Philippine Adobo: History, Types, and Cooking Process

By Team ABJ

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If you’re a fan of delicious and flavorful dishes, then you’re in for a treat! In this post, we’ll dive into the wonderful world of Philippine Adobo. Learn about its rich history, the different types of adobo, and the simple cooking process that makes this dish a beloved classic in Filipino cuisine. Get ready to tantalize your taste buds and discover the secrets behind this mouthwatering culinary delight.

What is Philippine Adobo?

Philippine adobo is a popular dish in Filipino cuisine that typically consists of meat, seafood, or vegetables that are marinated in a mixture of soy sauce, vinegar, garlic, and other spices, and then cooked low and slow until tender. The dish is often served with steamed rice and is considered a staple in Filipino cuisine.

Adobo is a Spanish word that means “marinade” or “sauce,” and the dish itself is thought to have originated from the Spanish method of preserving meat in vinegar and spices. However, the Filipino version of adobo has evolved to incorporate local ingredients and cooking techniques, making it uniquely Filipino.

What is the history of Philippine Adobo?

The history of Philippine adobo is closely tied to the country’s colonial past. The dish is believed to have originated in the pre-colonial Philippines as a way of preserving meat using vinegar and salt. When the Spanish colonized the Philippines in the 16th century, they introduced their own cooking techniques and ingredients to the locals, including the use of soy sauce and bay leaves.

Over time, the Filipino people adapted these ingredients and cooking methods to create their own unique version of adobo. The dish became popular among the working class because it was easy to prepare, affordable, and could be stored for several days without spoiling. It also became a symbol of Filipino culture and identity, as it represented the blending of Spanish and indigenous influences.

During World War II, when food was scarce, adobo became even more popular as a way to stretch limited supplies of meat. Today, adobo remains a staple in Filipino cuisine and is enjoyed in many different variations across the country.

Various types of Philippine Adobo Dishes

There are many variations of Philippine adobo, and each region of the country has its own unique twist on the dish. Here are some of the most popular types of adobo:

1. Chicken adobo This is one of the most popular types of adobo and is made with chicken, soy sauce, vinegar, garlic, and bay leaves.

2. Pork adobo – This version uses pork instead of chicken and is often made with a mix of pork belly and pork shoulder.

3. Adobong pusit – This version uses squid instead of meat and is cooked in adobo sauce until tender.

4. Adobong manok sa gata – This variation of chicken adobo is cooked with coconut milk, which adds a creamy richness to the dish.

5. Adobo sa dilaw – This version of adobo uses turmeric, which gives the dish a bright yellow color and a slightly different flavor.

6. Adobo flakes – This is a shredded version of adobo that is typically served with garlic fried rice.

7. Adobo sa pula – This version uses red wine instead of vinegar and has a richer, more complex flavor.

8. Adobong baboy sa gata – This version of pork adobo is cooked with coconut milk and often includes a variety of vegetables, such as green beans and eggplant.

Philippine adobo cooking process

The cooking process for Philippine adobo is relatively simple, but the key is to cook the dish low and slow to allow the flavors to develop and the meat to become tender. Here’s a general recipe and cooking process for chicken adobo:


  • 1 kilogram chicken, cut into serving pieces
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup vinegar
  • 1 head garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
  • 2-3 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon cooking oil
  • 1 cup water


In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat the cooking oil over medium heat. Add the minced garlic and sauté until fragrant.

Step 1: Add the chicken pieces to the pot and cook until lightly browned on all sides.

Step 2: Add the soy sauce, vinegar, black peppercorns, and bay leaves to the pot. Stir well to combine.

Step 3: Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for about 30 minutes. Make sure to cover the pot with a lid.

Step 4: After 30 minutes, add the water to the pot and continue to simmer for another 30 minutes or until the chicken is fully cooked and tender. Make sure to stir occasionally to prevent sticking and burning.

Step 5: Once the chicken is fully cooked, remove the pot from the heat and let the adobo cool for a few minutes before serving.

Serve the adobo hot over a bed of steamed rice, and enjoy!

Note: Some variations of adobo may require additional steps or ingredients. For example, adobong pusit (squid adobo) may require a shorter cooking time to prevent the squid from becoming tough and rubbery. It’s always a good idea to refer to a specific recipe for the type of adobo you want to cook.

Philippine adobo main dish

Yes, Philippine adobo is typically served as a main dish and is often accompanied by steamed rice. The dish is a staple in Filipino cuisine and is often served at special occasions and family gatherings. Adobo is also a popular comfort food and is enjoyed by many Filipinos as a hearty and satisfying meal.

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