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If you come across A Taste of the Philippines food cart on 16th Street Mall, don’t pass up the opportunity to order a plate of Kathy Gietl‘s chicken adobo. This dish—chicken braised in seasoned vinegar and garlic—is as simple as can be: Chicken, vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, and bay leaf served over white rice. But when boiled, sautéed, and spiced just right, the flavors that emerge are deep, comforting, and hard to forget. Perhaps that’s why adobo is largely considered the national dish of the Philippines.
Gietl was born in the Philippines and eventually landed in Colorado (by way of Illinois) about six years ago. The former accountant opened her cart six-plus months ago, with the adobo as the signature dish. Business has been good, and though adobo remains the most popular choice, Gietl says a less traditional dish—the manok sagata with chicken, coconut milk, garlic, ginger, and bamboo shoots—is a close second. (Word is Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler has been by a couple times for the plate.)
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16th and Champa streets, 720-746-8880
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—Image Courtesy of Rachel Nobrega