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Why is Adobo Popular?

October 4, 2021 7:50 am

When it comes to Filipino cuisine, one of the first dishes that comes to mind is the iconic adobo. Characterized by its delicious salty-sour taste and fragrance from the laurel leaves, it’s definitely one of the best dishes to represent our local food. Because of its popularity, it has spawned various adobong baboy recipes and adobong manok recipes all around the country, each having its own unique twist.

But why exactly is adobo so popular among Filipinos? Read below.

Adobo as a cooking method

According to “Adobo Queen” and home cook Nancy Reyes-Lumen, adobo was named after the way in which the dish is prepared. This is through the use of salt and vinegar in order to preserve it for longer periods of time. Because of this, most people opt to cook adobo as it lasts longer and can be heated and reheated in case there’s no time to cook new food.

Not only that, but adobo is fairly easy and straightforward to make. Each region and each individual person may differ in terms of how they prepare this dish, but certain elements allow the dish to stay the same. Namely, vinegar, salt, soy sauce, garlic, peppercorns, and laurel leaves are almost always there, with the choice open between pork, chicken, squid and some vegetables such as eggplant as the main ingredient. From there, said main ingredient is marinated in the basic adobo ingredients and then browned in the cooking process. Definitely a good starting point if you’re cooking for the first time.

Adobo as a versatile dish

As mentioned, there are different versions of adobo depending on the region and its available resources. It can be something as simple as using different kinds of vinegar. 

Bulacan’s versions of adobo use either Paombong Vinegar, Sukang Iloko (sugarcane), or coconut vinegar. In Visayas, the use of calamansi and chili is common, adding a bit of zing and kick to their adobo recipes. Mindanao uses gata for a creamier version. But even then, recipes vary across different provinces in each region. No adobo is the same per province, or even per town for that matter!

Aside from a regional and provincial perspective, adobo also differs per cook. There are those who prefer a dryer adobo with less sauce, while some serve it with the sauce to drench their rice in. Some use chicken instead of pork and vice versa, while others merge the two to create a chicken and pork adobo dish. 

The possibilities are endless when it comes to its preparation and no doubt that each cook, professional or not, has its own version. And because each cook wants to show off their own adobo version, this makes it the go-to dish to present to foreigners, making it even more popular among non-Filipinos.

So there you have it. Due to versatility, variety of options, and a relatively easy cooking method, adobo remains one of the most popular and iconic Filipino dishes. But no matter how it’s made and how each dish is different from other versions, adobo will always have that signature taste that makes it a true Filipino classic.

Want to experiment with your own adobong manok and adobong baboy recipes? Try cooking without AJI-NO-MOTO® Umami Seasoning for that yummy, savory classic adobo flavor!