Kurumba Cuisines of Asia on St Johns Street, Port Moody


I don’t normally travel that far just to check out a restaurant as you know. There are a lot more places that we have never try before within 20 minutes drive from home. OK, maybe I would take a long drive if it is just Suanne and I. With the boys, it is not that easy. They will grumble and complain the moment we drive over the bridge … any bridge. As long as we keep within the boundary of the island that is Richmond, they are fine.

But this one is different.

Earlier this month, Mike wrote to us about this restaurant that he likes a lot. He was telling us about the owner chef who specializes on Sri Lankan food and named a few dishes that he had tried that sounded very interesting.

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This time, we did not tell the boys where we are going. They kept asking. I kept telling them it’s a secret. When they saw me driving along Stevestons Highway and then onto Highway 99, they knew it is not good. They knew it is not going to be anywhere in Richmond. Then I turned onto Highway 91 and that very instant both of them knew something is not right. We are going somewhere far far away. LOL!

They even timed the journey and told me that I took away 45 minutes of their life cooped up in the car. *shrug*

Kurumba is located on St Johns Street in Port Moody. We had never blogged about any restaurant in Port Moody before. We even had to create a new “Vancouver Restaurants > Port Moody” category just for this post.

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The inside of the restaurant is very clean and neat. It is an average sized restaurant — maybe seats 40 or so. We made reservation thinking that this restaurant might be very popular but it seems like reservation was totally unnecessary. At 5:30PM, we were the only customers. There was a table that had a reserved sign prearranged for 12 people though which I thought is a positive sign.

Service was really good. They have three front staff who were really friendly and helpful. The more senior one, we initially mistook for the owner because she was boldly asking us about the camera and straight away asked if we were journalists. We said no and that we just like taking pictures of the food we eat. Often an employee will not ask so point blankly but an owner would.

It turned out that the senior lady is just in charge of the dining area. I thought that for a restaurant this quiet, they are over staffed.

We learned a few things. Since Mike said that this is a Sri Lankan restaurant, I assumed that the name Kurumba came from the name of the largest city in Sri Lanka, Colombo. Wrong. It is named after a kind of coconut common in Sri Lanka.

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This is going to be confusing, I know. I am kind of confused myself. Mike says that this is a Sri Lankan restaurant and that the chef is Chinese who lived for a long time in Sri Lanka. When I asked the senior lady about the chef, she said that the chef was a Malaysian and the mum of the chef is from Indonesia. See what I mean when I say I am confused.

It kind of figured because the signage outside the restaurant (see 1st picture above) says “Kurumba Restaurant — Cuisines of Asia”.

The restaurant had been in operation for three years already and yet they are relatively unknown. There is no word of this restaurant on Urbanspoon but at least on Dinehere.ca there are quite a number of entries. Anyway, when you look for restaurant reviews what do you normally use? I mean aside from blogs. I find that I trust dinehere.ca more than Urbanspoon. Urbanspoon is too lop sided if you know what I mean. Yelp? I don’t even check them anymore. Both Urbanspoon and Yelp, I find, prey on reviewers vanity by giving them incentive to review more to get a higher rank. Anyway, I digressed.

I find it kind of puzzling why this restaurant had flew under the radar for so long because the food here is more than decent. It was pretty good.

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When we read the menu, it made more sense. Most of the menu items are Sri Lankan and Malaysian dishes, albeit Chinese Malaysian dishes.

The Sri Lankan dishes are easily identified. Most of the have the word “Sri Lankan …” on it. 🙂

Then there is dishes with words like sambal, roti canai amidst other Chinese Malaysian dishes.

The menu speaks of spiciness in a lot of the dishes too. The thing is that they did not indicate if the dishes are spicy nor did they ask us how spicy we want it — just like in Asia, they don’t ask you. They will make it as spicy as it is meant to be. And oh boy … it is spicy. Both Suanne and I broke sweat eating here which is rare because we grew up eating chilli every day.

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The Char Ho Fun is their most popular dish. Even Mike was telling us that he saw many people ordering the few times he was there.

We ordered the seafood version which is $12. It is available with beef or chicken version which is a dollar cheaper.

