Chicago Adobofest 2010!

Adobo. It's the national dish of the Philippines and a favorite comfort food of mine. When I heard that there would be a Chicago festival completely dedicated to this awesome dish, I wasn't going to pass it up. Soon enough, I threw my hat into the ring and decided to compete in this year's Chicago Adobofest 2010. It was a blast, even made more fun when a few What's Cookin, Chicago friends joined me to help serve and promote What's Cookin, Chicago's Tropical Adobo...

Thanks to the folks at FAN (Filipino American Network), the Adobofest this year was a success and a great time for all. They really did a fabulous job organizing all the 21 contestants competing as well as having a great entertainment and program lineup for those in attendance. We claimed our contestant spot in a corner so that we could have maximum space for our stuff, our What's Cookin, Chicago group and it had a great view of the crowds coming in during the event.

Friends, Sue, Jason & Lisa were such a great help - thank you guys! We all worked together as a solid team from decorating our corner, the display table, as well as serving up our special adobo to the masses. We were contestant number 17 and I thought our display was one of the best (if I may say so myself!). From the colorful flowers and tablecloth, to the dishes and plating, we had such an enticing entry to hard to resist!

Now all adobo starts out the same by sauteeing onions and garlic in a bit of oil. Once softened, protein is added, which is usually some kind cut of beef, pork or chicken. Once the protein is in, soy sauce and vinegar is added. Anything in addition to these ingredients is a variation of the dish. They say that there are rarely 2 exact same adobo recipes since everyone makes theirs a little different and to their tastes. For the contest, I made 2 large cauldrons (or calderos) of my special Tropical Adobo. It used about 20 pounds of pork spareribs, a large bottle of soy sauce, vinegar, a few heads of fresh garlic, a few pounds of yellow onions and my special ingredient, crushed pineapple.

My Tropical Adobo joined quite a few other contestants, all that have something special about them...

So what does the winner of Adobofest receive? The winner receives a $500 gift certificate to Sunda restaurant, $200 gift certificate to Wave restaurant, a box to ship items to family and friends in the Philippines (aka Balikbayan box), 25 pounds of jasmine rice and bragging rights until next year! Sadly, What's Cookin, Chicago's Tropical Adobo did not place in the adobo finals but winning wasn't everything. It was moreso the camaraderie of What's Cookin, Chicago members, fellow contestants and just being able to come together with the Filipino community of Chicago. But congrats to 'Adobo Ring of Fire' who won! After our first time competing in Adobofest, I hope to join again and submit another adobo recipe next year!


  1. They all looked great. I didn't place either :D There is always next year.

  2. great event and great food! nice to see filipino getting together for a great cause.

  3. I would have loved to have been there! I will have to mark my calendar for next year. Yum yum!

  4. this is amazing. I wish they had a festival like this where I live. I would totally visit Chicago just for this. Looks like a great event. Glad to see Filipino culture being promoted :)

  5. Wow! Your post makes my mouth water. Amazing!!! I'm a true Filipino and I love adobo. Thanks for your post.

  6. wow :) i wish i was there to taste all your yummy adobo versions. they all look good.