ADOBO CHALLENGE: Best Adobo in Manila! @Mercatocentrale

Untitled If there is anything more synonymous with Filipino food, it’s unequivocally Adobo. Many of us grew up with this savory dish at the comfort of our homes through heirloom recipes cooked by our mothers, fathers, or even grandmothers. While made with different methods, each style maintains a similar flavor profile of salty, sour, and tangy. In an effort to pass House Bill 3926, which formally declares Adobo as our national dish, NutriAsia’s Datu Puti held the Adobo Challenge at Mercato Centrale. Fourteen veterans of the successful weekend food market showcased their best Adobofied creations. THE ADOBO CHALLENGE Each entry in the Adobo Challenge was judged based on the following criteria: creativity of concept, history, banding, cooking techniques, innovation, how it adopts Filipino culinary styles, and its effective use of Datu Puti products. Among the 14, a Top 3 were chosen and a People’s Choice Awardee. Here are the winners…   Adobo Movement Series: – ADOBO MOVEMENT: Making Adobo the National Dish of the Philippines! – Chicken Pork Adobong Puti by the Adobo Queen, Nancy Reyes-Lumen! (Recipe) ADOBO CHALLENGE: Best Adobo in Manila! @Mercatocentrale RODRIGO’S ROAST: Adobo Dish Recipe Fit for a President!   FIRST PLACE: The Oinkery | “Pugon-Smoked Pork Adobo” Untitled This delightful Adobofied dish gets inspiration from Cebu’s long history of Lechon. The pork is cooked inside a pugon oven, which allows the smoky flavors to seep.   Untitled The meat is amazingly tender and flavorful. A side of green mangoes helps add another dimension of taste, making this dish quite memorable.   SECOND PLACE: Dayrit’s | “Adobong Laing Pinangat” Untitled Dayrit’s Bicolandia-esque Adobo is “a little bit of everything”: sweet, sour, salty, spicy, and delicious of course!   Untitled The dish combines two classic Pinoy favorites of Laing and Adobo!   THIRD PLACE: Bakmi Nyonya | “Babi Kekap” Untitled Lucy of Bakmi Nyonya adds an Indonesian touch to our Adobo with Galangal, Kecap Manis, White Wine, and Mushrooms.   Untitled As a judge, this was my personal favorite for its well-balanced, savory flavors. Nothing was overpowering, and the meat was cooked just right.   PEOPLE’S CHOICE: Lariza | “Seafood Adobo” Untitled Lariza is another well-established food vendor at Mercato famous for their seafood dishes like seafood Kaldera and Kare-Kare.   Untitled This Adobo had more sour notes, but was balanced well with the natural flavors of the shellfish and coconut milk. I can honestly say this was “ma-searap”!   OTHER TASTY ADOBO ENTRIES:   Dadding’s Kitchenette | “Adobong Ensalada” Untitled Quite a name in Laguna, this Adobo-infused dish made of Adobo flakes is served as a side or appetizer.   Untitled The refreshing flavor added by the ripe mango makes this dish a great addition to a picnic.   Fat Ninja Gyoza | Adobo Gyoza Untitled Served with a thick Adobo sauce, the Gyoza is made with shredded “leftover” Adobo with Japanese spices.   Untitled The Adobo flavor is quite subtle, however.   Good Meal Hunting | Halal Adobo & Korean Fried Chicken Adobo Untitled With their Halal Adobo, Good Meal Hunting also shares the comfort of classic Adobo with our Muslim friends.   Untitled Tasty and fragrant, this is the Adobo that hits closest to home.   Untitled The vendor’s Korean Adobo Chicken combines classic Pinoy ingredients with spicy Gochujang.   Hunger Buster | “Adoburger” Untitled Hunger Buster makes an ode to Filipino Flavors and American Fast Food with their “Adoburger”.   Untitled The Adobo-infused patty is topped with onions, honey-mustard, onion, egg, and a slice of Kiwi to give a subtle sour kick.   Timplador Lechon House | Pork Humba Untitled The Adobo-like Pork Humba is a tangy dish made with pork simmered in pineapple juice.   Untitled As a local favorite in Cebu, this dish is typically served on special occasions like Fiestas.   Cuisiniers | Crispy Beef Adobo Untitled The Crispy Beef Adobo hails from Makinabang, Bulacan.   Untitled What gives the meat this intensely dark color is the long marination and two-step cooking process of braising and frying.   The Hairstylist’s Menu | “Four-way Cooked Chicken Adobo in a Pouch” Untitled This heirloom recipe involves a tedious cooking process: boiling, braising, simmering, and frying!   Untitled The Lumpia wrapper adds a nice Pinoy-Chinese touch to the dish.   Chef Bab’s | Adobo a la Cabiao Untitled Chef Bab’s Adobo is prepared in the traditional Nueva Ecija way—wrapped in egg!   Untitled While more on the sour side, the potency of flavor is much appreciated.   House of Crispy | Adobong Puti Untitled Instead of patis or soy sauce, salt is what completes the triumvirate of sour, tangy, and salty.   Untitled This style of cooking hails from the Visayan region.   Untitled Along with live performances from the likes of Up Dharma Down and Ebe Dancel, food lovers welcomed the 14 Adoboriffic contenders with hungry stomachs and happy ears!   Untitled Congratulations to Datu Puti, Mercato Centrale, The Oinkery, Dayrit’s, Bakmi Nonya, Lariza’s, and all the participating concessionaires for such a momentous night in Adobo history!   Untitled Judges included: Jam Melchor of Philippine Culinary Heritage Movement, Veronica Dado of National Historical Commission of the Philippines, Chef Nancy Lumen Reyes, Gretchen King of NutriAsia, and Sheila Gomez of Our Awesome Planet.   Live an Awesome Life,    Sheila of Team Our Awesome Planet Disclosure: Our Awesome Planet is a co-presenter of the Adobo Movement. I wrote this article with my biases, opinions, and insights P.S. The 3 Winners and People’s Choice Awardee will be adding their Adobo dishes to their regular roster at Mercato.  You can be part of the Adobo Movement by signing the petition at

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