07 May2008


I set out to make a pork adobo the way I suspected my forefathers did a couple of hundred years or more ago. And it turned out to be the BEST ADOBO I have ever made and/or tasted. THE BEST ADOBO. Knowing that I did it from scratch, and toiled over a palayok (clay pot) on a wood fire for nearly three hours, perhaps I was just woozy from the smoke and loss of body fluids and salts or simply romanticizing the results. But a few days later, I tasted the adobo again, after it sat on the kitchen counter in a large garapon (glass jar) under a layer of solidified lard, in the sweltering tropical heat, and I knew this was the real deal…


Who really knows how the first adobos were created and what they tasted like? We can only take intelligent guesses, and like many dishes from say 500+ years ago, they probably had very few critical ingredients. I would also take a wild guess that they were really more practical in nature… meant to provide sustenance not palate or visual amusement, to preserve for many days or even weeks, and to be practical and uncomplicated. So my best guess is that the “original” adobos were simply wild boar or pigs, salt and possibly coconut vinegar. These basic ingredients all existed here hundreds of years ago. Black peppercorns may have come later, as did cloves of garlic and bay leaves. And certainly, soy sauce or toyo, which a whopping 70-80% of marketmanila’s readers polled said they added to their adobos, are something of the last 100-200 years or so. In fact, I suspect the sudden shift to soy sauce as an ingredient really only took hold in the past 40-50 years for the vast majority of the Filipino population.


The reason I was trying to do an adobo as it was probably made hundreds of years ago was to understand the “soul” of this dish. Adobo is so common today, available from carinderias to five star hotels, in several variations with coconut milk, soy sauce, chillies, etc.), but in many cases, it seems to lack character. I did a long post on a “blonde” and “brunette” adobo here, but even those versions were rooted in fond personal memories from cooking the dish when I was at college in Boston some 25 years ago, and it was definitely a more modern take on the dish… So here is a detailed description of my attempt to cook an adobo with character…


Ideally, I wanted to start with a freshly slaughtered pig. But the chilled section of S&R had to do instead. I got two large fatty pieces of pork labelled lechon kawali and I picked the packages with the MOST visible fat on purpose. Roughly 3 kilos of pork or roughly 6.5 pounds worth. Back home, I cut the pork into large cubes, say 1.25 inch square, and the several layers of fat were clearly visible (see second photo up top). I could have done just a vinegar and salt version (say circa 1500 or so) but I decided to go with a version with vinegar, salt, garlic, bay leaves and peppercorns instead (perhaps circa 1700-1800 or so). NO SOY SAUCE of any kind. For salt, I used sea salt or rock salt, without iodine, purchased along the Ilocos shore. For vinegar, I used organic coconut vinegar from Bicol. Around 15 cloves of smaller “native” garlic, lots of whole black peppercorns, and both dried bay leaves and several fresh bay leaves that I cut from our garden.


To cook, I started a wood fire on “low” intensity and into the palayok went the pork, garlic, bay leaves, peppercorns and a LOT of salt, say 1/3 cup for 3 kilos. Add about 1/2 to 3/4 cup of water and place the covered palayok, over the fire. About 10 minutes after it starts to boil, carefully toss the contents to prevent the meat from sticking to the bottom of the palayok, with the cover held down tightly to prevent a hot spill. Open, add about 1.5 cups of coconut vinegar and keep it uncovered until some of the vinegar evaporates, say 15 minutes. Cover the palayok again and maintain a low fire so the meat just simmers slightly… for 2 hours or so. What appears to be a bland pale stew slowly morphs into a light brown adobo with a sort of emulsified sauce that is rich and flavorful. My total cooking time was roughly 160 minutes. Add some additional water if it looks like it is drying out.


About two-thirds into the cooking, I instinctively knew I had a winner. This was clearly shaping up into one of the finest slow cooked dishes I have ever done. The aroma alone and the consistency of the meat and the bubbling fat bode well for the final product. I began to think about adobo more, and came to the conclusion that it was really sort of like a tropical pork confit, similar to duck legs that had been stewed in rich duck fat for a long, long time. And the use of a clay pot just added that special something to the simple ingredients… the pot seems to draw away moisture, intensify flavor and stew the meat more gently… If you can imagine a pot that starts off dry and lifeless and after nearly 3 hours appears to be glistening and sweating pork fat… that was what I was working with. Good stuff indeed.


The large palayok that was nearly filled with pork at the start, was now just over half filled with adobo, as it reduced and the fat was rendered and the moisture evaporated. When I finally pulled it off the fire, the contents were a rich brown, and many folks, if asked, would probably guess it included some soy sauce, if only because of the color. And the taste? Utterly superb. As I said in the title, the best adobo I have ever cooked. It was incredibly flavorful, and the flavor was imbedded in every shred of meat, not just on the surface of a cut of pork. The meat broke apart easily and the sauce was just screaming for its life partner, boiled rice. The dish was sticky and the fat deadly, but the taste was worth it. If there was one criticism I would have, it was that the meat was almost too smokey. I was a bit impatient and kept opening the lid of the palayok and I think the meat got too much smokey essence, but it added to the much sought after “character.” I realize many readers will think, “here he goes again, around the bend a little, a little OTT,” but until you have tried this type of adobo, don’t knock it. This definitely had LOTS of soul.


