Tablea Adobo: Add Chocolate For a Mexican Spin on Our National Dish

March 17, 2016

Adobo is unofficially our national dish. It is often our most recognizable food, one that has eclipsed sisig, sinigang, and others, to become a representation of our cuisine. With its basic ingredients, it addresses the flavor profiles Filipinos tend to love—suka for sour, soy sauce for salty. There are variations of it across the country, and even across kitchens; there’s never any adobo that is as good as the one you grew up with at home.

This is why it’s incredibly difficult to make riffs on the dish without creating divisions, but we’re here to try anyway. Add rich, bittersweet tablea to regular adobo for some unexpectedly delicious results. A more complex sauce develops, which has both roots in our garlicky, simmered adobo, and that of Mexican mole. It is just as savory, but adds a deep, semi-sweet, semi-bitter richness that only dark chocolate can provide. Add maybe a chilli or two to add some heat, or leave this adobo alone to develop into a dark stew. This is far from your lola‘s good old-fashioned take.


Tablea Adobo

Time: 1 hour 30 mins (10 mins prep, 1 hr and 20 mins cooking)
Yield: 4-6 servings, estimated


  • 500g chicken quarters, cut in half
  • 500g pork shoulder, cut into 2-inch cubes
  • 3/4 cup vinegar
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2 heads garlic, cut horizontally
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 2 tsp whole peppercorns
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 3 unsweetened tablea


  1. Put all the ingredients into a pot and bring it to a boil. Lower the heat and allow the stew to simmer until the meat is tender, about just over an hour.
  2. Strain the meat from the liquid and set the chicken and pork aside.
  3. Add the tablea into the sauce, mixing it over the flame until it is completely dissolved. Return the meat into the sauce. Cook for an additional five minutes. Serve with rice.
Pamela Cortez Pamela Cortez

Pamela Cortez writes about food full-time, and has honed her craft while writing for publications such as Rogue, Town and Country, and The Philippine Star. She once rode on a mule for a mile just to eat mint tea and lamb in Morocco, and has eaten a block of Quickmelt in one sitting. Her attempt at food photography can be viewed online @meyarrr.

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One response to “Tablea Adobo: Add Chocolate For a Mexican Spin on Our National Dish”

  1. Emrys Capati says:

    I’d recommend changing the color of your font from white to black. Then you can delete this comment.

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