Every now and then I find the urge to write more than the minimum 500 words … and this is one of those times. How much do you love your Adobo? Should it be considered the national dish? I love, love, LOVE adobo! It is so easy to prepare and so flavorful. Additionally, it keeps for days!
In celebration of the cultural gastronomic heritage that is the Adobo, NutriAsia’s Datu Puti put Pinoys to task in finding and feting the best adobo recipes at the recent Datu Puti Adobo Challenge held last Saturday, June 11, at the Mercato Centrale food market in Bonifacio Global City, Taguig.
Launched in 2015, the Datu Puti Adobo Movement was created to push for Adobo to be our pambansang ulam. It is a movement that hits close to home because Adobo is a dish that is as personal, as it is national. Each household has its own signature Adobo, and the shared flavor defines families, identifies us as Filipinos, and boosts us as a nation. This event is also supported by partners Philippine Culinary Heritage Movement (PCHM) and the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP).
The push for Adobo has reached much acclaim and has even been echoed by efforts in Congress. In fact, Bohol First District Representative Rene Relampagos filed House Bill 3926 in 2014, which sought to formally declare it as the national dish. The Datu Puti Adobo Movement has drawn support for the bill through a petition since the launching of the advocacy in June 2015.
The Adobo Challenge
To get people more involved in the Datu Puti Adobo Movement this 2016, the advocacy group mounted the Datu Puti Adobo Challenge and gathered Mercato Centrale’s veteran home-based cooks to create their own special Adobo dish.
Participating food vendors of Mercato Centrale prepared adobo dishes using any type of meat and vegetable, and were marinated in or cooked with at least two of the three main Datu Puti products: vinegar, soy sauce, and patis (fish sauce).
The top 14 entries were selected based on various criteria, including:
- creativity of concept, which looks at the story behind the dish as well as originality, branding and cooking technique;
- innovation, noting the use of unique special ingredients and Datu Puti products; and
- Philippine culinary heritage, including how it adopts and represents regional cooking styles.
Mercato Centrale was truly the right venue to celebrate this culinary heritage and mount the Datu Puti Adobo Challenge. The Mercato Centrale food fair is the go-to destination of urban foodies. Finding its home on 7th avenue and 25th street (across The Forum and in front of the “Between the Lines” art mural) in the heart of the BGC business district, this fab food fair happening every Friday and Saturday from 6 p.m. to 3 a.m. has earned the distinction of being a hub of culinary experiences.
It is a venue for both comfort food cravings and fresh gastronomic finds all prepped by budding food entrepreneurs. During the Datu Puti Adobo Challenge, some select Mercato vendors added Adobo to their usual fare, and the foodies were all in for awesome renditions of the national comfort fave.
The Winning Adobo, Atbp. Hosted by a familiar foodie himself, Tonipet Gaba, the feast was made even more festive with musical performances by homegrown talents UpDharma Down and Ebe Dancel. It was truly a treat to see both culinary and entertainment talents back up the Adobo initiative. As guests were treated to aromatic flavors and local OPM, Pinoy pride was truly in the air.
Among the participants, the Top 3 among the entries wowed the crowd with their inspired versions of the dish. Based on criteria that took into account taste, presentation, story, and heart, three Mercato vendors were named as the winners of the Datu Puti Adobo Challenge. And based on on-the-spot voting by the Mercato foodies, one was hailed as the People’s Choice.
In the list below I’ve included the recipes, as shared by the vendors themselves. Note that when we cook it ourselves it will not taste the same, because, of course, we won’t be making it the exact same way. To experience these dishes the right way we will need to make our way to Mercato Centrale. 🙂
The big Adobo winners of the night:
First place: The Oinkery
DISH NAME: Pugon-smoked Pork Adobo
DESCRIPTION: Pork shoulder pugon-smoked for 8 hours, glazed with a rich Cebu-style adobo sauce and garnished with fresh green mango (manggang hilaw).