But I only ate a few pieces the afternoon that I cooked this. I waited for it to cool and stuck in in a large garapon (glass jar) and added all of the rendered fat as well. It seems incredulous, but I lacked fat to really cover all of the meat. The next time I have to add several more huge pieces of fat. I wanted to see if the adobo would keep several days on the kitchen counter, without refrigeration or preservatives, just like in the old days. We have friends who told us once that their lola used to make huge vats of adobo, keep it in a ceramic jar under inches of lard, and for several weeks would dip in to get a portion to fry up and serve at a meal… doesn’t that just sound fantastic? Of course this made sense as without refrigeration, and an abundance of meat when a pig was slaughtered, this form of preserving meat was totally practical! It is also the reason that adobo is the perfect picnic food or lunch meal brought out to the rice fields and left under the shade of a tree for several hours before it is consumed.


A few days later, we fried up half of the garapon of adobo and it tasted brilliant! I liked the freshly cooked version because it had a thick gravy or sauce with it. But I also liked the fried version as it had nice deep brown caramelized bits on the pork cubes, but the fat was in the form of less appetizing huge oil slick. Both versions paired brilliantly with some homemade papaya acharra. I also served the fried version with a bitter and bracing mustasa salad with a bagoong, kalamansi and chilli dressing. And the shredded adobo as a filling for pan de sal? Heaven, again. Ahh, there is the other half of the garapon to enjoy in a few more days… :)



  1. Chris says:

    Awesome recipe MM! Very close to a confit, which is what I imagine genuine adobo’s roots to be. Don’t you just find those sweet, saucy adobo that is common nowadays just plain appalling? I will definitely try this one. I’m currently experimenting with an adobo/confit recipe for a publication.

    May 7, 2008 | 1:47 am


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  3. Maria Clara says:

    Thanks for the brief history of abodo making and its endless variations. One of our national dish every region has its own version. In Batangas they use luyang dilaw/turmeric or atsuete to add color to their adobo. Up in Bicol they use coconut milk. Slow braising is a time-honored way of cooking meat with all the flavor marrying and developing slowly. With the use of an earthen cooking pot it really brought out the flavor of the vinegar, garlic and the meat. Anything cooked in vinegar lasts for at least a week as vinegar inhibits the growth of bacteria which is common in our cuisine before the advent of refrigeration. To keep the food away from the predators aside from humans in the old days people kept their food up in the ceiling in a rattan basket with pulley and Manila rope or an aparador or armoire like with a screen around it and the legs soaked in crude oil to lure away ants. Your mestisang adobo looks heavenly perhaps if you lined your jar with wilted banana leaves it will give it another layer of flavor profile. I love to eat my adobo with latundan banana variety and chopped tomatoes with sauteed bagoong alamang.

    May 7, 2008 | 2:30 am

  4. wysgal says:

    That sounds ridiculously fatty but also super yummy … three hours! Talk about a labor of love. Seems a bit strange to cook adobo with zero soy sauce, but it’s nice to see that it still came out nice and lightly browned in the end.

    May 7, 2008 | 2:34 am

  5. natie says:

    look at that lovely color. yeah..i remember atsuete, peppercorns and lots of garlic. i could remember how it tasted.

    May 7, 2008 | 2:59 am

  6. pixeldose says:

    ‘Was just reading about ‘confit’ the other day after watching an Iron Chef episode with Morimoto and a challenger cooking up dishes based on the ‘sablefish’ main ingredient and was pleasantly surprised to learn how meat can be preserved the ‘confit’ way — i.e., slow cooking meat that is submerged in its own fat and then storing them in a jar for a long period of time.

    Your pork adobo ala MM sure looks really tempting though. I wonder if chicken adobo cooked this way would turn out just as good. We probably would have to stop trimming off those fatty tissues and skins just to see how it would turn out :).

    May 7, 2008 | 3:20 am

  7. kasseopeia says:

    Stuck in the office with 300+ programs to edit at 4:13 in the morning and I see MM with the best adobo he has ever cooked with descriptions that would make any self-respecting food lover drool…


    This is going to be an even longer day than I had anticipated.

    Hehe… as usual, my daily dose of MM has left me drooling!

    May 7, 2008 | 4:13 am

  8. Apicio says:

    This can definitely worsen the run on rice among Market Manila frequenters.

    May 7, 2008 | 4:18 am

  9. fried-neurons says:

    I am totally going to try that. Minus the palayok and wood fire, though. I’ll use your recipe and cook it in a heavy enamel pot instead. I love pork adobo, and I’m always looking for new recipes. Thanks for the post!

    May 7, 2008 | 5:11 am

  10. Roberto Vicencio says:

    The wife of one of my shipmates on the USS Midway used to mail us glass jars of adobo. We’d run hot water on the jar to sort of warm it up and that was all it needed. Kept the jar in our workshop where the ambient temp was always quite high. We would not hink anything about grabbing the jar from the locker and spooning a couple of pieces of meat and some sauce. It took us about two weeks to run through the jar. Never did refrigerate the jar.

