Adobong BaboyThe adobo is an iconic dish of the Philippines, whose roots can be traced back even before the Spanish colonized the country. Although the term “adobo” is a Spanish term, Filipinos have been cooking this type of dish way before the country was discovered. Here is how the story goes: When the Spanish colonized the Philippines, they came across this indigenous way of preparation in which meat was cooked in a combination of vinegar, soy sauce, peppercorns and garlic.

When the Spanish colonists observed this method of cooking, they then referred to it as adobo, which translates to “marinade.” So while the term may have been coined by the Spanish, the adobo is truly a Filipino original. Furthermore, although Filipinos have grown accustomed to chicken and pork, or a combination of both as the recipe for making adobo, there is no limit to what you can use for the dish. You can use seafood such as pusit (squid) or galunggong (round scad), kangkong (swamp cabbage), sitaw (long beans) and other vegetables or even beef as your primary ingredient for adobo. Others add quartered potatoes, canned pineapples or hard-boiled eggs. Some add pure coconut milk. There are as many methods of cooking adobo as there are regions in the Philippines. Each family has its own version that is handed down to younger generations. This is a traditional recipe for pork adobo.


Serves 4 to 6

  • 1 kilo pork belly, cut into 2-inch thick pieces
  • 6 tbsp soy sauce
  • 6 tbsp white vinegar
  • 1 head garlic, crushed
  • 1/2 small onion, chopped
  • 1/2 tbsp whole peppercorns
  • 1-3 pieces dried bay leaves
  • 1/2 tsp brown sugar (optional)
  • 1 cup of water
  • Cooking oil
  • Salt to taste


In a bowl combine the meat, garlic, peppercorns and soy sauce and leave the ingredients to marinade for at least 30 minutes to an hour.

In a sauce pan, sauté onion, then add the bay leaves and marinated pork. Continue sautéing the ingredients until whatever liquid is in the pan has evaporated and the pork starts to render fat. Pour the marinade and one cup of water into the pan and allow to boil under medium heat until pork is tender, for about 40 minutes. Once the meat becomes tender, add the vinegar and let simmer for another 15 minutes, without stirring. Let simmer until just a little oily sauce remains or until the sauce thickens. Season with salt if necessary.

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