Chicken, Pork, and Lobster Adobo

When my husband and I decided to elope way back when, Hawaii was our obvious destination. We’d both visited before and loved it.

Today happens to be the 40th anniversary of our wedding in Lahaina, Maui. Since 1982, we have continued to visit Hawaii – for special occasions, non-occasions, taken young kids, taken older kids and their friends… we even renewed our vows with our children present. (Not recommended.)

I just had to include this photo. It’s personal, but I hardly recognize these people! I do treasure it as it’s our only photo. That’s what happens when you elope! (Which I highly recommend!)

It’s safe to say that we love the islands. There is so much to do and experience, and the food is wonderful. And, to quote my young daughter, “It just smells good there.”

There was a particularly fabulous restaurant we dined at called A Pacific Café in Kapaa, Kauai, located in a crappy little shopping center. The owner was chef Jean Marie Josselin, who was originally from Chamonix, France, trained in Paris, then moved to Hawaii in 1985. He opened this restaurant in 1990.

My husband and I ate at the Café for our 10 year anniversary, in 1992, and later that year Hurricane Iniki wiped out part of Kauai including the restaurant. Very sad.

Because of our wonderful restaurant experience, however, I purchased “A Taste of Hawaii” by Chef Josselin, published in 1992. The book is a delight. Hawaiian cuisine is varied – it’s not all about macadamia nuts and pineapple. There are so many influences on its cuisine by Asian countries, and even Spain and Portugal.

The recipe I chose to make from the cookbook is Chicken, Pork, and Lobster Adobo. It’s an unexpected surf and turf combination that originated in the Phillipines – not something I would have ordered from a menu myself, but it shows the diversity of Hawaiian cuisine. Plus I got to buy lobster!

From the author, “Adobo is widely considered to be the national dish of the Philippines. The flavors balance beautifully in this dish, especially with the sour tang of the vinegar. The lobster in this dish is my own variation, but you can also make it with shrimp – or simply with chicken and pork.”

If you want to read more about Chef Josselin, who is referred to as a pioneer of Hawaiian cuisine, and also known for joining 11 other chefs in starting the Hawaiian Regional Cuisine movement over 25 years ago, this is a great article.

Chicken, Pork, and Lobster Adobo
Serves 4-6

1 bay leaf
4 garlic cloves, peeled, flattened with a knife
1/2 cup white wine vinegar
Pinch of salt
1/2 pound boneless pork butt, cut into small pieces
1 1/2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into cubes
1/2 cup water
4 teaspoons olive oil
8 ounces cooked lobster, cut into pieces
3 tablespoons light soy sauce
2 medium tomatoes, cut into cubes
3 teaspoons cilantro

In a saucepan, combine the bay leaf, garlic, vinegar, salt, pork, chicken, and water. Stir well and bring to a boil. Simmer until the meat is tender, about 15 to 20 minutes, adding water if needed to keep mixture moist.

Drain the meat and reserve the cooking juices.

Using a hand-held strainer, remove the garlic from the liquid. In a skillet, heat the olive oil and when it is hot, add the garlic. Sauté until the garlic turns golden, then add the chicken and pork and sauté until the meat is golden or lightly browned.

Add the reserved cooking stock to the pan, followed by the lobster.

Simmer for about 5 minutes, then add the soy sauce, tomatoes, and cilantro.

Cook for another minute or so, and serve at once.

This is definitely what I’d call a “peasant” dish, but it doesn’t lack flavor. It has a fabulous zing from the vinegar.

By Published On: January 25th, 202249 Comments

About the Author: Chef Mimi

As a self-taught home cook, with many years in the culinary profession, I am passionate about all things food-related. Especially eating!

49 Comments

  1. Travel Gourmet January 25, 2022 at 6:24 AM - Reply

    Congratulations on 40 years! 🍾🥂🎉 How romantic you eloped. I love the whole story.

    • chef mimi January 25, 2022 at 6:37 AM - Reply

      Thanks, Kay! I’d do it all over again, even without having a photographer!

  2. BERNADETTE January 25, 2022 at 6:41 AM - Reply

    Mimi, Happy Anniversary. You certainly were brave to elope! The recipe looks delicious and I can’t wait to read about what you did with the rest of the pork butt.

    • chef mimi January 25, 2022 at 8:38 AM - Reply

      I incorporated the pork into a chicken and chorizo stew! Nothing to blog about, but enough to make the hubby happy. We were almost 26, and had been on our own for quite a while, so it didn’t seem brave. We’re both introverts, plus we both had crazy families. This was the only way to go for us! And I’d do it again!

  3. Molly Pisula January 25, 2022 at 7:18 AM - Reply

    What great memories, Mimi! I love that wedding photo of you and your husband. So romantic! The dish looks fantastic too!

    • chef mimi January 25, 2022 at 8:36 AM - Reply

      It was such a romantic experience. No BS. No crazy family members. Much less expense. Right after the ceremony we went and had pina coladas on the beach!

