Filipino Chicken Adobo Recipe

By Bianca Garcia

© Bianca Garcia

© Bianca Garcia

During one of our early BOSFilipinos meetings, Leila, Trish, and I talked about our family’s version of adobo. I said my family’s is very vinegary, Trish said her family’s is a little sweet, and Leila said her family’s is pretty balanced, with equal amounts of soy sauce and vinegar. We all said our family’s version is the best.

If you don’t know yet, adobo is any meat or any combination of meats that is are braised and simmered in vinegar, soy sauce, lots of garlic, black peppercorn, and bay leaves. Saveur wrote a good Beginner’s Guide to Adobo. It’s the unofficial national dish of the Philippines, so ingrained in our culture, that just the thought of the fragrant stew can make any Filipino think fondly of home.

One of the wonderful things about adobo is you can alter it in many different ways to make it your own. You can change the ratio of vinegar and soy sauce, you can use different meats (my family’s go to is pork and liver) or vegetables (my favorite is sitaw, or string beans), you can add coconut milk, a little sugar, onions, ginger, hard-boiled eggs, chilies. However way you make it, I’m sure it will be delicious. And pretty soon, you’ll be claiming your version is the best.

CHICKEN ADOBO Recipe by Bianca Garcia


6 chicken thighs (bone-in, skin-on)

1 ½ cups vinegar

½ cup soy sauce

10 garlic cloves (around 1 whole head of garlic), smashed

1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns

1 teaspoon coarse salt

8-10 dried bay leaves

1 cup water

1 tablespoon olive oil

fresh chives for garnish


  1. Place the chicken, vinegar, soy sauce, bay leaves, salt, peppercorns, and seven of the smashed garlic cloves in a heavy pot over medium heat. Add one cup water, plus more if necessary, to barely cover the meat. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium and simmer, covered, for 30 minutes.

  2. Remove the cover and simmer, uncovered, for another 30 minutes.

  3. Use a slotted spoon to remove the chicken and set aside. Increase heat to high and allow the broth to continue simmering.

  4. In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the remaining garlic cloves. Add chicken and sear each piece on both sides until golden brown and skin is crispy.

  5. Return chicken to the pot, and continue reducing the sauce by simmering for at least 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the sauce thickens to your liking. Serve with white rice, and garnish with chives, green onion, and/or chilies.

If you’d like to read more of my story, check out my post on Filipino Chicken Adobo on Confessions of a Chocoholic.

And If you’d like to explore other variations, check out the following recipes:

Chicken Adobo is the Greatest Recipe of All time by Bon Appetit

What I Cook When I’m Alone: Top Chef Winner Paul Qui’s Pork Adobo Recipee


Filipinos in Boston: An Interview with Food Photographer Tina Picz

By Trish Fontanilla

Picture provided by Tina Picz / Tina with her husband and daughter

Picture provided by Tina Picz / Tina with her husband and daughter

Where are you from?
I grew up in Massachusetts and have lived in California, Florida, and Brooklyn, NY. My mom is from Leyte, Philippines and my dad is from Rhode Island. 

And what do you do?
I've been a food photographer for over 3 years and a freelance writer as well.

What inspired you to be a photographer?
I became a food photographer after having a cooking blog in NY for a bit, by way of trying many creative outlets over the years like singing in bands, designing clothing, planning fashion shows and selling vintage clothing. I'm always in search of new artistic paths, and have loved trying my hand at many different mediums of self-expression. I've always enjoyed capturing moments of beauty, in whatever form I could, and sharing them with others.

On Boston...

How long have you been in Boston?
I have been back in Boston for 3 years now after moving around the country for 6 years.

What are your favorite Boston spots? Could be restaurants / parks / anything!
Some of my favorite spots are Boston Public Garden, biking along Charles River, and for food I love Mei Mei, Pho House, Dosa N Curry, The Indo, Whole Heart Provisions, and My Thai Vegan Cafe.

© Tina Picz / Jacqueline Dole pop-up at Mei Mei

© Tina Picz / Jacqueline Dole pop-up at Mei Mei

What's been your favorite, or one of your favorite photoshoots?

One of my favorite photoshoots in Boston was probably a pop-up dinner event at Mei Mei a few years ago, at which Jacqueline Dole, founder of Parlor Ice Cream Co., was pastry chef and made delicious Baked Alaska. I loved the local, seasonal, one-night menu, and the usage of handmade pottery by Adria Katz. It was fun to get behind the scenes and capture the chefs cooking, the young, lively staff having a good time, and of course eating the great food they offered!

