A close-up view of pork adobo with brown rice gourmet
Food - Drink
How Adobo Became A Filipino Staple
Depending on where you are and who you talk to, adobo means different things. From adobo marinade in Spain to Mexico’s adobo chili paste and the Caribbean’s adobo spice rub, adobo exists in a variety of forms across the world, and the dish even exists in the Philippines, where its origins trace back to before any Spanish influence.
The first record of adobo in the Philippines appears in a 1612 book compiled by Pedro de San Buenaventura, who wrote about a dish that he dubbed adobo de los naturales because it was similar to something he had already experienced in Spain and Mexico. However, historians believe that what later came to be known as adobo existed on the islands before then.
Before Magellan, Filipinos had learned to keep meat from spoiling in the humid climate by steaming or boiling it with vinegar, salt, and soy sauce. Today, Filipino adobo has multiple varieties, incorporating anything from garlic and bay leaves to annatto water and coconut milk, and historian Ambeth Ocampo estimates there are “21.8 million adobo recipes” in the Philippines.