Will Your Mom's Adobo Recipe Win the 9th Annual Adobo Cookoff?

What is the best adobo recipe you have ever tasted? If you are a good Filipino, you will, of course, say “my Mom’s!” And like all good Filipinos, we recreate our mom’s adobo recipe at home. But, just where did mom get her adobo recipe? And will that recipe win our Adobo Cookoff?

“Adobo” is a cooking method in the Philippines that involves vinegar as its primary marinade. It stems from its historical use as a way of preserving dishes in our hot, tropical, pre-refrigeration culture.

With over 7,000 islands in the Philippines, give-or-take high water or low water with some of those islands, you are bound to have more than one variation of a Filipino adobo recipe. Add to the fact that the type of vinegar you use can also greatly influence and alter the taste of your adobo recipe. And the Philippines has no shortage of vinegars:  coconut vinegar, rice vinegar, cane vinegar, palm vinegar—basically, if we found something that had natural sugars in it, we fermented a vinegar out of it.

No two people will cook adobo the same way, just like no two people will cook chili or a bbq sauce the same way. People dispute over the kind of vinegar to use, or the use of coconut milk vs. soy sauce, or the quantity of garlic, or over the use of sugar and how much of it.

Foodie Joanne Boston judging the 2011 Pistahan Adobo Cookoff (Photo by Frank Jang/AsianWeek)

Some use chicken exclusively, others pork, some a combination of the two. While, others use a completely different protein altogether or even make it vegan. Some will marinade it overnight, some will slow cook it, some will do both. There are those who broil the meat at the end, to caramelize it and provide a crisp texture alongside the sauce.  While, others will pan-fry, deep fry, or even grill the meat. Did we just figure out your adobo recipe?

You can make adobo in so many, many different ways. Yet, the question still remains, will your recipe win our Adobo Cookoff?

Adobo Cookoff Guidelines:

  1. Please specify if you are competing as Traditional or Fusion.
  2. Only pre-cooked, finished adobo dishes will be accepted - no onsite cooking available on premises.
  3. Adobo must be presented in a standard disposable aluminum 13.5” pan or equivalent, enough for at least 20 small samplings.
  4. Please check-in upstairs directly to the Culinary Pavilion the day of the event. Food warmers will be provided for you to store your dish before the event, if needed.
  5. Please be prepared to speak about your dish and recipe.
  6. One winner each will be chosen for the Traditional and Fusion categories.

The Ramar Foods Culinary Pavilion hosts the Adobo Cookoff on Sunday, August 10, 2014 at 11am. Sign up to participate.