What's your community superpower?
Helping food pantries and food businesses tell their stories through photographs. I especially love working with local female entrepreneurs and small businesses, and seeing all the ingenious and creative ways that they've incorporated food into the community to benefit those less fortunate. I like offering my photography skills as a volunteer service where it can help spread the word to more people regarding ways to get involved locally.

On Filipino Food...

© Tina Picz / Tina's mom's birthday party

© Tina Picz / Tina's mom's birthday party

What's your all-time favorite Filipino dish?
My all time favorite Filipino dishes are: Sinigang (my mom's fish soup), Fish Adobo, Champorado (chocolate rice), Biko (sweet rice cake), Puto (rice cake), and Suman (coconut sticky rice in banana leaves).

What's your favorite Filipino recipe / dish to make?
My favorite to make is Champorado because it's easy and sweet!

How can people stay in touch with you?  
To stay in touch, follow me on Instagram @bostonfoodphoto and @deerdrifter or

©Shannon Aubourg / Tina with her mother and her daughter

©Shannon Aubourg / Tina with her mother and her daughter

Thank You For a Wonderful 2017

Hi BFfers -

Well, it’s been one heck of a year! From Bianca and Leila meeting in person for the first time (!!!) at the start of the year to officially starting BOSFilipinos this summer and then doing our first eatup with the Milagros Project early this Fall. We just wanted to take a moment to say thank you for coming along this journey with us. Whether it was coming to an event, forwarding a newsletter, retweeting a tweet, or liking an Instagram post, every little bit of support has meant so much to us. It really takes a village when building up a community! In 2018 we’re looking forward to doing more events, sharing your stories, and connecting more people and groups in this wonderful city we call home.

But for now, we’re enjoying time with family this holiday season…

Clockwise - Bianca and her husband Matt on their wedding day in July; Leila and her family during Christmas brunch this year; Trish and her family during their Noche Buena celebration. 

Clockwise - Bianca and her husband Matt on their wedding day in July; Leila and her family during Christmas brunch this year; Trish and her family during their Noche Buena celebration. 

… and we wanted to say, Kapayapaan, Kasaganahan, at Kasiyahan sa Bagong Taon (Peace, Prosperity, and Happiness in the New Year!). 

Interview with Ray Hallare of Dowel Furniture

By Trish Fontanilla

Image provided by Ray Hallare

Image provided by Ray Hallare

Last month I had a chance to catch up with an old friend of mine, Ray Hallare. Ray and I met about 6 years ago through MassChallenge, a global startup accelerator that’s headquartered here in Boston. We bonded over our love of startups, and at one point, I even suggested we start a Filipino food cart here in town. While that never came to fruition, we both did end up starting ventures with ties back to the Philippines. Check out the interview below to learn more about the business that sprung out of his family’s factory in the Philippines, his favorite things around Boston, and of course Filipino food.

Where are you from originally?
Pasig City, Manila, Philippines

And what do you do?
I am one of the co-founders of Dowel Furniture. We sell custom designer-created furniture online.

Image provided by Ray Hallare / Dowel Furniture

Image provided by Ray Hallare / Dowel Furniture

What inspired you to start Dowel Furniture?
My family has been in the furniture manufacturing business my entire life and it's something that my sister, who's my business partner, and I grew up with. We felt that people have become more savvy about finding quality furniture online over the last couple of years and felt that this was a great opportunity. It was the right timing for us to build on top of our family's manufacturing expertise, and start a vertically integrated digital furniture brand.

Image provided by Ray Hallare / Dowel Furniture

Image provided by Ray Hallare / Dowel Furniture

What's been your favorite, or one of your fave pieces of furniture that you've made?
One of my favorite pieces we've done so far from our designer created collections is probably the Parisienne Chair. I think it's a great take on a classic chair profile and can easily fit in a lot of rooms either as a dining chair or as a standalone accent piece.

Image provided by Ray Hallare / Dowel Furniture

Image provided by Ray Hallare / Dowel Furniture

On Boston...

How long did you live in Boston?
I’ve been in NY for the last year, but I was in Boston for 10 years before I moved to NY. I also go back and forth to Manila every 3-4 months or so to check on production.

