Cultural Influence: The meaning behind the popular Filipino dish "Adobo"

  • Published
  • By Adam Bowles
  • 412th Test Wing Public Affairs

As we celebrate Asian American and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander Heritage Month, we learn the cultural meaning behind "Adobo," a popular Filipino dish and the influence it has on multiple cultures and our nation today.  The name of the dish "Adobo" was given by Spanish colonizers and the Philippines adopted the name.  KrisRyan I. Borsil, Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Accessibility Office Affirmative Employment Program Manager, 412 TW/DEE said this dish is a combination of history and goes back far in time.

"Adobo in Spanish literally translates to marinate or to pickle from the bottom," Borsil explained. "The way this food is cooked is really through a use of vinegar and preservation. In the old days they would use vinegar to preserve the meat over time. So, cooking this dish is a means of preserving food so it's not really a dish it's a process."

Adobo, or adobo chicken or adobo pork, is a classic Philippine meal. The marinade for adobo is made with pantry staples including white vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, peppercorns, and bay leaves. Borsil also said looking at this dish, it represents not just one culture but represents a bunch of cultures put together that are bridged together through history, time and conflict like our nation today.

"This really ties in a lot of cultures together not only the ancient tribals of people from the Philippines but you also look at the Spanish era and their influence; why the dish is called Adobo," Borsil said. "Now here we are, 2022, generations later this dish still stands the test of time so that's why I chose this dish to represent this month."