Bite of the Week is a weekly feature showcasing an exceptional meal or dish, curated by The Growler.
Food from the Philippines is having a moment in Minnesota, with the recent opening of Apoy on Eat Street and Mi Casa Su Casa on University Avenue. And it’s a moment that’s long overdue—Pinoy cuisine bursts with flavor and ready appeal, with many dishes (such as barbecued pork and egg roll–like lumpia) needing no real introduction to American palates, while others (like blood stew and the pig face–centric sisig) offering all the bold flavors and textures anyone could ask for.
Chicken adobo is definitely one of the more approachable members of the Pinoy pantheon, relying on strong, earthy flavors and a delicate texture to captivate its diners. When we saw it on the menu at Mi Casa Su Casa, we gravitated toward it immediately and were charmed by this seemingly humble dish from the moment it hit the table.
The dish itself is one of those wonderfully understated triumphs that define soulful home cooking the world over—everything from stir fry to chicken cacciatore to matzoh ball soup. It doesn’t look like much on the menu or on the plate: chicken adobo is just a couple pieces of bone-in, skin-on chicken propped up on a tightly packed ball of rice swimming in a tangy brown broth. But its simplicity belies its sophistication. The layers of flavor built up with vinegar, soy sauce, and garlic are deep and seductive, and the tenderness of the chicken and its skin means that a guest can flake away perfect bites of meat, broth, and rice as desired. Seeing the whole chicken pieces in the bowl, we asked for a knife to saw away at the meat, but we needn’t have bothered—the chicken is tender as butter and a spoon works just fine.
The Dish: Chicken Adobo, $7.79
The Place: Mi Casa Su Casa, 383 University Avenue West, St. Paul
The Reason: Every bite is a soothing, mellow, tender piece of edible comfort