  4. Dorothy's New Vintage Kitchen January 25, 2022 at 8:05 AM - Reply

    Happy Anniversary Mimi! What a perfect dish for a Ruby Anniversary! It looks, and I’m sure tastes, so vibrant and worth of marking a special day. I’m going to have to look for this book.

    • chef mimi January 25, 2022 at 8:35 AM - Reply

      I have no idea if it’s still in print but I hope it is. Is it a ruby anniversary?!! I get rubies?!! I’m not gonna hold my breath! And Thank you!

  5. Gerlinde January 25, 2022 at 8:26 AM - Reply

    Happy anniversary Mimi, what a story. I love the islands and will seek out his new restaurant the next time I am in Kauai . The book looks like something I would like to have. Thank you for sharing.

    • chef mimi January 25, 2022 at 8:33 AM - Reply

      It’s a great book. The restaurant got wiped away by the hurricane. We’ve been to another one of his on a different island that was wonderful. I remember reading that he took a long time off traveling the world, then went back to Hawaii and now has a new restaurant.

  6. Support Sup January 25, 2022 at 10:29 AM - Reply

    Lovely memories. Great food. Wow photos. This post has it alll. GREG

    • chef mimi January 26, 2022 at 6:13 AM - Reply

      Thanks Greg!

  7. Sherry M January 25, 2022 at 7:05 PM - Reply

    happy happy anniversary to you mimi! i absolutely love that photo! your hair is a marvel. Eloping sounds like a fabulous idea. Lobster chicken and pork? maybe not so much a peasant dish :-)

    • chef mimi January 26, 2022 at 6:12 AM - Reply

      Well, if you do your own fishing, it’s part of your diet and lifestyle! My hair…. That’s a long story!

  8. Healthy World Cuisine January 25, 2022 at 8:23 PM - Reply

    Happy Anniversary Mimi! What a romantic trip to Maui. Loving those curls! Now on to your adobo, how unique. Never had anything like it before but it sounds so good. I am sure it brings back lots of warm memories.

    • Healthy World Cuisine January 25, 2022 at 8:24 PM - Reply

      typo Kauai not Maui. Sorry

    • chef mimi January 26, 2022 at 6:10 AM - Reply

      We did get married in Maui, but the restaurant was in Kauai. Those curls were from one of the umpteen times I got a perm, always hoping for pretty curls. Never worked. Then it would grow out, which is what it was doing when we got married. Thus the kind of lopsided look

  9. Tandy | Lavender and Lime January 25, 2022 at 9:54 PM - Reply

    Happy anniversary 💕. And I agree, eloping is a great way to get married. Not that we did. That frangipane is beautiful by the way.

    • chef mimi January 26, 2022 at 6:08 AM - Reply

      Thank you! Yes, I’d elope, and wish our daughter had!

  10. spicedblog January 26, 2022 at 6:42 AM - Reply

    You make a good point about Hawaiian cuisine, Mimi – it truly is a melting pot of a number of different cultures. We haven’t been to Hawaii ourselves (yet), but I am a fan of Hawaiian food! This recipe is as unique as it is delicious – I want to give it a try! Also, Happy Anniversary – 40 is a big milestone!!

    • chef mimi January 26, 2022 at 11:03 AM - Reply

      Thanks, David! Like I said, it’s nothing that I would have ordered off a menu, but it was fun making.

  11. kitchenriffs January 26, 2022 at 9:35 AM - Reply

    Happy Anniversary! We didn’t elope, but we had a courthouse wedding with just the two of us. Well, and a judge. :-) Anyway, this is such an interesting recipe — rather different. I like! Thanks.

    • chef mimi January 26, 2022 at 10:59 AM - Reply

      We couldn’t do the courthouse wedding cause the Justice o’ Peace was on another island. So we found the first church that could do it, and waited until after 3 to have a school girl be our witness!

  12. cookingwithauntjuju.com January 26, 2022 at 9:56 AM - Reply

    I would love this dish as I don’t get enough lobster in my diet! We spent our honeymoon in Honolulu and the Big Island where my brother lives. You have some great memories and so do I – the islands are magical :)

    • chef mimi January 26, 2022 at 10:58 AM - Reply

      They really are. Very alluring.

  13. Jeff the Chef January 26, 2022 at 10:10 AM - Reply

    I love Hawaii, and I’ve had some great food there. My husband would like to retire to Hawaii, but I envision us like the characters at the end of Lord of the Rings, sailing out of sight, never to be seen or heard from again.

    • chef mimi January 26, 2022 at 10:57 AM - Reply

      Well that’s eerie…. My husband always wanted to move there. As much as I loved visiting, that seemed really impractical, for so many reasons. Besides, I prefer gloomy weather!

  14. Raymund January 26, 2022 at 4:13 PM - Reply

    That definitely is a nice fusion of Hawaiian and Filipino cuisine, nice to see you made adobo, one of the dishes Philippines is proud of. I have been to Hawaii many times and was fascinated by their cuisine in a good way, defintiely its a melting pot of different cultures that is expressed in their food.