Inspired by Cebu’s method of cooking lechon, The Oinkery roasts their pork meat inside a traditional pugon giving it that distinct smoky taste. Matthew combines the finished product with his sister’s Cebu-style adobo sauce and garnishes it with fresh green mangoes on the side. Having been slow-cooked for a total of eight hours, the meat is guaranteed to be soft and juicy with every bite.
I found their adobo flavorful and I loved how the meat was so tender that it falls off the fork. The mango was a perfect pairing for this dish. If it were not served with the adobo I would have ordered green mango shake from one of the other vendors.
Here is the recipe of Oinkery’s Pugon-Roasted Pork Adobo.
- 1 kg. pork shoulder
- handful seasoning spices (salt, pepper, paprika, etc.)
- 30 ml. cooking oil
- 4 cloves garlic
- 200 ml. Datu Puti soy sauce
- 100 gms. brown sugar
- 200 ml. Datu Puti vinegar
- 2 pcs. bay leaf
- black peppercorns
- 1 pc. indian mango
- Pre-heat oven to 230-250F.
- Season meat with seasoning spices. (Optional: Let stand to marinate for at least 30 minutes to an hour.)
- Roast meat in oven for 8 hours or until fork tender.
- Saute garlic cloves in cooking oil.
- Combine Datu Puti soy sauce and brown sugar in cooking pan and wait for sauce to boil.
- Add the Datu Puti vinegar and wait for sauce to boil.
- After boiling place the cooked meat along with the bay leaf and peppercorns.
- Serve with steaming hot rice and garnish with strips of Indian Mango.
Second place: Dayrit’s
DISH NAME: Pork Adobong Laing Pinangat
DESCRIPTION: Two Filipino favorites, Adobo and Laing, in one unique and flavorful dish.
Pork Adobong Laing Pinangat – that’s two of the famous Filipino favorites, adobo and laing, combined in one extraordinary dish. Dayrit’s 40 years of experience in creating sumptuous heritage home-cooked meals is very evident with their entry for The Adobo Challenge 2016. According to Chef Miguel Dayrit, their version of the classic adobo recipe is different from the rest because it combines the strong flavors of two Pinoy viands to create an outstanding dish. This Bicolandia inspired concoction is a fusion of the creamy, hot and spicy and the sour and salty trademarks of laing and adobo respectively.
This was my excuse to eat something healthy. 😀 I liked it because it was a vegetable dish and had an adobo taste.
Here is the recipe of Dayrit’s Pork Adobong Laing Pinangat.
- 2 kgs. pork kasim, cubed
- 50 gms. garlic
- 2 c. Datu Puti soy sauce
- 2 c. Datu Puti vinegar
- 2 tbsps. Datu Puti patis
- 10 gms. whole pepper
- 2 pcs. laurel leaves
- whole gabi leaves
- gabi leaves, shredded
- 500 ml. kakang gata
- 5 pcs. diced siling labuyo
- thyme (used for wrapping)
- Heat the sauce pot. Put in the garlic, pork kasim, Datu Puti soy sauce, Datu Puti vinegar, and Datu Puti patis.
- Simmer until pork is tender, set aside.
- In another sauce pot put the kakang gata over low fire, stir. Be careful not to make the gata too thick.
- Pour in the Datu Puti soy sauce and Datu Puti vinegar and stir until it boils. Set aside.
- Place the pork adobo at the center of the whole gabi leaves. Put a little sauce and the gabi on top and the kakang gata. Wrap, using the thyme to secure the wrap.
- In a separate sauce pot put the mixed gata sauce with the wrapped adobo laing. Let it boil for 25 minutes, reduce the heat until the sauce thickens.
- Take off the thyme used for wrapping. Serve.
Personally, this seems too much work. I’ll just order it from Dayrit’s. 😀
Third place: Bakmi Nyonya
DISH NAME: Babi Kekap Adobo Nyonya
DESCRIPTION: Classic Filipino adobo infused with Indonesian spices. Served with Sambal.
