Try this chicken adobo recipe from Lee Johnson, founder of Filipino food venture Bong Bong's Manila Kanteen. Lee says, "Chicken adobo is a family staple that reminds me of my childhood – and it was the first Filipino dish that my partner Sinead tried. It’s known as the unofficial national dish but every single Filipino family has their own recipe, so there are hundreds of variations. Our favourite is the wet version made with coconut vinegar, light soy sauce, onion, plenty of garlic and bay."

This is a recipe that Lee shared as part of his guide to Filipino cuisine. Check it out to learn about purple Filipino sweet potato, noodle soups and sticky, caramelised saba bananas.

Bong Bong’s Manila Kanteen is the latest Filipino food venture from Lee Johnson and his partner Sinead Campbell. They started with food truck BBQ Dreamz in 2014, winning BBC Two’s My Million Pound Menu. Based in Kerb’s indoor market in Covent Garden, Bong Bong’s has a menu based on the founding flavours of Filipino cuisine.

Lee's chicken adobo recipe tip: "For this recipe, you’ll need a casserole and a non-metal spatula. ‘I nicknamed this dish 'Lola's chicken adobo'. Lola means ‘grandmother’ in Tagalog – the name I affectionately called my late gran, Marina."

Chicken adobo recipe


  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1kg whole chicken legs and thighs
  • 6-7 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 125ml light soy sauce
  • 170ml coconut vinegar
  • 4 large dried bay leaves
  • ½ tbsp whole black peppercorns
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • steamed rice, to serve


  • STEP 1

    Heat the oil in a casserole over a medium-high heat and brown the chicken pieces on all sides. Remove to a plate. Turn down the heat to medium and lightly fry the garlic until just brown. Return the chicken to the dish and add the soy, vinegar, bay and peppercorns. Turn the heat back up to medium-high.

  • STEP 2

    Using a non-metal spatula, scrape up any garlic from the bottom of the casserole. Lay the onion slices over the chicken and bring the liquid to the boil. Reduce the heat to medium so it maintains a simmer and cover. Cook for 20-25 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through and the onions have softened.

  • STEP 3

    Remove the lid and continue to cook for another 10 minutes to reduce the liquid slightly. Serve with steamed rice.


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