Philippine Adobo is an indigenous Philippine cuisine. The origins of Philippine Adobo dates back centuries before the Spaniards arrived in the Philippines. Way back during China’s Song Dynasty (960 - 1279), Chinese merchants already had a harmonious trading relations with the natives of the Philippines. Records and annals of these travel and trades can be found in Zhu Fan Zhi, a book written by Chao Ju Kua, a Chinese superintendent of trade, published in 1225. The Chinese trades their silks, porcelain, and ceramics in exchange for herbs, spices, and crops. It was during those early times that the Chinese introduced "toyo" (Chinese Hokkien dialect: tāu-yu), referring to "soy sauce" in English. Soy sauce is one of the main ingredients of Philippine Adobo and is a traditional condiment in Southeast Asian cuisine that originated in China in 2nd century BCE. Philippine Adobo was created indigenously with the readily available ingredients in the island and cooking methods of the Filipino natives and Chinese traders. Philippine Adobo is a cuisine that Filipinos can proudly claim as their very own dish. It is an authentic Filipino recipe originally made by the natives in the Philippines.
Although Adobo is a Spanish word, the dish (Philippine Adobo) already existed long before the Spaniards arrived in the Philippines. When Philippines was colonized by Spain for nearly 400 years beginning in the early 15th century, the Spaniards saw that the dish (Philippine Adobo) is very similar to their own Spanish Adobo and so they named the Filipino dish marinated in garlic, vinegar, and soy sauce as Adobo. The version of Spanish Adobo consist mainly of paprika, oregano, salt, garlic, and vinegar. Spanish Adobo was widely adopted in Mexico, Puerto Rico, Cuba and other islands in the Caribbean and Latin America.
Pork adobo, also known as Adobong Baboy in tagalog, is a stewed pork meat in a mixture of garlic, vinegar, and soy sauce. It is a very a popular Filipino recipe in the Philippines and almost every household knows how to prepare it for lunch, dinner, and even breakfast. In fact, it is a signature dish of the Filipinos. It is being served on special occasions like bario fiestas, birthdays, Christmas, noche beunas, christenings, weddings, meetings, reunions, and other important gatherings.
There are different variations of Philippine pork adobo, made from one region to another. In Batangas, for example, they love to sauté the pork first before stewing. In Pampanga, they love to use salt instead of soy sauce. In Laguna, they love to use sweet onions. In visayas, they love to add coconut milk. Other regions love to add sugar. Filipino pork adobo continues to evolve even abroad and here in Los Angeles, Angelenos like to add oyter sauce. However, the most common way of cooking pork adobo is by marinating the pork with garlic, soy sauce and vinegar.
Pork Adobo Ingredients
- 2 lbs pork belly (liempo); cut in chunks
- 1 head garlic; pounded
- 6 tablespoons soy sauce
- 6 tablespoons vinegar
- 1 cup water
- dried bay leaves
- 1/2 tablespoon pepper corns
- 1 tablespoon oyster sauce (optional ingredient)
Pork Adobo Cooking Instructions
- Combine all the ingredients in a pot, except the oyster sauce.
- Marinate for sometime (30 minutes, an hour, or a day).
- Boil the marinated mixture until little sauce is left and then add the oyster sauce.
- Continue to simmer until and oily sauce is left.
- Serve hot!
- Adding 1 tablespoon of oyster sauce will make your pork adobo more delicious.
- Pork loin or butt is a good substitute if you don't like pork belly for your adobo.