    May 7, 2008 | 5:27 am

  11. gemma says:

    soul food indeed!!!

    May 7, 2008 | 5:28 am

  12. Silly Lolo says:

    My Lolo used to say: Just like sex, all adobo is good – it is just that some are better than others!

    This definitely sounds like the better variety. Thanks much MM!

    May 7, 2008 | 6:09 am

  13. Maricel says:

    In the Adobo cookbook Nancy Reyes Lumen mentioned that her Lola the famed Aristocrat matriarch used to place a whole slab of fat with skin on at the bottom of the adobo pot.

    May 7, 2008 | 6:50 am

  14. Francis says:

    My favorite parts of any adobo or paksiw na lechon are the small pieces that break off a much larger piece and settle as strands at the bottom of the dish. Usually strands of meat that are really tender and flavorful. If there is enough of this “durog-durog” meat, I wouldn’t even considr the whole pieces.

    May 7, 2008 | 7:29 am

  15. dhayL says:

    Thanks for the recipe! Adobo is one dish I cannot master to be honest, everytime I try to make it, i know that something is still missing…I will definitely try this version soon! :)

    May 7, 2008 | 7:34 am

  16. solraya says:

    That looks so good :)

    I can’t recall where I have read it, but you take the “slow cooking, low fire” to all stages. The article said, how you patiently saute will show your love for your mother-in-law.

    Since then, my simple sauteed spinach or even kangkong were most flavorful.

    Running against the norm of heated pans, place your oil and fresh garlic in a pan. Then set it over low heat. Wait forever for the garlic to tan, then add your onions. Still in that low heat, do what you have to do, as you wait for the onions to wilt and blend with the garlic and oil. Do this for all your tomatoes and ginger. You get that hard to describe blend of flavours. Must be what the ginisa cubes have tried to create :)

    At this point, I add whatever leafy vegetable I want. Throwing in that just washed leaves, I cover the pot, stir fry a little, cover the pot and turn off the heat.

    Got carried away with the slow cooking , low fire of the Adobo. hmmmmm natually raised pigs will really be good.

    May 7, 2008 | 7:48 am

  17. enteng says:

    wonderful MM!!!

    just wondering…is it possible to cook on the clay pot on top of the stove? should i still get the same results minus the smoky flavor?


    May 7, 2008 | 8:18 am

  18. lee says:

    This is perfect! I’ll call my butcher, buy some cute native garlic, bay leaves, a nice local vinegar.. and I’ll try to sneak in and steal a hanging palayok from a children’s party somewhere.

    May 7, 2008 | 8:25 am

  19. Nancy Reyes Lumen says:

    Hello, adoboking…there’s no other dish that can awaken the Pinoy “soul” in eating than adobo. This is why The Adobo Book hits close to home bec there are as many ways to cook it as there are many adobo-philes like you and us. Garlic and peppercorn, laurel (I envy your fresh laurel—have tried to grow several plants which failed!)were colonial while soy sauce was brought by he Chinese. Nick Joaquin said that adobado – the cookery was adapted from the Mexican/Spaniard colonizers BUT ADOBO is our very own — a new dish in itself after the Pinoy innovated on the stewing method.
    This is a dish we should all be proud of, and embrace all the pork belly fat, sticky skin. It is an umami-tsunami!
    I love this whole adobo series that you’ve done…thanks for once again enobling our national dish.
    As Maricel commented, Aling Asiang (of Aristocrat) cooked a mean adobo – i call it a clan adobo bec it was in a talyasi involving about 20 kilos pork. Took a whole day to cook, rendered gallons of pork fat to be used naman later for bagoong guisado. We weren’t allowed to touch it till next day, and waw…pare…complete silence in the room, everyone’s busy with her adobo and rice — galit-galit muna!
    Thanks again for this adobo tribute. Are you a fat guy?

    May 7, 2008 | 9:00 am

  20. kongwi says:

    classic, traditional, perfect adobo…no soy sauce…try eating it with a side dish of tomatoes, green mangoes (or better yet, the very young leaf/shoots of the mango or cashew tree which we call “putat” ing kapampangan) and cilantro…drizzle your just cooked hot rice with the fat, and in beating mouthfuls, eat banana, ripe mango or chico…haaaay

    May 7, 2008 | 9:01 am

  21. joey says:

    This is SO getting done! Thank you thank you for this recipe!!! I have a palayok but no wood-burning fire, but I figure I’ll just plop it on the stove top…I can’t wait!

    Didn’t soy sauce come with the Chinese? And if we were making adobo before then, then the original adobo really didn’t have any. And how this has been simmering in its own fat and then stored in it certainly does remind me of confit!

    I can’t wait to try this! I have to review your palayok posts first…

    May 7, 2008 | 9:04 am

  22. Wishful-Parent says:

    A great article on “adobo.” Unfortunately, I don’t think I can buy “palayok” here. I wish I can make great tasting “adobo” with my pressure cooker. I’m always pressed for time.

