How to Cook Pork Adobo, a Classic Filipino Dish

Updated on March 14, 2018
leon01 profile image

I lived in the Philippines until I was 23. Then I moved to the UK to live, work, and perform at Filipino cultural shows.

The History of Adobo

The word Adobo originates from the Philippines Spanish-influenced history after Spain ruled the Philippines for over 300 years from 1521 until 1898. It was in December 1898 that Spain ceded the Islands to the United States after the Spanish American war that year.

It is no surprise that after 300 years of Spanish rule that many Spanish words remain within the Filipino language and the word Adobo comes from the Spanish word Adobar which means marinade or sauce.

It has however been recorded that the dish was being cooked before the arrival of the Spanish and was a method of keeping food fresher for longer by soaking the food in a marinade of vinegar and salt.

There are so many versions of this classic dish that even within the same household you can find different recipes and styles being cooked; therefore it is not surprising to find many different forms of Adobo being cooked throughout the Philippines.

Adobong Puti is a version of Adobo that just uses salt rather than vinegar and is known as White Adobo or Blond Adobo and is considered the closest version that was cooked before the Spanish arrived.

As you can see within my recipe, I do not use vinegar and use brown sugar to contrast the saltiness of the soy sauce. In other versions of Adobo, pineapple is used to contrast the soy sauce or salt being used.

The main basic ingredients used for this dish are Pork, Chicken, Squid or vegetables, but for the more exotic taste, there are recipes that use Goat, Snake, Catfish, and even Frogs within the Philippines.

Pork Adobo with rice

An Introduction to Pork Adobo, a Classic Filipino Dish

Growing up in the Philippines I learned to cook alongside my mother with an open fire and limited resources, rice was our staple food source, and it was imperative to find ways to enhance the flavor of our meals and to provide variety to our diets.

In the Philippines, many people raise their own pigs for the table to supplement their rice and fish diets; therefore pork is one of the most commonly used meats and is considered a treat for most families and eaten at special occasions.

As pork is a luxury item, every part of the pig is used in Filipino cooking from the trotters to the head and snout.

In Tagalog, the national language of the Philippines pork is known as Baboy, so if you ever come across a dish with Baboy at the end you know, it is referring to a pork dish.

One of the most famous pork dishes is Pork Adobo which is considered unofficially as the national dish of the Philippines.

I demonstrate how to cook this extremely easy dish in your own home using a single large pot. It really is as simple as putting all the ingredients together and letting the ingredients work their magic to create a dish packed full of flavor.

Within the video below I show a step by step guide on how to cook this delicious Filipino dish in English.

Pork belly is the preferred cut of the pig because a joint with plenty of fat is always used to increase the flavor of the dish and it is always served with white rice.

Throughout the Philippines, your find Pork Adobo being enjoyed in restaurants and I hope you enjoy my version of this classic dish.

Cook Time

Prep time: 10 min
Cook time: 25 min
Ready in: 35 min
Yields: Serves 4 people

Pork Adobo Ingredients

  • 1 kg Pork Belly, Cut into cubes
  • 300 ml Lemonade
  • 120 ml Soy Sauce
  • 120 g Brown Sugar
  • 2 Onions, Sliced
  • 3 Garlic Cloves, Chopped

Instructions on How to Cook Pork Adobo

  1. Combine all the ingredients in a large saucepan and bring to the boil
  2. Simmer on a low heat with a lid on and stir occasionally
  3. Add additional lemonade if it looks to dry
  4. Simmer for 25 minutes then serve with rice

How to Cook Pork Adobo

My Pork Adobo Recipe

Cast your vote for Our Pork Adobo Recipe

Embracing the Filipino Culture

I was born in the Philippines and grew up tending our family farm with my mother and learned to cook at a very early age.

When I was 23 I moved to the UK, and now I reside in France, but over the years I have never forgotten my heritage or my culture and have enjoyed showcasing my love of the Philippines to my new countries of residence.

In the UK I performed at cultural shows performing traditional Filipino dances, and now in France, I enjoy cooking and sharing with the world the delights of the Filipino cuisine.

Questions & Answers


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      • kwankapang profile image

        Kwan Ka Pang 5 years ago from Malaysia


      • leon01 profile image

        leon01 5 years ago

        exactly the same process

      • kwankapang profile image

        Kwan Ka Pang 5 years ago from Malaysia

        Is there any different between how to cook chicken adobo pork adobo?

      • leon01 profile image

        leon01 5 years ago

        My girlfriend cooks this at least every month and its wonderful; the picture of her cooking was at my parents golden wedding anniversary and everyone enjoyed it.

      • KawikaChann profile image

        KawikaChann 5 years ago from Northwest, Hawaii, Anykine place

        Hi Leon01, I've tried a lot of variations on adobo, and this one looks really delicious! Can't wait to try it! Voted you up/awesome! Peace. Kawi.