to be specific: pork adobo. There’s chicken adobo, beef adobo, duck adobo…in short, it depends on what you cook. Seafood is common too, being pusit (squid or cuttle fish) the most common. There are even vegetable adobos like string beans, kangkong, and labong (bamboo shoots).

The key here is cooking with a strong blend of soy sauce, vinegar, and garlic. Meat adobos usually include potato as extenders.

There were regional variations, like some use sweet potato in the absence of potato, some will add boiled egg too. Some will not want ginger on a pork adobo.

Meat adobos are to be soaked or marinated overnight in a mix of vinegar and garlic. Then fried until light brown. Vegetable and seafood adobos need not be marinated.

After frying, garlic and unions are sauteed on a separate pan; add bayleaf and crushed peppercorns; add the slightly fried meat; then add soy sauce and a little water. Simmer for at least 30 minutes or until almost dry; add the potatoes. When the potatoes are half done, add more vinegar until you get the tartness desired. No need to use salt, as the soy sauce is salty enough. Simmer a little bit more. Finished.

I am guilty of hurrying things up though, I did not marinate overnight. And I did not add boiled eggs, I had quite too many eggs the past few days already (that balut is another one).

Here are my ingredients before cooking, the red pepper I add at the last minute as an after thought, to make it a little more spicy, so it’s not included in the picture below. Note there’s no ginger, yes i don’t like it on pork adobo.


Wikipedia says “it has sometimes been considered as the unofficial national dish of the Philippines”, but I have to disagree. Ask a Cebuano what is pork adobo. The answer: deep fried pork. Adobo in Visaya and most part of Mindanao is deep fried stuff. They have a similar dish in the Visaya region that resembles adobo, called humba. But it’s not adobo. Humba is not cooked to almost dry, and no potato is added; ingredients include brown sugar, fermented black beans (taosi), anise, and sometimes fermented green onions.

Signature dish? Yes. National dish? No.


4 responses to “Philippine Adobo

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