    May 7, 2008 | 9:17 am

  23. yayagoose says:

    Adobo is the reason why I still could not be a vegetarian. I’ve been thinking of cooking adobo these past nights, and it looks like I will try this version soon, but I will have to use urban cookware though. :-D

    May 7, 2008 | 10:24 am

  24. CecileJ says:

    Yum! That looks really good!…And i do like abit of smokey taste in my adobo. At home we make 2 versions of adobo: one with soy sauce and one without. And like the typical binalot, we sometimes add boiled eggs and tomatoes as side dishes. Sarap! National dish!…and wow, a comment from The Nancy Lumen!

    May 7, 2008 | 11:27 am

  25. iya says:


    May 7, 2008 | 12:14 pm

  26. chad says:

    Oh yeah, MM, you’re ready for war! Or lunch. Next up, you should do a chicken-pork combo in a garapon too.

    May 7, 2008 | 12:40 pm

  27. Marketman says:

    Iya, I wish! I think the adobo would have tasted even better if I used happy and smiling organic pigs! CecileJ, I think the toyo became popular as it shortens the cooking time dramatically… yayagoose, just do it nice and slow. Wishful Parent, try this slow cook recipe, but only visit the pot ever 20-30 minutes or so and do other tasks in between. You can also make several kilos of adobo and freeze or refrigerate for several meals! Joey, yes, the soy sauce came with the Chinese, but actually, I think it was only really widely available in the last century or less. When you make your adobo, use more salt than you think is necessary. It balances the vinegar and over hours of cooking, it really permeates the meat. I myself was shocked by the amount I put and I even added a bit more later in the cooking process. kongwi, I am intrigued by the sweet fruit and adobo mixture… sweet and salty and sour if you use green mango… delicious, I am sure! Nancy Reyes Lumen, I am overweight for my height, but I wouldn’t quite say I am FAT?! :) Hahaha… in the archives are a few photos of me from behind… And your book on adobo was one of the first Filipino cookbooks I ever read, several years ago. lee, I suspect this dish is right up your alley. enteng, I think it is possible to cook on the stove top, but I haven’t done it myself I suspect it would do well in an oven as well. solraya, yes, slow does have its advantages… such flavor! dhayL, if I remember correctly, you live in the Northeast, so maybe one of the problems is the leaner pork in the U.S., and secondly, the vinegar you use. When I lived in Boston, I used apple cider vinegar, and I loved it, but it was different from local adobos… Francis, I love the little pieces too… sort of like the adobo equivalent of gold nuggets! Maricel, and just minutes after you mention Nancy Reyes, she leaves a comment! :) Now I know editors and writers from almost all local food magazines and larger newspapers have been reading a little of this blog… heehee. I should be reading the mainstream press, not the other way around, no? :) Don’t get me wrong, I am flattered. Silly Lolo, as usual, you have pulled out an appropriately green comment on something as basic as adobo! Roberto Vicencio, if I worked on alarge ship, I would LOVE to receive this in a garapon! fried neurons, Le Creuset or similar pot should work. You may even want to try doing it in an oven… just watch it to make sure it doesn’t dry out. Apicio, members of the crew mashed the fat and sauce into their rice with glee. They loved the sticky consistency and said it was “just like the adobo they made back in the provinces…” kasseopeia, I hope you got some adobo at lunch! pixeldose, chicken might shred to bits on a such a long cooking period. But duck adobo, that is another story… wysgal, you HAVE to try a no-soy sauce version, it is a real eye opener. I think soy sauce is a convenient shortcut, but it doesn’t give the depth of flavor that a slow-cooked adobo gets… Chris, this is a pinoy confit… it is flavorful, salty but not overly so, and I suspect it would taste brilliant with duck legs… I once made a duck adobo that was good, but this aproach would make it even better.

    May 7, 2008 | 12:51 pm

  28. topster says:

    Hi MarketMan! Adobo without soy sauce is nothing new, well, to me at least. When I was young and when we visited our grandparents in Pampanga, we were often served this kind of adobo. It is more on the sour side and had no soy sauce. I often wondered why my grandparents’ adobo was different from the ones we had back home.

    Quick question, did the adobo of long ago use also sugar? As far as I know sugar was used to extend a dish’s shelflife.

    May 7, 2008 | 1:19 pm

  29. Marketman says:

    topster, you are right, no soy sauce adobo isn’t new, it’s really old. Most people used to do it this way. Not sure if the old recipes had sugar, but I would take a wild guess that they did not… but that is a guess.

    May 7, 2008 | 1:23 pm

  30. linda says:

    Naku! I had to make a trip to the asian shop to buy some native vinegar as I only had cider and the shop had only palm vinegar and it says in the bottle “4% natural acidity”. I hope this will work when I cook my adobo tonight.

    MM,your adobo version sounds good to me,so I’ll try yours!

    May 7, 2008 | 2:43 pm

  31. peko2x says:

    your photos make me droooooooooooool MM!!! sarap!!