Fantastico … made just like the way we remember it in Malaysia. This is not spicy of course and is common to Chinese Malaysian. In KL this is popularly known as Cantonese Fried Noodles or Gong Fu Chow but this one has more sauce.

The sauce is what makes this dish great. It is a thick … egg sauce that pretty much defines this dish.

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The noodles that get served with the Char Hor Fun is rice noodles. They allow you to choose the noodles you want but trust me … you want to have this with rice noodles and make sure you also choose the seafood.

Actually they have a lot of ingredients which is more than the noodles. We are not complaining of course. The serving is big and more than sufficient for two people.

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We were glad to see that they even served pickled green chilies with the Char Hor Fun, although they use a smaller variety of chili. They taste just like the bigger ones that we were used too. So this was good because not many people serves this anymore.

This was a good start to our meal.

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We enjoyed this dish a lot. Mike recommended this one first and foremost and so we thought we must order this.

It is called the Kurumba Platter ($20). The platter consisted of crispy veggie rolls, sliced BBQ pork, Calamari rings, hot garlic wings and roti canai. Be forewarned that this is a huge platter. The entire platter took up the space of almost the entire table. Do NOT order this if you have only two people.

He he he … all of us ate this dish with our hands. I think it even tastes better, not to mention fun, eating it with hands … and it is the way its meant to be. Nanzaro and Arkensen loves this dish. At times I saw that they have one hand with food in the mouth and the other hand picking up the next piece. Finger food at its best!

Oh there are also several dips served with the platter. Each of them are meant to go with the items on the platter. The dips are curry dip, chili garlic, plum plus an eggplant dip which is interestingly sourish.

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The roti canai is beautiful. Flaky and soft. I was just thinking about Bo Laksa King’s roti canai and I must say that this one beats Bo’s in my books (sorry Bo!).

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The piece of roti canai is so big. The above picture was taken when it was already part eaten and we realized that it is one big piece of roti canai. Never seen it that big before.

Oh yeah, we quickly bunch it up again because we wanted to make sure it stays warm. Roti canai must be eaten warm.

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The curry that goes with the roti was spicy enough and has the right consistency we expected. I wished they would give us more than just a small bowl.

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Despite the flatten look of the spring rolls and also the visible greasiness of it, the skin was really crispy and the cabbage, carrot and celery in it was warm. Yeah, it was the skin that scores for this item — not the looks.

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The hot garlic wings takes the prize for the most spiciest of the dishes we had. You better believe how spicy it is. It is the shallots, garlic and chilli that tops the wings that give it the real kick. This is the one that made Suanne and I broke sweat.

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The calamari rings was just OK. I mean, there are nothing much to it especially in comparison to the earlier items I described above.

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The BBQ Pork (char siu) was just so so. It tasted good but it did not look particularly great.

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This is a Sri Lankan restaurant right? So we had to order a Sri Lankan dish.

The $10 Beef Kotthu Roti was recommended both by Mike and the senior lady. The senior lady told us that this is a Sri Lankan hawker-styled specialty prepared from roti chopped into shreds and then stir fried with onions and eggs.

At a glance this looked like char koay teow but obviously the “rice noodles” are actually cut roti. It has a firmer texture.

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The beef were delightfully chunky. This dish is rich in spice flavour.

I was told that this is a dish that is very Sri Lankan and is close to being the national dish. You got to try this at least once in your life … it is unique in many ways.

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I wasn’t thinking right. It did not occur to me that we already had too much food ordered. And yet I ordered the Sri Lankan Beef Tripe Curry ($8) because I find the combination of tripe and curry and the word “Sri Lankan” interesting.

The tripe was too soft and it softened out the spiciness of the supposedly good curry. It was our least liked dish. Enough said.

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The silliness did not stop at the tripe. I also ordered the Sambal Green Beans ($10). It was good and has a lot of sambal. Yeah, you want to maximize the sambal by ordering rice. Really, the sambal goes great with steamed rice.

The sambal wasn’t too spicy though.

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It was not too cheap as a meal for the family but then I do realize we over ordered that day. But overall, their prices is on a slightly higher side.

So with all the effort to drive all the way from Richmond, I had to ask the chief complainer, Arkensen, if the food is worth the 45 minutes drive. He said “It is OK”. I interpret that he is satisfied and he is not complaining anymore.

