Know the Different Kinds of Adobo in the Philippines
There is great variety in the way adobo is prepared in different regions across the country.
Pork or chicken (or both), boiled slowly into a sauce of vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, black peppercorns, and bay leaves—then served over a cup of hot steaming rice? For us Filipinos, this is nothing less than sweet, sweet music to our ears! Dubbed by many as the unofficial national dish and undoubtedly a local favorite, there is great variety in the way adobo is prepared in different regions across the country. With our 7,107 islands, what did you expect?
Southern Luzon is a region that uses copious amounts of coconut milk. Here, locals add both coconut water and coconut meat to their adobo. The flavors that come out are light, sweet, and earthy.
Turmeric is braised along with the meat in this adobo version, giving this dish its famously yellow color. This dish’s origins are rooted in Cavite, where the turmeric root crop grows in abundance. Slightly peppery with hints of ginger, turmeric gives adobo a real kick!
A favorite in the Visayas region, adobong puti is pretty much the classic adobo without the soy sauce. It is braised simply with salt, vinegar, and plenty of garlic. This was how Filipino natives cooked the dish before incorporating the flavor of soy sauce, which was a Chinese import.
The Bicol region is fond of gata (coconut milk) and sili (chili), so Bicolanos like to cook their adobo with a touch of both.
Flavoring adobo with achuete, or annatto oil, is a popular practice in the Visayas and Southern Luzon regions of the Philippines. The use of annatto oil in adobo is linked to the early Spanish colonization, where Filipinos developed a strong inclination to Spanish flavors.
Adobo isn’t limited to just pork and chicken, the flavorful sauce is wonderful with fish, squid, and even shrimp! Here is a new take on the favorite Filipino stew, where shrimp and coconut milk are boiled seamlessly into a creamy adobo.