    May 7, 2008 | 2:59 pm

  32. dhanggit says:

    Oh my God, this is my favorite!! I have been craving for adobo these past few days, I would admit that my dad’s version of adobo without toyo simmered for a very long time and topped with fried garlic is the best one I ever tasted, your photos MM looks stunningly delicious!! I’ll probably cook one tonight!!

    May 7, 2008 | 3:02 pm

  33. Homebuddy says:

    That adobo looks so inviting and full of flavor. Ah…adobo, the perfect pinoy comfort food which they say signify identity, ethnic pride and a sense of belonging. The vinegar acts as preservative allowing it to last for days even without refrigeration. The regional differences in the pinoy adobo is diverse. In the visayan dialect, adobo might be saucy, moist, dry, crisp or crunchy, fatty, lean, whole or shredded but the term would still be adobo. Beef can also be used instead of pork. Soy sauce is not added because it prevents the skin from getting crisp and crunchy,like bagnet, if this is the style desired.
    In my opinion the perfect adobo to one might not be the same as that of your best friend’s or neighbor’s, no offense there MM. I only think that imprinted in our minds and memories is the adobo our mothers served at our tables, the one you grew up eating, the adobo that reminds you of mother and home that makes it perfect when cooked and served.
    Talking of mothers, advance “Happy Mother’s Day”!

    May 7, 2008 | 3:10 pm

  34. allen says:

    You are wicked! This post is making me crave pork adobo, and I’ve vowed never to eat pork again! With your site, I can never fulfill my dream of being a full-fledged vegetarian. BTW, that adobo looks like the one my lola used to make, i used to eat it with chopped tomatoes, boiled kamote tops and bagoong or patis.

    May 7, 2008 | 3:45 pm

  35. Mila says:

    Oh my, have returned from days of eating seafood and am now craving pork adobo after reading this. I love the 101 Adobo book edited by Nancy Reyes, and have given it out to a lot of friends so they can tinker with their personal adobo recipes. But sans palayok and wood burning oven, i will stick to crockpot cooking the adobo and maybe add some particles of smoke to it for flavor heehee.

    May 7, 2008 | 4:20 pm

  36. Sandy says:

    Wow, MM! That is the ultimate adobo! Fatty pork, no toyo added and cooked in palayok to boot! My mom and lolas make this kind of adobo, though not in a palayok. We also like the meat nicely browned, the sauce almost dry and the whole dish, deliciously sticky.

    As you have suggested to ‘fried-neurons’, I will try cooking this in the oven. Thanks for the adobo inspiration today!

    May 7, 2008 | 4:43 pm

  37. Macris says:

    I will definitely cook this today for dinner, minus the palayok :)

    May 7, 2008 | 5:20 pm

  38. rianne says:

    Hi MM!I also cook my adobo this way, an old recipe from my late grandma…it really is superb tasting! The best!

    May 7, 2008 | 5:23 pm

  39. sonny sj says:

    MM, have you tried the twice-cooked adobo? It uses the same ingredients, and yes, no soy sauce. The only difference is half way through the simmering process, pour out and keep the sauce in a bowl. Add lots of oil to the pork and fry until golden brown, return the sauce and simmer until almost dry. Sarap!

    May 7, 2008 | 5:45 pm

  40. stephen says:

    They sell a mean pork adobo at the salcedo market- the pepi cubano stall.
    it’s to die for- dry, no soy sauce- you can see the fatty sauce- looks like yours actually!- sarrrappp! it gets sold fast so you have to go early. Not expensive either.

    May 7, 2008 | 5:55 pm

  41. alicia says:

    While that adobo does look delicious and I have vowed to try this recipe for my next adobo meal, those bay leaves are what has piqued my interest most from this post. They are so green and look so fresh, may I ask where you got them? Will have to look around the market as my bay leaves are always of the dried variety.

    May 7, 2008 | 6:04 pm

  42. sam says:

    MM, Fabulous! This is exactly the recipe the I remember from childhood. I remember my Mom telling me not to get too attached to the cute piggies in the farm, because they will all end up in a big jar when the endless Bicol storms come. Yes, we cooked adobo to prepare for those “knock-out all the power line storms” that hit the region at least 3-5 times each year. I craved adobo from childhood but could not seem to nail the flavor over the stove top or even the barbie. In college, I even dared fire up a tiny kettle Weber to make my adobo (or ocassionally, fry up some GG’s as I have an endless fascination for the crispy fried GG flavor, head and tail included!). Here is a Bicol recipe for you to try: I posted it sometime last year and since you are into your fantastic pig-out phase, let it rain lard!!! http://errantpotter.blogspot.com/2007/05/bicol-express-ligao-version.html I will send you tidbits on Turkey when I dig them out, hopefully before your trip. Right now, all I remember is: Istanbul is a good place to get fabulous trinkets for Mrs. M! Thank you for the wonderful posts. Enjoy your upcoming break!!

    May 7, 2008 | 6:33 pm

  43. Digs says:

    MM,Adobo in a garapon is one of my Nanay’s ‘pabaong ulam’ way back my college days in Manila.

