who's John Cabrera?

oh that's right… it's me.

Adobong Manok


Jasmine asked in my previous post what my favorite Filipino food is. Answer: adobong manok or chicken adobo.

As I mentioned before, I was born in the Philippines and then moved to the US. My parents lived in the US previously. They studied at NYU Medical Center before heading to Lebanon, PA and then to Florida. They moved back to the Philippines briefly, got me, and returned back to the US. It’s kind-of funny to see them still adapting to the American culture. I mean, do you know how awkward is it to try explaining what a “booty call” is or what “jumping his bones” means? Or the differences between “screwing,” “screwed up,” and “screwed over”? Fun times.

However, as much American culture I bring to them, they also get some Filipino culture back to me. Filipinos are the fastest growing Asian community in US (or so I’ve been told). There are several Filipino organizations and associations that my parents are a part of. There are festivals and balls that are purely surrounded in the culture. All of my best friends (all of them non-Filipinos) have been to at least one of these events and for the most part, they have fun. Simply because they don’t have something like that. I mean, how many times can you say, “Oh yeah, I’m going to a ball tomorrow night”?

I guess that that’s the thing with US and the different nationalities that come to here. Although we’re away from our “home country,” it doesn’t necessarily mean that everything is forgotten. So, here’s a challenge of y’all: see if there’s a cultural festival or the like in your area. Filipino, Greek, Italian, Mexican, Haitian, Russian, doesn’t matter… go to it and learn a little about that culture. If you, yourself, have a strong cultural background or your family does, see if there are any associations or organizations for it and join or at least go to one of their events.

In the end, what exactly is an American? The settlers and founders of our country came here with their different cultures (English, Dutch, French, German, Spanish) and they were able to mix and learn from it other. How about now?

Also, Jasmine, pansit is good, too.


  1. Well, I like your challenge a lot, M. I’ve immersed myself in quite a few cultures… in fact you and I have something in common. I have a similar relationship to my Cuban heritage… growing up surrounded by the food and the customs, and a father who came to this country later in his life. There is a sort of sharing that goes on between us.

    Anyway, since I don’t eat fowl, I have to pass on the chicken adobo. But is adobong manok vegetarian? Or does it have fish in it instead of beef or chicken? I’d love to try to make some Filipino cuisine. I don’t think I’ve ever tried any. That would certainly qualify for your challenge, right?

  2. John,

    “Adobong manok” and “chicken adobo” are the same thing. :) Manok = chicken.

    You could try “pinangat,” which is a fish dish I particularly enjoy.

    – Patrice

  3. Moving to Louisiana 10 years ago after living all over the mid-west was a major cultural change. It’s like it’s own little country. Laws are different, food is diverse, if you travel 10 miles you even get a new dialect or whole language change. Louisiana, probably more than any other state, is a true melting pot of cultures which have combined to form it’s own traditions, foods and celebrations.

    For all it’s political corruption and hurricane messes, I’ve fallen in love with the art, food, music, culture and quirks that are a result of the blending of so many different kinds of people. Perfect atmosphere for a mutt like me.

  4. Sorry, its early and only had one cup o’ coffee. I apologize for killing the “it, it’s, its” thing all over my last comment.

  5. I grew up in NYC so to me, the blending of cultures in my community has always seemed to happen very naturally and fluidly. There are always cultural events happening all over the city, especially in the summer, but there are also sections of the city carved out where these communities are formed. Off the top of my head, I can name at least 4 different areas that are Chinese-dominant. There are a few areas that are distinctly Dominican, Russian, etc. That’s not to say that there aren’t people of different cultures living in these communities. I guess what I’m trying to say is that, during the day, we all mix in well together, work together, play together, etc. but then at the end of the day, we don’t necessarily live together? So how “mixed in” are we? Ok I’m not explaining this well at ALL.

    So I feel like, in terms of New York anyway, that we are still able to learn from each other and adapt/adopt from each others’ cultures, if anything, far more easily than in the past but at the same time I feel like no one really has a good way of defining “American.” It’s certainly too complicated for me to attempt within a 2000-character limit in a comment box!

    Anyway, I love pansit! I feel like it’s very similar to pad thai or other random Asian rice noodle dishes. I’m not saying that pansit isn’t authentic Filipino food or anything, I’m just saying that it’s a good example of what you were talking about. I think noodle dishes are the best examples of borrowing and mixing ideas from other countries. For every noodle dish that is supposed to be like a “national dish” of a certain country, there are many versions/variations of the same dish for other countries. Know what I mean?

    This was the longest comment ever, I am so sorry for being such a big rambler.

  6. Came back to this post to see if anyone left any adobo recipes I could try myself and saw a call for fish or vegetable adobo recipes. I myself have none, as my dad (mom doesn’t cook really) always made it with chicken or pork.

    For a fishy-friendly dish, I like sinigang (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sinigang) made with prawns. If you want to make it yourself, I recommend trying this recipe for fish sinigang from Burnt Lumpia: http://burntlumpia.typepad.com/burnt_lumpia/2007/10/sinigang.html. Actually, BL is recommended reading if you like reading about food, Filipinos, or just anything funny, as it’s author Marvin is a funny dude.

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