Adobo as Philippines' national dish? Chef weighs in

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — The U.S. has the perfectly-charred hamburgers as their national dish, South Korea has the healthy and flavorful bulgogi, and Hungary has their slow-cooked goulash stew.

The Philippines, on the other hand, has no official national dish.

Last year, Bohol First Representative Rene Relampagos proposed to officially name adobo as the country's national food in the House Bill 3926 or the "Philippine National Symbols Act of 2014."

Chef, TV host, author, and self-proclaimed "Adobo Queen" Nancy Reyes-Lumen weighs in on her reasons why she also thinks the ubiquitous adobo should be the Philippines' national food.

In an exclusive interview with CNN Philippines, she cited that adobo should be named as our country's official national food because it is easy to prepare, with many different varieties — from the choice of meat down to the sauce base.

"That makes adobo so Pinoy in character," she said.

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Reyes-Lumen added that adobo is easy to transport and to bring to outings because it doesn't spoil as easily even without refrigeration. Some may argue that it actually tastes even better as few days pass.

The versatility of the adobo brings it close to the hearts and the stomachs of Filipinos and foreigners alike, said Reyes-Lumen.

When she would ask people what they know about Filipino food, they would have adobo on the top of their minds — that's why Reyes-Lumen thinks that it is only apt to adapt adobo as our national dish.

Reyes-Lumen advocates that the country needs to choose our country's most famous dish as our national food.

"Every Filipino knows about adobo and how to cook it — they even have their unique ways to prepare it."

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While some may argue that the adobo originated either from our Spanish colonizers, from the Mexicans, or from the French, Reyes-Lumen believes that the unique ways Filipinos prepare it make it 100% Pinoy.

"It is mestizo in the sense and the name is not originally Pinoy because it came from the French dish called Daube. But the way we cook and sour it, it is very much ours," she said.

There are countless of way to prepare adobo: cooked with gata or coconut, with pork and/or chicken, dry and crispy, or the traditional way with a saucy mix of vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, bay leaf, and other spices.

Unlocking the secret to the best adobo

Reyes-Lumen revealed to CNN Philippines the secret to cooking the best adobo: "You need to have a natural and young coconut where the vinegar comes from. Nothing too sour to be able to create a well-rounded flavor."

Chef Nancy likes it best cooked just like how her grandmother Lola Asiang prepared it — with slowly cooked pork belly or liempo.

"Until the skin would be so sticky and soft that you can pinch it. It makes the sauce sticky. That is my favorite," the "Adobo Queen" said.