    May 7, 2008 | 6:34 pm

  44. sam says:

    BTW, this is for all the MM readers: it is so heartwarming to read that a single post about the beloved adobo is caused yet another wonderful flurry of warm replies to the post. Wherever we are in the world, I guess our secret peace sign is: ” A D O B O”, Bravo, Filipinos. Reading Market Manila is like visiting my Mom’s kitchen on a rainy afternoon. Fun, comforting and full of stuff that evoke wonderful memories that makes me so proud of my origins! Maraming salamat sa lahat ng ibinabahagi ninyo dito.
    MM rocks!!

    May 7, 2008 | 6:42 pm

  45. openonymous says:

    it is good to see nancy reyes responding to your adobo post. she is Ms Adobo for us.
    But 3 hours to cook the adobo, wow1 that must have been some tough or old porker. Kung dito sa boston, 3 hours of adobo cooking will result in adobo pork flakes.
    and I just remembered, I was there in MNL last year, and it took like hours to get my brother to cook sinampalukang manok, I mean for the chicken to get tender, I guess we are so spoiled here in the states, our meats are so tender because maybe aof all the antibiotics that they are fed with!

    May 7, 2008 | 7:15 pm

  46. Artisan Chocolatier says:


    I am amazed at your will power to keep the adobo for several days. At my place, it can only last till the next day!! hehehehe

    May 7, 2008 | 7:22 pm

  47. Ejit says:

    If I were to nominate the best recipe for adobo I would really nominate marketman’s recipe… tough it may take some time to cook this recipe I’m pretty sure it is really worth it.

    May 7, 2008 | 8:05 pm

  48. fried-neurons says:

    I bought my ingredients last night. Will try it out tomorrow. Yeah, I’m planning on using a Le Creuset pot for this. Thanks for the additional tip (“use more salt than you think is necessary”).

    May 7, 2008 | 10:32 pm

  49. sister says:

    You have now made a proper Cebu adobo. Lola said only vinegar, never soy sauce. For those living in countries where pork is very tender you can marinate the pork (ask butcher for fresh bacon or pork belly) overnight in the vinegar and spices so the flavour permeates the meat before it falls apart with cooking. Even Daniel serves a version of it.

    May 7, 2008 | 10:36 pm

  50. edee says:

    sister, do you put salt as well when you marinate it?…..i’m really keen on doing this….salamat ….

    May 7, 2008 | 11:19 pm

  51. APM says:

    Bravo Marketman!

    If I may suggest why don’t you auction off a few garapons of your adobo. Then donate the proceeds to your feeding program.I think that you could organize a very succesful artisanal food charity auction. Start with your confit of pork adobo, your excellent jams, and take some donations from your disciples.

    May 7, 2008 | 11:50 pm

  52. linda says:

    MM,I cooked your adobo yesterday for dinner and the many accolades were the only leftovers.According to my critics (family) this was the best adobo yet.

    Thank you MM for sharing this beloved national dish!

    May 8, 2008 | 7:55 am

  53. jules winnfield says:

    darn it! all i have here that’s clay are the flower pots!!!! the search for a palayok is on…..

    May 8, 2008 | 2:51 pm

  54. topster says:

    MM thanks for replying to my question!

    Oh, I forgot to tell you that the adobo you laboriously created looked really yummy! Yummy is the best adjective to describe it, reminds me of my childhood and eating to my heart’s content without any cares (cholesterol, uric acid etc LOL!)! MM, thank you for trying out these dishes in behalf of us. Most of us cannot afford, lack the resources or simply do not have the time to cook these old time favorites. For me, your “adventures” present a little vignette in my mind to look back and savor life, when everything was much slower and simpler.

    You are doing a great service to Filipino culinary culture, I salute you sir!

    May 8, 2008 | 3:05 pm

  55. choy says:

    this is very similar to the version my wife and i cook at home. “pina-uga” (dried) as they term it in cebuano. although this takes sloooow-cooking to the max!

    showed the post to the wife the other night and while i was out golfing yesterday, she sent me a text message saying she was trying out your recipe!

    couldn’t wait to get home, only to be told i had to wait a couple more days since she only cooked enough for one meal and we had previously agreed the “pangat” version would be best. she did allow a peek and a sniff into the palayok, and i almost died.

    i wish i could press a fast-forward button to saturday.

    May 9, 2008 | 8:39 am

  56. teth says:

    memories of my dad… he love cooking “adobo sa asin”, no soy sauce, just asin, paminta buo, laurel at bawang and a litle water. Yeah, adobo is yummy during stormy days in Bicol plus daing or tuyo. Then store i inside a garapon…hmmmmm.

    May 9, 2008 | 1:02 pm

  57. teth says:

    Sam, saen ka sa Bicol?

    May 9, 2008 | 1:03 pm

  58. alicia says:

    Re read the text and answered my own question! You grow your own bayleaves! No wonder they look so fresh!

