Why it’s (almost) impossible to cook Adobo in Indonesia

UPDATE: I’ve proven myself wrong.

For the Cebuano version of this piece, click here.

Let me tell you a secret. If you’re planning to cook your favourite Filipino Adobo in Indonesia, forget it. They say that there are only two kinds of Adobo: one that is masarap, and the other is the one you’re attempting to cook in this country.

The reason? Indonesia does not have these two mighty ingredients for your Adobo…

Filipino soy sauce brand Silver Swan. Photo by PinoyOutlet.com
Filipino vinegar brand Datu Puti. Photo courtesy of BigBag.com.ph

And you might wonder, don’t they have counterparts for these two? They do, but their taste don’t come close to our toyo and suka.

Our Filipino toyo may look similar to the Indonesian kecap manis because they’re both made of fermented paste of boiled soybeans. The difference is unlike the thinner texture and the salty taste of toyokecap manis (pronounced KEH-chuhp MAH-nees) is a thick and sweet sauce with a hint of garlic and star anise.

Look at that thick texture, how does one make an adobo with a kecap manis? Photo courtesy of FineCooking.com

And what about the Indonesia counterpart of suka? They call it cuka (pronounced CHU-ka). If you think our suka is maasim, well to disappoint you, may maasim pa sa suka. The sourness of Filipino vinegar brand Datu puti, whose main ingredients include cane vinegar and water, is nothing compared to the Indonesian cuka. Made of acetic acid and water, cuka is so sour that they even classified it as corrosive liquid.

Indonesian vinegar is classified as corrosive liquid. Photo courtesy of Grivy.com

So if you’re planning to stay in Indonesia for a very long time, you might think of bringing with you toyo and suka. Unless you want to make a very sad adobo. I’ve tried cooking one and it looks like this…


Calling NutriAsia and Silver Swan, when are you coming to Indonesia?

Got any tips on how to make a Filipino Adobo minus the usual ingredients? Share them below.


6 thoughts on “Why it’s (almost) impossible to cook Adobo in Indonesia

  1. Well, you cannot bring the whole country with you now, can you? There should be a reason for you to come home, right?

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