Dish Stories

Updated: Mar 21, 2019

Origin - Philippines

#Filipino #Marinade #Tangy #Chicken

Adobo is by far one of the most popular and classic dishes in Philippine cuisine. The existence of the dish was first recorded in the early 1600s by a Spaniard, but its roots predate colonial contact. The word adobo literally translates to "vingear-braised". The cooking process involves marinating meat, seafood, or vegetables in vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, and black peppercorns which is then browned in oil until it simmers into a tangy marinade.

Chicken and rice
A plate of Chicken Adobo over rice

Although the origins of the dish are uniquely Filipino in origin, the word adobo itself comes from the Spanish word adobar, which means "marinade". While Filipino adobo in a sense can be considered adobor in the Spanish sense, it is much more specific to a cooking process rather than a recipe thus it is common to find people in the same household cooking adobo in contrasting ways as almost every ingredient can be changed to personal preference.

The ingredients used to make the dish already existed in the Philppines before the first Spanish ships arrived. However, because the dish's original name was never recorded, the Spanish moniker stayed and the indigenous name was lost to history. Natives developed various methods of keeping their edibles fresh for a longer period using methods like steaming and/or boiling. They also used a liberal amount of vinegar and salt to stave off potential food hazards that may potentially spoil the food. Chinese traders down the road introduced soy sauce which eventually found its way into the dish taking the place of salt altogether. Like most Filipino foods, there are many faces to this sumptuous dish. Chicken is considered the standard version served in homes and restaurants the nation over but beef, pork and even squid adobo dishes can be found in addition to many other variations. Today, many young Filipino restauranteurs have taken a 21st-century spin to this five-century-old dish by putting adobo in sushi rolls, sandwiches, salads, and pasta dishes to name a few. A large number of Philippine snack products such as chips, nuts, noodles, and crackers are marketed as adobo flavored.

Photo by ‘Jack Lawrence’


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