Adobo with egg, pork floss scrambled eggs: Pinoy favorites given a Chinoy twist

By Stanley Ong See 07 August, 2017
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It’s been written, it’s been ridiculed, and it has certainly been attached to the way Chinese-Filipinos cook the Philippines’ most famous dish - the humble adobo. That magic combination of chicken parts and/or pork together with soy sauce, vinegar, and a few leaves of laurel or bay leaf is given a Chinoy twist by adding hard boiled egg (水煮蛋) and sometimes parboiled potatoes. 

I actually grew up eating adobo this way. My mom even puts a little cornstarch diluted in water to act as a thickener to the adobo sauce; making it silky smooth and delicious when poured over a hot mound of steaming rice or savory garlic rice. My mom’s version is very flavorful despite having a lot of sauce, a necessity since my younger brother would treat the brown adobo sauce like an elixir when we were younger.

Chicken adobo and adobong itlog, separately, makes sense to most Filipinos. But putting the two together in a single dish is a bit of a head-scratcher to them.

The fact is putting a Chinoy twist to Filipino classics and meal staples isn’t limited to the chicken and pork adobo. Adding an unorthodox ingredient like putting kondol or winter melon (冬瓜) into a boiling pot of nilagang buto ng baboy (Boiled/braised pork bones) adds a nice texture and lends a subtle flavor to the pipping hot dish. 

Braised (nilaga) pork with winter melon.

While the pork meat gets more tender on every succeeding reheats, the winter melon loses its texture over time and is best eaten within the day. 

For breakfast aficionados, the humble scrambled eggs or plain omelette is elevated to a higher level by sprinkling a few strands of pork floss (豬肉絲) or mahu in the middle. The pork floss gives the dish a savory layer that is both flavorful and light. Pork floss, sweet Chinese sausage, and tasty asado/char siu (叉燒) are also popular toppings to the humble lugaw or congee. 

That same asado can also accompany day-old stale rice, eggs, a few cloves of garlic, and spring onions to make a wonderful serving of fried rice. 

The last Filipino staple given a Chinoy twist is the roasted chicken where the marinade and sauce contain spices like star anise (八角), cloves (丁香), and fennel seeds (小茴香). Country Chicken House has a distinct oriental flavor in every piece of their jumbo chicken. Their sauce/gravy is also spicier compared to the ones from other roasted chicken establishments.

As Filipinos have adopted the dishes and taste of Chinese food into the Philippine culture - think pancit, lumpia, siopao, siomai, and Yang Chow Fried Rice - so have Chinoys blended their ingredients into their interpretation of Pinoy favorites and simple household fares. This list merely describe the type of “fusion” food that I grew up in, what about in your household?

Honorable mention: Prawns with ginger, scallions/green onions, and oyster sauce; flat, spiced chicken and pork chops (think Hot Star Chicken and Tasty Dumplings).

Share, comment, and describe your hybrid Chinoy dishes below.

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Last modified on Friday, 11 August 2017 19:11

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