The Adobo Bento– a Pinoy take on Japanese boxed meals

Finalist: Best Single Food PostAs a kid I was fascinated with bentos since I first saw one on Japan Video Topics. If you are unfamiliar about Japan Video Topics, it’s a mini-program wherein they showcase things of interest about Japan and it’s culture such as tourist spots, festivals,technology, food, etc. These are shown on a daily basis during odd hours on state-owned TV stations.

Recently, I found a renewed fascination for bentos, due in part to Kaoko’s creations. I’ve been trying to find the right opportunity to make a bento, and that opportunity presented itself when Nina suggested we have a picnic at the La Mesa Eco Park in Quezon City. I thought about what I was going to bring. It had to be something easy to prepare, something that we definitely like to eat because we would be sharing, and something Filipino. And adobo definitely is all three! So I decided to bring an adobo bento to our trip to the park. I paired it up with brown rice and a siding of fried eggplant, diced tomatoes and bagoong (sautéed shrimp paste).'s Pinoy Bento for Lasang Pinoy Challenge #25
The Bento

Adobo has been synonymous to Pinoy food for as long as I can remember. If you asked someone to name a Filipino dish, chances are the answer you’ll get is “adobo”. Ask a fellow Pinoy or foreigners who have Filipino friends and contacts, and most of the time, that is going to be the answer. I don’t know why, but it just seems to be the case.

Adobong Liempo - Pinoy Bento for Lasang Pinoy Challenge #25
Adobong Liempo

This is so easy to cook. I used pork belly cut into cubes, and started by sautéing it in oil with chopped garlic and onions. I sautéed it until all the pink is gone and before adding a tablespoon of oyster sauce. Next, I poured in the soy sauce which I allowed to simmer before adding in the cane vinegar. I brought it to a boil, lowered the flame, and allowed it to simmer until the sauce has reduced and thickened, and the meat is tender. I continued to simmer it on low heat until most of the sauce has been absorbed by the meat, and the fat has been rendered. I then allowed the pork meat to fry a little bit in the fat before taking it off the flame.

Kamatis, Talong at Bagoong  - Pinoy Bento for Lasang Pinoy Challenge #25
Kamatis, Talong at Bagoong

While I waited for the adobo to cook, I worked on my side dishes. I fried slices of eggplant, diced some tomatoes and scooped out some bagoong from the jar.

Brown Rice - Pinoy Bento for Lasang Pinoy Challenge #25
Brown Rice

After the food has cooled slightly, I proceeded to put the bento together. Since I don’t have bento boxes, I used some disposable microwavable plastic containers which we already had. I used three containers in all, and to give it a more Filipino feel, I lined the containers with banana leaves. For garnishes, I used a tomato peel rosette for the adobo, and some banana leaves cut like bento grass for the rice.

This is’s first time to join the Lasang Pinoy challenge. Thank you Ajay for hosting this round!

21 thoughts on “The Adobo Bento– a Pinoy take on Japanese boxed meals”

  1. Thanks for joining. Lovely pics, am sure the dish tastes as good in real life! I cannot, will not ever , resist adobo. Yum!

  2. ei ryan, your site make me crave for more food, haha, (yeah after the food tour!) haha! nice meeting u there, angel/bleue here 🙂

  3. Ajay: Pareho tayo! Weakness ko rin ang adobo. And Sinigang. And Munggo. And lechon manok… XD

    Bleue: I didn’t get to meet you, but hi and thanks for dropping by!

    Brian: Hey teammate! I tasted this bento and it was GOOD!

  4. @ Ajay- I find adobo terribly irresistible too! Props to nina for taking such nice photos. =)

    @ Bleue- Hey man! it was nice to meet you, too. I personally felt like I couldn’t eat for 2 days after that tour! lol

    @ Brian- Well… di sa pagbubuhat ng sariling banko… but yeah it was really good! XD Paired up with fried egglplant, tomatoes and alamang, this was so deadly!

    @ Ces- If someone drools over these photos, then we’ve achieved our goal. =)

    @ Nina- Don’t forget the liempo, and the salmon. And palabok…… XD
    Speaking of palabok, I’m craving for some…

  5. Adobo is actually one of my favourite baon food and that adobong liempo partnered with talong, bagoong and kamatis looks really delish!

    Thanks for joining LP25, Ryan!

  6. I love how you used the banana leaf as liner and divider! So lasang pinoy 🙂

    Perfect pairing of the adobo and the side dishes too. Made me hungry!

  7. @ Mike- Thank you! It was my pleasure.

    @ JMom- I know! I can’t have adobo without those side dishes. It just seems so incomplete.

    Thank you for noticing. I thought it adds more to the bento’s pinoy feel.

  8. Thanks to you alam ko na babauin namin sa pagpunta sa la mesa ecopark…………….

  9. it must be because food historians believe adobo is our national dish…i love adobo!

    P.S. where did you buy those bento boxes? they look neat. 🙂

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