What’s in your adobo? The “standardized” adobo is here

by Matthew Escosia
SEA Wave - Adobo Philippine food
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By: Shaina Semaña


You can claim that your mother’s adobo is the best, but does it pass the national standard of adobo? Yes, you heard that right. A national standard for the Filipino dish that has been a subject of food debate for so long.

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) announced that its agency, the Bureau of Philippine Standards, formed a committee that will develop Philippine National Standard (PNS) for national dishes and adobo is the first dish on their list. The committee aims to create a state-approved ways of cooking various Filipino dishes to help preserve the authenticity of Filipino cuisine.

Adobo is probably one of, if not the dish, that represents Filipino cuisine. It is a simple dish bursting with flavors and savoriness. With its simple recipe and prep, almost every person still has their own spin on the classic dish. Throw in any kind of meat, simmer in soy sauce and/or vinegar, with a mixture of local spices such as peppercorns and garlic, anyone can make their own adobo. Which is why it is also a very diverse and versatile dish.

Filipinos in different regions around the country have their own version. The coconutty adobo sa gata from Bicol, adobong dilaw with turmeric (luyang dilaw) from Batangas and adobong Ilonggo are just some of the more famous adobo variants. But for sure, in some other corner of the Philippines, there are yet undiscovered versions of this favorite ulam. Even the White House has its own version of adobo!

SEA Wave - Adobo Philippine food

Photo from Wikimedia Commons

Adobo does not only represent Filipino flavors, but also Filipino culture and tradition. Despite all the debates on which adobo is the best, no one can deny that it is a national favorite. So it’s no surprise how the country reacted when DTI first announced standardized adobo. Filipino netizens took Twitter and Facebook to express their thoughts on the new committee. There were some who criticized it but most were really just confused. What does standardized actually mean? Does it mean there should be some rules to follow now to cook a simple dish? How can you standardize a dish that is as diverse as our culture and tradition?

And so DTI, on July 12, addressed this confusion and clarified that there will be no mandatory standard. Instead, the PNS is meant to help strengthen our country’s identity and cater to international promotions of the Filipino cuisine. With this, other Filipino favorites lechon, sinigang and sisig are next on DTI’s “standardized” menu.

What do you think about the plans for standardized national dishes such as adobo? Let us know in the comments section below!

Featured photo from Pexels

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