    May 9, 2008 | 1:31 pm

  59. Marketman says:

    alicia, yes, sorry for the late reply. I started of with a 8-inch bay leaf plant about 3 years ago, that I featured here. And miracle or miracles, it DID not die and is now some 5 feet tall and my source of fresh bay leaves!!! And the gardener was able to graft one stem so we now have two plants :)

    May 9, 2008 | 2:52 pm

  60. Lor says:

    Oh sweet delicious lord, that looks AMAZING. That’s how grandma used to make it for us, until she finally caved and bought a propane stove. After that, it was a slow and painful slide towards the quick and easy (Knorr in my sinampalukan? Say it ain’t so!)

    Question: can palayok be used on a gas stove? I live in a condo here in Washington DC, and opportunities for a coal fire isn’t just gonna work out for me. I AM going back to the Phils this October with the hopes of buying a palayok, if not for cooking, then as one of my kitchen tchotchkes.

    Of course, I can totally make this old-school adobo using my Le Creuset pot, but there’s something about palayok that makes things extra delicious (though that could be nostalgia talking).

    May 9, 2008 | 11:56 pm

  61. gemma says:

    sister, were you referring to daniel boulud?

    May 10, 2008 | 11:17 am

  62. Marketman says:

    gemma, yes, sister was. She had a pork belly dish at Cafe Boulud or Daniel that was superb…

    May 10, 2008 | 1:11 pm

  63. Ling says:

    Hello Marketman,

    I’m a little bit nervous as this is my first post on your most excellent blog (which I’ve been following for about 2 years already)! I had to let you know that I have just finished making a pot (no claypot or wood fire, alas!) of adobo according to your method above, and I’m chowing down on a few choice pieces as I type this… oh my, it’s FABULOUS!!

    I’m Singaporean, and am ethnic Chinese with some Peranakan (Straits Chinese/Nyonya) ancestry. I’ve learned so much about Filipino cuisine from you blog, and I’m seeing that it shares numerous similarities with Peranakan cuisine. I made a prawn sinigang recently, and it was one of the most comforting things I’ve ever eaten – I drowned my rice with the soup! My husband lived and worked in Cebu & Mactan for six months a while ago, and I went up twice to visit him. I tried to explore as much as possible, taking a few hundred photos of people and places, and I still want to go back for more! Your country is a truly fascinating place with so much history compared to what we have here in S’pore (we’re losing parts of our heritage really quickly and it’s sad).

    Just want to say a big thank-you for all the effort and enthusiasm that goes into your blog, and I really look forward every couple of days to your updates :) I’m going to have one more piece of the adobo and I’ll try very hard not to touch it again until dinnertime, otherwise the hubby will not be a happy bunny… !

    May 10, 2008 | 3:05 pm

  64. alilay says:

    i cooked your adobo yesterday for my friday dinner with my friend and it was sooo good, although matilamsik ang mantika when i fried before we eat its worth it. it was swimming in fat, i use a microplane for the garlic as i wanted it to taste garlicky aside from the garlic cloves that went in,our sawsawan is patis and calamnsi and toyo-calamansi – thanks Maria Clara for the big bag of calamansi. i had it again for breakfast today.

    May 11, 2008 | 12:55 am

  65. quiapo says:

    You have struck a chord in all of us – we all love adobo and your succesful attempt to get to the original soul is like glimpsing a mature loved one in her youth.
    Organic pig would even be closer to the original, or even better baboy damo, with its leaner, gamier taste. In New Zealand there is a rare species of pig that antedates European colonization, the “kuni kuni” with 4 fleshy tassels under the chin (only also found in a part of China), and the Maori have a recipe that involves slow cooking in its own fat, then preservation by covering the mouth of the container with a layer of fat, rather like a confit.
    For people who are palayok deprived in western countries, there is the clay casserole such as the rompertoff in its infinite variety.
    Crushing fresh bay leaves on insertion into the dish brings out more of the flavour, just as crushing garlic cloves does.

    May 11, 2008 | 6:26 am

  66. wil-b cariaga says:

    i never tried adobo without the soy sauce, all along i thought the original was with soy sauce, i will try this for sure. . .

    May 11, 2008 | 5:14 pm

  67. negrosdude says:

    marketman, i swear, i was absolutely drooling while i read this piece. i LOVE adobo and everything about what you wrote was just so delectably lipsmacking!

    May 11, 2008 | 8:09 pm

  68. Gay says:

    I keep this palayok for such a long, waiting for a dish to cook it with. Now I know, it’s waiting for adobo! Thanks Marketman.

