There is a large and growing community in Vancouver of Filipinos. These southeast Asians are known for their focus on family and hard work. Filipino food is renowned for its variety and combination of sweet, sour and salty.
Given its cuisine is a mixture of its original Asian settlers, Malays, Chinese, Spanish, American and some Latin cultures you will be introduced to delicious food that does not fit your usual parameters. For a taste of the Philippines, head to Kumare Restaurant & Bakery in Richmond.
There are three geographical zones of the Philippines being the North, Central and South. The food from each of these areas is different. Kumare Restaurant & Bakery proudly serves food that represents all three areas. Their chef is from the Philippines as well as their servers. There are a number of Filipino restaurants in Vancouver and surrounding cities.
Filipino food has integrated the conquering Spanish and influences from immigration from Malaysia, China and other close countries. The seasonings and spices are mostly imported from the Philippines. Given the sheer variety of their menu, there are no specific spices or seasonings dominating their food preparation.
Two authentic Filipino non-alcoholic beverages on the menu are Sago at Gulaman and Calamansi juice. The vibrant green drink is the Sago at Gulaman. This refreshing drink is made with sugar, tapioco pearls, lime gelatin and water. For certain it is sweet, tasty and adds colour to the table. The Calamansi juice is a great summer drink akin to our lemonade. It is made from Calamansi fruit, water and sugar. Both drinks were authentic.
The most popular appetizers are the BBQ skewers of chicken or pork. A unique aspect is they arrive on a 10 inch long skewer so can be shared amongst your table. The barbecue sauce is like a Chinese BBQ sauce, but more flavourful. The meat was very juicy and tender. A great start to the meal.
A simple garlic rice dish surprised with how well the garlic did not overpower the taste buds. The bits of garlic were carmelized and added some texture to the dish. Like other Asian cultures, rice is a staple dish to complement your other orders.
Probably the most well known Filipino meat dish is Adobo. Our pork Adobo Tostado was braised in garlic, vinegar, oils and soy sauce and cooked until not too dry. The meat itself was tender and flavourful. The sauce was subtle. Very interesting treatment of meat and easy to discern why this is such a popular meat dish.
A very unusual dish was the Rellelong Talong. Quite simply this is eggplant stuffed with onions, pork and pepper and covered with egg like an omellete. Wow, this dish was a favourite whether you were a fan of eggplant or not. The eggplant did not dry out and the meat was tasty and tender. A very unique presentation of eggplant.
Another interesting order was the Rellelong Bangus. This is deboned milk fish stuffed with ground pork. Quite the presentation for what has been described as their national dish. Crispy on the outside and tender tasty fish on the inside. The mango salad is served with the dish. While the mango salad was fresh and very tasty a warning to not eat the red bits as they are extremely spicy!
A popular noodle dish is the Seafood Palabok. Many complex flavours in this very popular Filipino noodle dish. The thick noodle is complemented by tinapa, ground pork rinds, green onions, palabok sauce topped by a hard boiled egg. Not sure what is in the palabok sauce, but it is a unique taste and a yellowish colour.
The two authentic Filipino desserts ordered were colourful and very tasty. The first dessert was the Halo Halo. We believed it was inspired by Willy Wonka! Crazy combination of colours and textures. Many little bits of ice served with assorted beans, jellies, sweetened banana, jackfruit, macapuno strings, leche flan, pinipig, ube halaya and ice cream. Quite the assortment of colours and flavours lead to a rainbow creation. The serving is family sized.
The second dessert was the Ube Macapuno Cake. Tastes like sponge cake and is not overly sweet. Quite the purple colour and again it comes family sized. Check out your purple tongue after eating!
The restaurant is less than three years old and just off #3 Road near Granville Road. The space is modernistic with updated lighting fixtures. This wide open space can be noisy. The menu is very long and diverse with some pictures of the dishes, which are helpful. Reservations are accepted. The main dishes range in price from $8 to $12 so your money goes a long way. Parking is free and in front of the restaurant located in a strip mall. Baked goodies are available.
Kumare Restaurant & Bakery
8130 Park Road, Richmond
Open 9:30 am to 9:00 pm every day