Tuesday, July 7, 2009

The Adobo Scandal

Forget those video sex scandals, here's one that should need a Philippine Senate hearing:) and could make Mama Sita and Knorr squirm in horror.

Filipinos have cooked Adobo for more than three centuries and the dish has became globally popular through our hard-working Pinoy immigrants and overseas workers. As a matter of fact the dish (or the sauce) is now a highly commercialized and lucrative business earning motherland millions of pesos exporting canned Adobo-laced morsels and snacks.

But why on earth would a Filipino restaurateur in Sydney label the obviously Philippine National Dish something else?

It all started when a friend/cooking columnist recently reported in a local press group that she discovered in Stanmore (suburb east of Sydney) a Filipino restaurant (the name of which nary gives away the cultural background of the owner) that served Adobo but had labeled it as Pork In Soy Sauce! Asked why, he said it was for marketing purposes.

Here was my response to the group thread. You be the judge whether I'm just blowing it up and getting hyper-ventilated:) Well it really did touch a raw (rather cooked)nerve. My gastronomic tendons stretched tight upon learning of this cultural culinary slack right under our noses:


Excerpt from friend's email:
...."Just heard that there is a Filipino in Stanmore who owns a restaurant and serves ADOBO in the menu BUT calls it PORK IN SOY SAUCE. Asked why not use the word ADOBO. Answer is for MARKETING purpose kuno. How sad!"...

..and here's my knee-jerk email response:

.."Sad indeed about adobo being cooked and sold as a generic cuisine.
I really take it as an insult to all Australians of Filipino lineage especially when the culprits are
Filipinos themselves. How dare them cook something they owed our Spanish-influenced culinary tradition and not name it as such. 333 years written off by a generic label when a simple closed bracketed translation under the label adobo would have sufficed.

Of course, consumers have the right to know what they put in their mouths thus the need for description of what could be exotic dishes to them. Aussies don't go inside Filipino restaurants to eat Black Stump t-bones, do they?

Philippine Adobo (as different from the South American or Chinese varieties; e.g. above image:) is uniquely Filipino-styled from the Spanish adobado and to generically label it as pork with soy sauce trivializes the legacy of our cooking skills, the recipe, timing, amount of garlic, vinegar, salt, etc.

My oh my, a teaspoonful of soy sauce doesn't make the dish at all! (some don't even use toyo or soya sauce). May i ask, have we seen Italians sell pizza in this country labeling it as flat, round bread with a variety of toppings?

OMG, sino ba nagpapasok sa mga pinoy na iyan dito?! To translate: DKP (Diyos Ko Po), who let those Filipinos in? Har-har wonder if this adobo scandal shall intrigue Balitang Australia, Adobo Nation, Philippine news sites and blogs;-)

Hey Stanmore, wake up, grow up and boycott that joint before they label our sisig as chop-chop and kare-kare as oxtail & tripe swimming in peanut butter. Oh how I wish that Filipino restaurants in Sydney become successful and not even one of them mentally blacklisted or avoided by the community because of misguided labeling. It's never too late to correct mistakes.

Mabuhay ang Adobo, mabuhay ang mga lutuing Pinoy! (Long Live Adobo, long live Filipino cuisine!)

Here's a quick ditty I wrote to give you an idea of the name of that Filipino shop:)

Holy Mollie!
Cuddle me pink,
Owner is pork king
or the missing link:)

Enjoy Adobo everyone. Learn to cook (YouTube how-to's below) and relish the Philippine National Dish (without getting any heart trouble. Just make sure to exercise and knock off those extra cholesterol (which are naturally-occuring in our body anyway).

I can smell the garlic! Here's charming Travis with his Adobong Mah-nack;-)

Here's a brief history of adobo.



At Tuesday, July 21, 2009 at 1:30:00 PM GMT+10 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Edd,

Ahah! This setting is definitely more user-friendly.

Some would argue this is too much ado about adobo but I agree with you, P.I.S.S. is not only misleading but also an unimaginative alternative name to the dish.

I personally think it's the deep frying of the adobo chicken pieces, the right use of black pepper and garlic to the dish, and the amount of time you let the dish sit in low heat for at least a couple of hours to soak in the flavour that makes adobo, adobo. not the pork nor the soy sauce! Because I tend to cook chicken and pork adobo, y'know!

Michelle B.

At Tuesday, July 21, 2009 at 1:59:00 PM GMT+10 , Blogger edd aragon said...

looks like it worked.thx michelle.
yep, one secret of adobo is to meat marinate first (ideally overnight). yum.


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