When I think of Filipino food, many dishes come to mind. Adobo, though, is indeed one of the few that is found in all corners of our country, with much the same ingredients at its base. This flavorful dish is considered comfort food by many and is a standard offering of most Filipino restaurants and food concession stands.
Datu Puti Adobo Challenge held last Saturday, June 11, at the Mercato Centrale food market in Bonifacio Global City, Taguig was co-presented with Mercato Central and Our Awesome Planet. It was part of the thrust to take the Datu Puti Adobo Movement a step further this 2016. Launched in 2015, the Datu Puti Adobo Movement was created to push for Adobo to be our pambansang ulam. As beautifully expressed by the people behind this movement:
It is a movement that hits close to home because Adobo is a dish that is as personal, as it is national. Each household has its own signature Adobo, and the shared flavor defines families, identifies us as Filipinos, and boosts us as a nation.
It was an interesting, and delicious, experience. Datu Puti invited food vendors of Mercato Centrale to prepare adobo dishes using any type of meat and vegetable, and marinate or cook with at least two of the three main Datu Puti products: vinegar, soy sauce, and patis (fish sauce). Criteria for judging included the following:
- creativity of concept, which looks at the story behind the dish
- originality, branding and cooking technique
- innovation, noting the use of unique special ingredients and Datu Puti products
- Philippine culinary heritage, including how it adopts and represents regional cooking styles.
Upon arriving at Mercato Centrale people were asked to register in support of the Adobo Movement at any of the booths or with the staff who were going around. In exchange, each person was given a food card, raffle card and 3 voting stubs. The food card listed the top 14 plus 5 more excellent participants. Then, it was time to go around and try the adobo dishes specially made by each participating vendor.
To make the event even more festive, dancers and drummers were specially hired to keep the energy high althroughout the event. Onstage there was The Winning Adobo, Atbp. hosted by a familiar foodie himself, Tonipet Gaba, with musical performances by homegrown talents UpDharma Down and Ebe Dancel.
At the end of it all 3 were declared the winners (based on the preset criteria) and 1 was crowned the people’s choice (based on on-the-spot voting by the Mercato foodies). These were:
First place: The Oinkery
DISH NAME: Pugon-smoked Pork Adobo
DESCRIPTION: Pork shoulder pugon-smoked for 8 hours, glazed with a rich Cebu-style adobo sauce and garnished with fresh manggang hilaw
Inspired by Cebu’s method of cooking lechon, The Oinkery roasts their pork meat inside a traditional pugon giving it that distinct smoky taste. Matthew combines the finished product with his sister’s Cebu-style adobo sauce and garnishes it with fresh green mangoes on the side. Having been slow-cooked for a total of eight hours, the meat is guaranteed to be soft and juicy with every bite.
Second place: Dayrit’s
DISH NAME: Pork Adobong Laing Pinangat
DESCRIPTION: Two Filipino favorites, Adobo and Laing, in one unique and flavorful dish.
Pork Adobong Laing Pinangat – that’s two of the famous Filipino favorites, adobo and laing, combined in one extraordinary dish. Dayrit’s 40 years of experience in creating sumptuous heritage home-cooked meals is very evident with their entry for The Adobo Challenge 2016. According to Chef Miguel Dayrit, their version of the classic adobo recipe is different from the rest because it combines the strong flavors of two Pinoy viands to create an outstanding dish. This Bicolandia inspired concoction is a fusion of the creamy, hot and spicy and the sour and salty trademarks of laing and adobo respectively.
Third place: Bakmi Nyonya
DISH NAME: Babi Kekap Adobo Nyonya
DESCRIPTION: Classic Filipino adobo infused with Indonesian spices. Served with Sambal.
Lucy of Bakmi Nyonya, one of the well-known food vendors in Mercato Centrale, reinvents the Pinoy classic adobo and incorporates her Indonesian-style of cooking to come up with a unique entry to the Adobo Challenge 2016. This delicate pork adobo treat is mixed with secret Indonesian spices, cooked in soy sauce and vinegar and served with the classic sambal.
People’s Choice Award: Lariza’s
DISH NAME: Seafood Adobo
DESCRIPTION: A mix of crab, shrimp and mussels cooked adobo style and topped with cheese.
Lariza’s, another well-known food vendor in Mercato Centrale shares their expertise in creating a unique dish for the Adobo Challenge 2016. Their very own “Seafood Adobo” is a mixture of mussels, prawns and crabs stirred in a mixture of vinegar and soy sauce, garlic, onion, pepper and finished off with cheese on top to add a creamy, tangy taste. Tess Gonzales, the proud owner of Lariza’s knew that her opponents would stick to the usual pork or chicken adobo, so she decided to come up with something edgy. With her “Seafood Adobo”, she hopes to motivate Filipinos to be more daring and “adobofy” fresh catch from the sea as an alternative to the usual adobo recipes.
All Adobo winners were awarded start-up funds in cash, so they could include their winning dishes in the regular Mercato menu. The People’s Choice awardee also received P3,000 worth of Datu Puti goods.
Interested parties may still support the Datu Puti Adobo Movement by signing the petition at www.adobomovement.com.
#AdoboMovement #TeamAdobo #DatuPuti