The A-List: The Best Versions of Adobo You Can Order in Manila
From lamb to pork belly to one with gata!
(SPOT.ph) A staple on the every Juan’s dinner table and arguably the poster child for Filipino food abroad, adobo ranks high on the list of all-time favorite Filipino dishes. It primarily refers to a dish of some sort of protein—chicken, pork, beef, and so on—marinated and cooked in a bright, pungent sauce that at its core marries the tartness of vinegar, the pungency of garlic, and raspy edge of black peppercorns. But there are also countless variations from region to region.
Most Manileños would know the version with soy sauce and bay leaves in the mix, while in Cavite, it’s all about the addition of turmeric to make up Adobo sa Dilaw. In Visayas, they go relatively minimal in the salt-vinegar-garlic infused Adobong Puti; while for Bicolanos, coconut milk and chili make up the Adobo sa Gata. Beyond regions, most families or households also have their own way of making adobo distinctly theirs.
The diversity and adaptability of adobo is well worth celebrating in our book, and to allude to that, we’ve rounded up a variety of great versions of adobo—from classic versions of regional varieties to more playful and modern versions that give the dish welcome twists. You can order them for delivery, too.
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Try these excellent versions of adobo you can get in Manila:
Chicken and Pork Adobo by Via Mare
If you’re looking for classic soy sauce-vinegar adobo, you’ll want to try Via Mare’s Chicken and Pork Adobo (P395). It’ll likely remind you of the version you grew up with its chunks of chicken and/or pork belly (you can opt to have just one, or both); and balance of umami, tangy, pungent, and peppery profiles from the use of soy sauce, vinegar, garlic, bay leaf. It’s also served with garlic rice, which amplifies the garlicky note in the adobo itself; and eggs, for extra richness. You can visit Via Mare’s website to order online, or give your preferred branch a call.
Crispy Pork Adobo ni Lola Ising by Abe
Using pork belly makes for a melt-in-your-mouth Crispy Pork Adobo ni Lola Ising (P530) at Abe. You get sizable chunks of pork belly here, which they stew and dry with garlic and spices, so it’s crispy on the outside and succulent on the inside. Surrounding these chunks are a slick, savory-tangy adobo sauce you’ll want to spoon over your rice, plus buttery-soft garlic cloves that also imbue the sauce with their telltale flavor. You can give them a call or send them a Facebook message for direct orders, or find them on GrabFood, Foodpanda, or Pickaroo.
Lamb Adobo by Almusal Cafe
The deeper, grassier taste of lamb gets a tinge of savory and sour in Almusal Cafe’s Lamb Adobo (P600). Here, chunks of lamb are slow-cooked to a tenderness, then served atop mixed red and white rice, crisp sauteed french beans, and an egg whose runny yolk ties all the parts together into a harmonious whole. The restaurant is on Beep, GrabFood, and Foodpanda, but you can also message them directly on social media to place an order.
Adobong Bagnet with Taba ng Talangka by Ilustrado
Ilustrado fuses the worlds of adobo and bagnet in this must-try dish, which has thrice-cooked pork belly that’s as crispy on the outside as it is soft on the inside. It gets a spiced, tangy, savory character from spices and a soy-vinegar sauce—and if that weren’t enough, they imbue the dish with extra seafood-y umami with the addition of crab fat. You can reach out to their mobile number to try this for yourself.
For orders, contact 0939-920-6822. You can also check out Ilustrado’s Facebook page.
Overloaded Garlicky Chicken & Pork Belly Adobo by Manam
Love—like, really love—garlic? Manam’s Overloaded Garlicky Chicken & Pork Belly Adobo (starts at P220/small) better be on your must-order list. It turns the garlicky pungency up a notch with the addition of fried garlic bits on top of their stew of tender chicken and pork belly. (You could very well scare vampires off with this one.) Go ahead and place an order on Moment Food, a.k.a. the delivery website of their parent company The Moment Group.
Adobong Liempo sa Gata by Adobo Connection
One way you can vary adobo up is by stirring in coconut milk or coconut cream, which adds a creaminess to round out the punchier flavors of the other ingredients. Adobo Connection’s Adobong Liempo sa Gata (P225) is one example of that. Smoky liempo, an adobo sauce, and a creamy gata come together for a savory-rich bite here, which is made all the more addictive with the addition of crispy garlic on top. An order also comes with rice, pancit, and their kropek-like “chichadobo,” so you can alternate between savory bites. Adobo Connection is on GrabFood and Foodpanda.
For orders, find Adobo Connection on GrabFood or Foodpanda. You can also check out their Facebook page.
Duck Adobo Flakes by Mamou
Adobo flakes, or adobo that’s shredded and stewed until it acquires a “flaky” and slightly-crisp consistency—is another popular way to have the dish. Mamou makes adobo flakes out of native duck meat, which acquires a the savory-tangy-pungent taste of adobo to match the slightly gamey taste of the duck. It’s then served over rice with truffled eggs your way (we recommend going for the sunny-side-up option and mixing in the runny yolk with the rice before digging in), plus salsa as a fresh and zesty counterpoint. Just send Mamou a message on social media or give them a call to try the dish yourself.
Adobong Batangas sa Atsuete by XO 46 Heritage Bistro
Batangueños like to vary adobo up by adding atsuete (annato seeds); this gives it a naturally reddish-yellow hue as well as a subtle peppery, floral taste. Try it for yourself with XO 46 Heritage Bistro’s Adobong Batangas sa Atsuete (P590). XO 46 stews beef chunks in vinegar, garlic, chili, and annato, and the result is a complex union of bright, garlicky, peppery, and beefy profiles with a subtle kick of heat. You can message them via Facebook or Instagram to place an order.
Wildflour's Adobo Fried Rice
The distinct taste of adobo isn’t just good for meat; it also makes for a spectacular fried rice. Wildflour’s Adobo Fried Rice (P580) is one to try, with Dalisay rice that fried with an adobo sauce, infusing each grain with the sauce’s savory-vibrant notes. You also get chunks of tender pork belly and a fried egg, making this a complete meal in a bowl. Just place your orders through Wildflour’s delivery website, Wildflour To-Go.
Lamb Adobo Rice by Grace Park
If you think you don't like lamb, wait until you get to try Grace Park's Lamb Adobo Rice (P780/solo, P2,100/for sharing), which could very much make you a convert. You get soft chunks of lamb with a sweet-savory depth atop nutty brown rice, plus lots of aromatic garlic to keep you going back for more bites. You can fill up Grace Park's order form to try this for yourself.
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