Lucy of Bakmi Nyonya, one of the well-known food vendors in Mercato Centrale, reinvents the Pinoy classic adobo and incorporates her Indonesian-style of cooking to come up with a unique entry to the Adobo Challenge 2016. This delicate pork adobo treat is mixed with secret Indonesian spices, cooked in soy sauce and vinegar and served with the classic sambal.
I’ve always enjoyed spicy food and growing up there was this restaurant not too far from my house called Rasa Singapura where we got our stash of sambal sauce. When I had the opportunity to taste this adobo dish by Bakmi Nyonya they immediately got my vote.
Here is the recipe of Bakmi Nyonya’s Babi Kecap Adobo Nyonya.
- 1 kg. liempo with ribs
- 1 c. Datu Puti vinegar
- 1/4 c. Kecap Manis
- 1/4 c. Datu Puti soy sauce
- 3 tbsps. Datu Puti fish sauce (patis)
- 5 pcs. shallot
- 5 cloves garlic
- pepper to taste
- wine to taste
- lesser galanggal
- 100 gms. earwood mushroom
- palm sugar
- Fry pork. Add shallots and garlic.
- Saute until golden brown.
- Add all ingredients, simmer.
- Add a moderate amount, simmer.
- Cook in low heat for 3 hours.
People’s Choice Award: Lariza’s
DISH NAME: Seafood Adobo
DESCRIPTION: A mix of crab, shrimp and mussels cooked adobo style and topped with cheese.
Lariza’s, another well-known food vendor in Mercato Centrale shares their expertise in creating a unique dish for the Adobo Challenge 2016. Their very own “Seafood Adobo” is a mixture of mussels, prawns and crabs stirred in a mixture of vinegar and soy sauce, garlic, onion, pepper and finished off with cheese on top to add a creamy, tangy taste. Tess Gonzales, the proud owner of Lariza’s knew that her opponents would stick to the usual pork or chicken adobo, so she decided to come up with something edgy. With her “Seafood Adobo”, she hopes to motivate Filipinos to be more daring and “adobofy” fresh catch from the sea as an alternative to the usual adobo recipes.
This was not among my favorites. I didn’t hate it, though. It was just ok. But, to be fair, part of my issue was allergies so I have to be careful when eating seafood. If not for that I may have enjoyed it more.
My personal favorite
Sadly, my personal favorite didn’t make it. Maybe most people found it too different? It is very different and not really easy to make but definitely very delicious! Curious about it? Here is the recipe for your enjoyment.
Adobo Consomme with Duck Dumpling
- veal bones
- pork knuckles and bones
- duck bones
- carrots, celery, leeks, onions, garlic, bay leaf, peppercorns
- Datu Puti soy sauce
- Datu Puti vinegar
- egg white
- bouquet garni (parsley, peppercorns, sage, and bay leaf)
- native duck adobo cooked with Datu Puti soy sauce and cane vinegar
- shitake mushroom
- warm water
For the consomme
- Saute onions and garlic until brown and translucent.
- Add peppercorns and bay leaf.
- Drop the veal, pork, and duck bones and cook until browned making a nice caramelization on your pot surface.
- Add your Datu Puti soy sauce and vinegar and let it simmer.
- Add carrots, celery, leeks, and diced onions.
- Whip egg whites and add.
- Add warm stock and let it simmer for 2 hours then strain.
For the dumpling
- Combine salt, flour, and hot water and mix until you form a dough and let it rest for 30 minutes.
- Roll into thin discs and set aside.
- Saute garlic and shitake mushrooms. Add Datu Puti soy sauce and vinegar and then simmer.
- Add duck adobo.
- Remove from heat. Let it cool and then add carrots, breadcrumbs, flour, and egg.
All Adobo winners were awarded start-up funds in cash, so they could include their winning dishes in the regular Mercato menu. The People’s Choice awardee also received P3,000 worth of Datu Puti goods.
With these latest initiatives and the warm response of urban foodies, the Datu Puti Adobo Movement has definitely made strides in rallying more people behind the nation’s ulam of choice.
Interested parties may still support the Datu Puti Adobo Movement by signing the petition at www.adobomovement.com.