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All About Adobo! The Story and Cooking Method of The Most Famous Filipino Dish

By Genalyn Llorando - Published March 18, 2021

By Genalyn Llorando

The Philippines is known in many countries for our hardworking Filipinos scattered all over the world and for our famous dish-Adobo! I often travel outside the Philippines and in my conversations whenever I’m asked my nationality I proudly answer, “I am a Filipino!” This often gets a big smile and the response, “Oh, the land of Adobo!” Today let me share with you adobo’s the history and a simple recipe that you can try at home.

The History of Adobo
In the 16th century, our country was invaded by Spain. One of the main purposes the Spanish occupied the Philippines was because they thought it would be a land of spices. When they settled they witnessed a traditional Filipino cooking method and called it adobo which is the Spanish word for marinade.

Like many cultures based in tropical climates, Filipino natives developed various ways of preserving food, and one way is adding salt and vinegar. Adobo refers to the way of marinating and braising any cut of meat or fish in a briny mixture of vinegar, soy sauce, and spices to preserve it. Filipino adobo should not be confused with another spicy Spanish adobo sauce. Although they both share the Spanish name, they are much different in flavor and ingredients.

The adobo was traditionally cooked in clay pots but it’s now more commonly made in woks or metal pots. Adobo utilizes the acid in the vinegar and the high salt content of soy sauce to produce an undesirable environment for bacteria. The delicious flavor and preserving qualities served to increase adobo's popularity.

While it is not official, many consider adobo to be the national dish of the Philippines, as every island has its unique versions of it. Many say that reheated leftover adobo tastes even better. There are many regional varieties of adobo, such as chicken, pork, beef and fish, but most recipes include vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, bay leaves, and black pepper.

The meat is marinated and then stewed in this mixture, which yields a very flavourful, sharp, and tender meat. Adobo is usually served over a bed of soft rice to absorb the deliciously tangy sauce. Among the different varieties, let us choose a combination of Chicken and Pork, but you can also use either meat alone. You can eat this delicious Filipino dish for breakfast, lunch or dinner with warm rice.

How to Make Adobo

Chicken and Pork Adobo
Preparation Time: 5 minutes
Marinating time: 1 hour to overnight, depending on your preference
Cooking Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 4-6 people
Calories: 607kcal


  • ½ kg of chicken cut into serving pieces (leg and thigh parts)
  • ½ kg of pork belly (a mix of lean and fatty meat)
  • 3 pieces of dried bay leaves
  • 8 tablespoons of soy sauce
  • 4 tablespoons  of white vinegar
  • 5 cloves of garlic crushed
  • 1 1/2 cups of water
  • 3 tablespoons of cooking oil
  • 1 teaspoon of sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt optional
  • 1 teaspoon of whole peppercorn
Cooking Instructions
  1. Combine the chicken and pork with soy sauce and garlic in a large container. Mix well. Marinate the meat for at least 1 hour. Note: the longer the time, the better
  2. Heat your cooking pot. Pour in cooking oil.
  3. When the oil is hot enough, pan-fry the marinated chicken and pork for 2 minutes per side.
  4. Pour in the remaining marinade, including the garlic. Add water. Bring to a boil.
  5. Add dried bay leaves and whole peppercorn. Simmer it for 30 minutes or until the meat gets tender.
  6. Add vinegar but do not stir for about 1 minute until the vinegar is cooked. Then stir and cook for 10 more minutes
  7. Put in the sugar and salt. Stir and turn the heat off. Serve hot and enjoy with family and friends!
Genalyn Llorando

About the Author (Guest Contributor)

Genalyn Llorando

Living a life of inspiration and purpose is what makes me passionate about communicating with people in my sales mentoring and training activities. I hold a BS in Chemical Engineering and have worked 20 years in Industry and Automation. Since January 2019, I’ve been Delta Country Sales Manager for CIS-BU Philippines. I’m also a mother of two lovely girls and am married to a pastor who’s also a good cook. Connect with me @IG: genalynllorando

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