Anyone of Filipino descent who blindly rejects the national dish of the Philippines is a disgrace. Hi, I'm the disgrace and I never gave adobo a chance.
I never understood why meats and poultry were paired with sour tastes growing up. As a youngster, I thought sour flavors belonged exclusively to lemons, limes, and red candy belts that left my tongue feeling like a pilled sock. Besides, adobo wasn't featured on television. I wanted to eat what everyone else was eating... pizza, pasta, and stuffed mushrooms! Oh, and let's not forget the convenient McDonald's Happy Meal.
It was the end of 2017 and it's about damn time I sold my soul to the adobo devil. Hell, I sold it and there's no returns or exchanges involved with this one. Marvin Gapultos' Pork Belly Pineapple Adobo in The Adobo Road Cookbook had me at final sale—a.k.a. my first stab at adobo was my favorite dish of 2017. Period.
This piece of heaven was braised in a slow, 3-hour bath during the day and marinated in its own juicy goodness overnight. Then, this baby went straight to the chopping block so it can better hit the hot skillet that was primed in its own congealed fat. I mean, can you say... HELLO. *Adele voice optional*
The smell of my kitchen transported me back to the good times of my Philippines travel. I couldn't wait to sit down and be comforted by a warm dish of tender, tender, tender pork belly... only to be slapped back to reality when I realized I had to wait and photograph everything first.
The cooking process for day 2 went on for a good 40 minutes. It included a skillet covered in a beautiful fond-y mess, a ripe pineapple freshly sliced, and a brown, reducing sauce that perfectly coated the back of my spoon. Not to mention, I was listening to episode 3 of Serious Eats' Special Sauce podcast (which is great by the way).
The taste? Don't get me started. If melt-in-your-mouth had a photo next to its in-book definition, this adobo would be right next to it. Each slice of meat and pineapple had a slick texture and the sweet and sour combination matched like no other. Simply, I took a taste, died, and came back to spread the good news.
This isn't the last of my adobo exploration. I'm a new person now.
It's easy to compare highlight reels to what actually happens in day-to-day life. This is why I want to show what cooking looks like behind-the-scenes! The cooking process isn't always picture perfect—it's hot and sometimes messy.