Since I am Filipino, it’s kind of strange that this is my first sit-down Filipino dinner at a restaurant in Vancouver. There are a few restaurants in Metro Vancouver that my family orders from, but it’s usually a restaurant where you just pick from pre-made dishes and they serve it up in a bowl or foam container for you to bring home. I’m also really not a big fan of these places, because the food isn’t particularly fresh as they sit in steam trays for who knows how long.
I’ve heard about Kumare for almost a year now, and have finally made it out there. It’s a place where dishes are made to order, which is a bit tough, because many require dishes to be stewed for a long period of time. Not something you can make in 15 minutes.
Being the only Filipino in our group of 8, I did the majority of the ordering, with some special requests from my friends. We ordered Lumpiang Shanghai, Crispy Tilapia, Beef Kare Kare, Pork Sinigang, Laing, Beef Caldereta, Lechon Kawali, Pancit Canton, and some rice – garlic and plain. The lumpia was nice, freshly fried and crisp. The Pork Sinigang was OK. The meat was tender, but not plentiful, there was a lot of vegetables. The soup also wasn’t as flavourful as what my mom makes. I like mine a bit more sour and also with a hint of spice from chile peppers. Fresh Lechon Kawali is awesome, and this was no exception. It was fried and crispy, and fatty. Very flavourful, and meaty. The Beef Caldereta was also a favourite, but I’ve had better. It’s fairly large beef shank cubes cooked in a tomato sauce with some veggies (but there weren’t much). The meat was tender, but I thought the sauce was a little bland. My friends also enjoyed the Kare Kare which oxtail in a peanut butter sauce. The Crispy Tilapia was also a hit. Since everything was so meaty, I also decided to order some Laing which is what my parents typically eat. The taro leaves were a bit bitter, but also quite salty. I wasn’t a fan. It does have a strong coconut flavour though.
For dessert, we also ordered a bunch, but this time I let my friends pick whatever they wanted, and we tried almost all of it. We ordered Halo Halo, Saba con Yelo (for me), Buko Pie, Ube Macapuno Cake, Sansrival, Cassava Cake, Ice Cream, and more. I ordered the Saba con Yelo, which is my “white version” of a halo halo because I’m not a big fan of the jellies, and beans typical of Asian desserts. I typically would order Mais con Yelo which uses cream corn, but this was pretty good too, as it had stewed bananas. Our group loved the Buko Pie, Ube Macapuno Cake, and Sansrival. The cassava cake was pretty good while it was warm, but not nearly as good as my uncle makes, which has loads of condensed milk.
The service was pretty scarce though, and it took them a while for us to get their attention. I think there was only one server that night, and it was pretty busy. They also have a bakery where you can order lots of other Filipino desserts and delicacies that you can take home.
Kumare Restaurant and Bakery
8130 Park Rd
(604) 284 – 5111