    • chef mimi January 26, 2022 at 4:15 PM - Reply

      It really is! I always loved ordering Portuguese sausage at breakfast. So good. Such lovely fruit and seafood, too!

  15. Ann Coleman January 26, 2022 at 4:24 PM - Reply

    Happy Anniversary!

  16. fatsochef January 26, 2022 at 7:42 PM - Reply

    Oh my, you had me at ‘elope’ 😄!! And what a beautiful wedding photo! Thank you for sharing not just a delicious recipe but also a lovely story! I will remember both for a special occasion! Congrats on your anniversary!!

    • chef mimi January 27, 2022 at 8:30 AM - Reply

      Hahahahahaha! It was fun. Thank you.

  17. Abbe@This is How I Cook January 26, 2022 at 9:36 PM - Reply

    40 years is a very long time. I know. And how happy you have made it! As for this recipe? I’m happy you made it, too!

    • chef mimi January 27, 2022 at 8:30 AM - Reply

      Thanks Abbe!

  18. Carrie Tyler January 27, 2022 at 8:29 AM - Reply

    Wow, Mimi! This is quite a medley of flavors! It sounds delicious and I love the pictures that you included here :)

    • chef mimi January 27, 2022 at 8:31 AM - Reply

      Thank you! It was fun to make, cause I got extra lobster out of it!!

  19. Katherine | Love In My Oven January 27, 2022 at 11:21 AM - Reply

    Happy anniversary!! I loved seeing the photos. And this dish sounds absolutely delicious!

    • Chef Mimi January 27, 2022 at 12:18 PM - Reply

      Thanks!!!

  20. terrie gura January 27, 2022 at 12:03 PM - Reply

    Happy belated anniversary!

    I love everything about this post! The beautiful scenes, the glorious food, the fabulous 80’s hair! And elopement is awesome. For my second wedding, we had a near-elopement; only five guests plus a rabbi, the dog and one of our cats. And we got hitched in the loft of our home. No muss, no fuss, no crazy family, just married! :)

    You have excellent photos, Mimi, right down to the tropical print fabric under your plates. Is there a special significance to the necklace? I see your officiant was wearing one and you have one in several photos.

    • Chef Mimi January 27, 2022 at 12:20 PM - Reply

      They’re kukui beads. Typically men wear them instead of leis, I think, but women can wear them as well. They’re nuts from a kukui tree. And the Hawaiian print is from one of my husband’s old Hawaiian shirt!

  21. For the Love of Cooking January 27, 2022 at 12:24 PM - Reply

    I’m loving this fancy version of adobo with lobster. YUM! Wonderful wedding photo from the 80’s. You guys look terrific.

    • Chef Mimi January 27, 2022 at 12:24 PM - Reply

      Everyone looked good at 25!!!

  22. Jean | Lemons + Anchovies January 28, 2022 at 5:40 PM - Reply

    Happy Anniversary!! What a beautiful couple you two are! My husband and I also got married in Hawaii and have returned every year since. It’s such a beautiful part of the world.

    And I’m part Filipina and I’ve tasted all kinds of adobo but this has got to be the fanciest version I’ve seen yet. It looks wonderful!! I wonder if the book is still available…

    • Chef Mimi January 29, 2022 at 8:14 AM - Reply

      Yes, it’s truly a magical place. We haven’t been in a few years because our travels have taken us east. My favorite part is the music. I just checked and the book is available!

  23. David Scott Allen January 29, 2022 at 11:04 PM - Reply

    Happy anniversary! I love the picture of you two as young kids… So sweet! And the recipe is fabulous… I was thinking of lobster the other day, realizing I haven’t had it for a couple of years. I wonder about availability now.

    • Chef Mimi January 30, 2022 at 9:02 AM - Reply

      It’s available, it’s just that shipping cost. Ever since we ate lobster in Maine last October, I’ve really been craving it. But, it comes frozen, which is better than no lobster at all!

  24. Frank Fariello February 6, 2022 at 9:30 AM - Reply

    Congrats! I didn’t know you had eloped. Sounds like there’s an interesting backstory there, but I won’t pry… ;-) Anyway, Hawaii is a delightful place. Or at least was when I visited as a high school exchange student way back when. You must have seen a lot of change over the years. When I visit so long ago (this was in the 1970s) the hotels were all on the “Big Island” and Maui, where I stayed, was still relatively untouched and more than a bit sleepy. But in a good way. I

    don’t remember the food very well, to be honest, but this looks incredible!

    • Chef Mimi February 6, 2022 at 9:58 AM - Reply

      No real back story except we didn’t really want our families involved, and they didn’t want to be involved. We knew each other for 3 months, and decided to marry. Kinda weird, but it worked out! Yes, the islands have really built up, but they’re pretty good about not just putting up parking lots. Lots of protected land.

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