What are your favorite Boston spots? Could be restaurants / parks / anything!
Hmm... favorite spots are tough, haha. I'll break it down I guess:

  • Restaurant would be O Ya, which is probably a once in 5 year restaurant though because it's so expensive haha

  • Boston Common because I like walking through it, despite it being cliche

  • TD Garden mainly because I love watching Celtics games

Image provided by Ray Hallare / Dowel Furniture

Image provided by Ray Hallare / Dowel Furniture

On Filipino food…

What's your all-time favorite Filipino dish?
It's probably a tie between kare kare with bagoong [a type of meat stew with shrimp paste] or lechon paksiw [a dish made with leftover roast pig]. I've always liked the day-after lechon made into paksiw better than day-of lechon.  

What's your favorite Filipino recipe / dish to make?
It’s probably adobo [the unofficial national dish of the Philippines] because of value for time. It takes awhile to make but not because it's hard to make. It's super simple and tastes great.  

How can people stay in touch with you?  
Through our website:
Via email:
Or @hallarer on everything

You can also check out their showroom in NYC or at the Eliza B Design Studio in Concord.

Thanks for taking the time to chat, Ray!

Of Cockfights and Adobo

by Bianca Garcia

© Bianca Garcia

© Bianca Garcia

This is an excerpt of an article I wrote for Offline Magazine (now shuttered down). I wanted to write about a controversial local tradition, and weave in stories about my family and food (of course). The entire piece is published on my blog.


I stared at the gates outside the arena, gray and rusty, paint peeling off. The scorching sun was beating down on us, bright and relentless, and on the ground there were clouds of dirt being kicked around by the flip flops that everyone wears. There were sounds of children playing nearby. It was a typical provincial scene, grand and quaint at the same time. We shuffled to the entrance, and then we entered a different world.

We were at the cockfighting arena in San Fernando, Pampanga, a province in the Philippines. Dark, humid, loud and thumping, I could feel a frantic energy pulsing in the air. It was my first time going to see a cockfight, or “sabong” as it is called in Filipino. Cockfighting is a blood sport so violent that it’s outlawed in many other countries, but it has been part of Filipino culture for centuries.

In the Philippines, cockfighting is a great equalizer, where the rich and poor come together without any class distinctions. It is a community activity that brings neighbors together and ignites the bonding of the townsfolk’s men. A common joke among the wives is that the roosters are luckier than they are, because their husbands caress and lovingly massage the roosters first thing in the morning. Up until the 60s, when most parts of the country started becoming more urbanized, almost every backyard had chicken and rooster coops, with every family being invested in the sport of cockfighting.

To read the rest of the article, please head over to Confessions of a Chocoholic.

Filipino American History Month 2017

Did you know that October is Filipino American History Month (FAHM)? While it was established by the Filipino American National Historical Society in 1988, it wasn’t officially recognized nationally by Congress until 2009.

As I started to work on a FAHM post for the blog, I found the AARP / NextDayBetter video that came out earlier this month. For a video that’s only 7 minutes long, it does an incredible job of highlighting Filipino American contributions and history dating back to 1587! Most of which, I must say, was not in any of my history books growing up in New Jersey.

Some new things I learned from the video (including links to learn more) were:

  • Filipinos have been in what is now known as the continental United States since 1587 -
  • Many FIlipinos first formed settlements in Louisiana (Saint Malo) - link
  • Some Filipinos were at the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair… on display - link
  • Filipino towns such as Stockton’s Little Manila served as a safe haven for labor migrants who were accused of stealing jobs… and women - link
  • The 1934 Congress restricted immigration from the Philippines to just 50 Filipinos per year - link
  • During WWII - 250,000 Filipinos served in the United States Armed Forces of the Far East - link
  • Filipino veterans in the Philippines were promised US citizenship and benefits, but the passing of the 1946 Rescission Act broke that promise - link
  • At one point, there were more Filipinos in the US Navy than the Philippines Navy - link
  • In 1965, the Immigration Act greatly expanded quotas (right around when my parents came to the US!), and by 1970 the Filipino community more than doubled. Population stats: 1930 - 45,000; 1970 - 343,00; 1980 - 774,000 - link
  • There are now over 4,000,000 Filipinos in the United States, and that’s just an estimation from 2011 - link

    And those are just a handful of the stats that are in the video!

    To watch the video in its entirety, click below and let us know what you learned!