A Taste of the Philippines

adoboFilipino food is probably something you’ve never heard of, let alone tried. Luckily for me, growing up as a Filipino-American, I was able to enjoy many Filipino dishes. Filipino food has traces of Spanish and Chinese food, but ultimately has its own island feel that can only be attributed to the Philippines. The Philippines are made up of more than 7,100 islands, so the ocean has a heavy influence on the cuisine, not only with the inclusion of fish and shellfish, but also ingredients such as shrimp paste. However Filipino food is not limited to seafood, but pork, chicken and beef are also common ingredients. The food of the Philippines is full of variety, but rice is the one constant ingredient and is usually served on the side. Filipinos care a lot about food, and all meals are made “family style” to be shared with others. If you visit a Filipino’s home you can be sure you will not leave hungry.

Despite Filipinos being the second largest Asian group in the United States, Filipino cuisine has not become as mainstream as Chinese, Japanese or Vietnamese. However, you may have seen it on shows such as Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern.

As someone that loves to cook I’ve spent a lot of time working on my Filipino dishes, specifically trying to recreate the delicious meals made by my family members. Filipino cooking is not an exact science, and everyone has their own way of preparing, cooking and eating Filipino food. It is about creativity, and finding the flavors that you love.

To have your own taste of the Philippines, here is my recipe for Adobo Baboy for you to try. Adobo Baboy is one of the most common dishes in the Philippines, made of meat stewed in garlic, vinegar, pepper and soy sauce.  Feel free to follow this relatively simple recipe to the letter, or change it up to make it your own. Most importantly, make sure you invite some friends and family to share it with!

Adobo Baboy

2 pounds    Boneless pork spareribs, 1 inch, cubed

7 pieces    Garlic, crushed

2         Bay leaves

½ tablespoon     Peppercorn, crushed

6 tablespoon     Soy sauce

6 tablespoon     Vinegar

1 cup         Water

¼ teaspoon    Vegetable oil

  1. In a medium-sized pot heat oil over medium heat
  2. Add pork ribs and crushed garlic. Stir constantly until meat is browned.
  3. When pork ribs are browned add soy sauce, water, peppercorns and bay leaves and bring to a boil
  4. Lower heat to medium/low and simmer for 20 minutes
  5. Serve with steamed rice

by Jason Balangue, graphic designer