Adobo and Lugaw: Two of Seattle’s Most Famous Filipino Dishes

White rice, mollusks, stuffed bangus (milkfish), hipon (shrimp), lumpia (Filipino egg rolls), stuffed torta (Filipino eggplant), BBQ pork and chicken, crab legs, watermelon, young coconut drink, and plenty of dipping sauces all sitting atop banana tree leaves. popular Filipino dishes

For those curious about what sets Filipino cuisine apart from the crowd, here are a few special dishes and cooking styles of the Philippines you can find around Seattle.

Adobo Pork in black bowl at dark slate background. Pork Adobo or Adobong Baboy is filipino cuisine dish with braised pork belly, bay leaves, soy sauce, vinegar and spices. Filipino food.


When you think of Filipino food, adobo likely comes to mind. The popular dish consists of tender slow-braised meat simmered in a deeply flavorful mixture of vinegar and soy sauce, then served over a steaming bowl of rice. It’s sweet and savory with a balanced vinegary tang — a signature flavor found throughout Filipino cuisine.

What’s fascinating about adobo is how much it varies from region to region. In some places you’ll find adobo sa dilaw, or yellow adobo, which uses turmeric, ginger, and fresh chili peppers; in others you’ll taste adobo sa gata, which combines coconut milk and chili for a sweet and spicy flavor. The protein can vary too, from pork to chicken to seafood. But while there are dozens of variations, the soy-vinegar sauce remains the most popular.

You can easily find adobo in Filipino restaurants across Seattle, and you can also order it today from Filipino shefs like Mercedes.

Delicious Chicken Rice Porridge on the table. Filipino cuisine. Arroz caldo.

Lugaw and Arroz Caldo

Seattle is notorious for its rain, and when the wet weather hits, locals in the city turn to comfort food to cure the blues. Many Filipino dishes do just that, most notably arroz caldo, which translates to “hot rice” in Spanish. Arroz caldo is known for its deep ginger flavor with a bit of aromatic saffron, which gives the dish its signature deep yellow hue. Tender slices of boiled chicken are added as a protein, making it a complete meal.

Lugaw, which consists of rice cooked in water until reduced to a thick consistency, is the umbrella term for Filipino porridge-style dishes. It’s usually served plain and flavored with fish sauce and fresh scallions. Lugaw and its many variations, including arroz caldo, can be found all over Filipino restaurants in Seattle.

Take Archipelago, for example. Located in Seattle’s Hillman City neighborhood, this restaurant has an intimate menu of many comfort dishes known in Filipino culture and cuisine. On one of their tasting menus, lugaw and arroz caldo are paired with unique side dishes and drinks, creating the perfect way to experience  Filipino food in Seattle.

Learn more: Filipino Cuisine in Seattle

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