    May 12, 2008 | 1:26 pm

  69. Linda R.Corsiga says:

    MM, like the others who saw the picture of your adobo, I was salivating too. In Bicol, in yesteryears, my aunt used to cook adobo with no soy sauce but the coconut vinegar was always the “star”. My husband cooks it the same way too. You mentioned in your blog that you used organic coconut vinegar from Bicol. I am sure you still recall that you featured my “Lola Conching Organic Coco Nectar Specialty Vinegars” a couple of years ago. Did you use it in that yummy adobo? Sam and Teth, I’m from Sorsogon and I’m a producer of organic and all-natural coco nectar specialty vinegars. I have 5 variants and 2 of them, the Classic and Vinegar with Garlic are ideal for adobo and paksiw. The other variants are Vinegar with Chili and Ginger, Vinegar with raw wild honey and the Virgin Vinegar (with mother-of-vinegar).You may want to try them. They’re available at Rustan’s/Shopwise, GOURDO’s (Trinoma, The Fort, World Market Greenbelt 2 and Promenade, Greenhills), Coconut House, Organic Naturally, both located at Esteban Abada St., Loyola Heights, Q.C., Unimart Greenhills, Herbal Mumma, Fresh Place, both located at AANI Garden, Q.C. Memorial Circle, Leisure Farms and Ponderosa. They’re also available in the US (wildernessfamilynaturals.com), in Malaysia, vinegar with honey and vinegar with chili & ginger are available ( one can call Coremed @60380609670) and in Osaka, Japan, vinegar with honey only (you may get in touch with T.Y. Sumitomo Co. Ltd. at 0669549601).

    MM, I hope you don’t mind my using your blog as a promo site for my organic coco nectar vinegar products. Thank you.

    May 12, 2008 | 11:12 pm

  70. yzabella says:

    Wow!! Thats exactly how I cook our adobo.Pork belly,vinegar,blackpepper corns.laurel leaves,salt and water.
    No soy sauce needed.The only difference is.I would add 1 cup of oil after the liquids dry out and let it fry until the meat would turn to brown. Its the best adobo…swear.

    May 14, 2008 | 4:54 pm

  71. yzabella says:

    upss sorry…i miss the garlic…my bad..

    May 14, 2008 | 4:56 pm

  72. lilay says:

    my nanay cooks adobo like this, she also puts it in a jar and consume it the next day. Its really nice with boiled rice, the fat(sebo) melts on it…yum yum

    May 19, 2008 | 3:41 am

  73. Maricar says:

    This looks awesome! I will definitely have to try it, as my son is allergic to soy. I don’t have a palayok, nor am I inclined to make a wood fire. So I wonder if this will work in a slow cooker (crock pot).

    May 30, 2008 | 4:16 am

  74. Lisa says:

    Thanks for the recipe, but this dish tastes more like paksiw na lechon, without the sugar and liver sauce, than adobo. I think the soy sauce is what makes the Filipino adobo distinct from other the other vinegar-based recipes.

    Jun 9, 2008 | 3:04 pm

  75. Marketman says:

    Lisa, if you cooked the recipe as described, rather than imagining its taste as I presume you have from your comment, you would know it is not at all sour at all, and unlike a paksiw. Soy sauce was introduced by the Chinese, and while they have been around the islands for centuries, soy sauce as a widespread ingredient and retail item probably only occurred in the last 60-80 years. As such, the “distinct” taste of an adobo pre-dates soy sauce or toyo by some several hundred years…

    Jun 19, 2008 | 10:08 pm

  76. cherryblossoms says:

    this is how my ate cooks her adobo,we call it adobo sa asin…it is reaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaalllly yummmmmmmyyyy!!!!!

    Jul 8, 2008 | 2:19 am

  77. rosario 'chit' aberin-rapusas says:

    i am listening to dzbb program of susan and arnel with Nancy saying of malunggay adobo.my friends here in sydney has requested me to make the best pork adobo ever.i come across this recipe…where in the world can i get a clay pot to be authentic ,in sydney? anyway,its nice to hear and read you are still very active in the industry! you’ve come a long way!hello to Bobby and your son Joey!

    Aug 5, 2008 | 12:09 pm

  78. Marketman says:

    rosario, why am I “active in the industry?” and who is Bobby and Joey???

    Aug 5, 2008 | 3:45 pm

  79. Elizabeth Cruz-Uy says:

    I need approx. 12 pcs of palayok for our folk dance performance (to be put on our head while dancing). the circumference of the mouth or opening should be 6-8 inches. Do you know where palayoks are available here in the US?? Could we make a mail order from the Philippines? If so, what’s the name of the supplier???
    Thanks for your help

    Sep 8, 2008 | 3:54 am

  80. zarina says:

    hmmm..yummy adobo! since my mom loves adobo she even cooks it almost everyday of her sweet life, i’ll wager for this one. lemme go home after work and try this one and see if she drools over your adobo recipe.

    thank you for posting such recipes that makes my life oh so easier to live everyday. =)

    Oct 17, 2008 | 12:50 am

  81. mei kwei says:

    thanks MM, i had the chance of eating adobo at sta elena golf club few years ago but I think the chef there resigned or left for some greener pastures. his adobo was so good also.it was fried which i like and until now five years later- i can still savor that adobo. also i had tried the adobo of chef jane paredes who used to own cafe cornucoppia in glorietta- i loved her recipe but unfortunately was not able to get it after attending some of her classes. anyway, i will try your recipe and i know it will be as good and awesome as theirs. how i wish you have your own restaurant or cooking school bec unlike new chefs now- you are more into the authentic / traditional way of cooking. keep up the good work.

    Mar 11, 2010 | 5:09 am


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