And guess what, I had to take the scenic route back to Richmond which took us 70 minutes to get home.

I like Kurumba. Their food is really good, well at least most of them. There are a lot of items on the menu that we would love to try someday. Go click on the menu further up this post and check them out one more time. If you are familiar with Malaysian and Sri Lankan food, you will probably be salivating reading it.

Kurumba Restaurant Cuisines of Asia on Urbanspoon Kurumba Restaurant [Website]
604.461.2245
107-3003 St. Johns Street, Port Moody [Map]
11AM – 10PM ♦ 7 days a week

24 thoughts on “Kurumba Cuisines of Asia on St Johns Street, Port Moody

  1. Pingback: Chow Times » Dakshin Indian Cuisine on King George Highway and 80th, Surrey
  2. My family and I actually pass by this place all the time to the restaurant beside it, the one to the left that’s on its own and not part of the “mall”.

    • So Eric … since you go to the restaurant beside Kurumba all the time, is that restaurant good? What kind of a restaurant is that and what is their specialty?

  3. Thumbs up Ben for the write-up on Kurumba which I had visited only once before! I agree with you that their roti canai is very good (& yes, better than Bo’s) & very authentic as well as the Char Ho Fun……so hawker style. Now, I’m craving fried Hokkien Mee! BTW, have any readers tasted durian chendol before? So far, I only know they can be found in KL.

  4. We live in Port Moody but spend almost no money eating out here. Nothing to impressive. Sri Lankan / Malaysian is a different combo but Malaysia has a large number of Tamils so that may be the connection. Food looks good and hot is always on our menu. The platter will definately be on the must try.

  5. Thanks Ben, for keeping the blog legit. Too many out there are not very thorough or ethical in the way they blog. I don’t like Yelp at all. Despite what they say about having filters to block fake reviews, I find obvious ones on the site and they don’t remove useless ones or have a button to report it. Words online are very damaging if used without any thought.

    They lost credibility to me when they allowed a negative review to remain for a new bubble tea place when the reviewer didn’t even try the place! He wrote a nasty review based on what he perceived when it was not open yet. The owner tried to get it fixed but then people ganged up on him and focused on his actions instead of legitimately doing reviews for it.

    I think all review sites should have a standard the reviewer must follow to present a fair and thorough review.

    Anyways, it’s good to get out of your comfort zone otherwise you will never find new places. I really like your hole in the wall reviews the best because I like going to places before they get too popular. This place looks great although a bit far for me without a car.

    • Hi Shirl,

      FYI, there are transit routes that take you directly to Kurumba (bus stops on St. John’s):

      #97 B-Line Lougheed Mall/Coquitlam Centre
      #160 Pt. Coquitlam Station/Vancouver
      #190 Coquitlam Station/Vancouver (peak hrs only)

      Likely the easiest way for you to get there is via Millennium Line SkyTrain to Lougheed Town Centre Station and connect to the #97.

  6. I’m a new fan of this charmingly inviting blog – thank you for sharing your dining experiences with the community! Your food shots certainly made me salivate and I will definitely be checking out this restaurant in spite of the long drive =)

    • Hi Ben – thought I should update to say that my family and I visited Kurumba over the long weekend and had a wonderful time. Thumbs up for the seafood hor fun (we loved the gravy!), roti canai (our favourite!), beef rendang (not bad!) and chicken wings (truly finger-licking good!). Unfortunately, an earlier heavy breakfast left us no room for desserts, but Kurumba is definitely a place that warrants repeat visits. We then adjourned to the Rocky Point Park after lunch where the younger adults kayaked down the Indian Arm while the older adults enjoyed a free weekend concert in the park. Thanks for the excellent recommendation!

      • Thanks for reporting back, Yakqueen. Glad you like Kurumba too. Was it also quiet when you were there? I really thought that they deserve to be more busier given how good the food is. Ben

      • Hi Ben – thank You and Suanne for this wonderful blog! Yep, Kurumba was completely quiet when we were there at noon on Sunday. By the time we left the restaurant an hour plus later, there was only one other guy who had walked in to do a take-out. I hope Kurumba has enough customers to sustain the business for a long long time. My family plans to eat at Kurumba whenever we head up to Port Moody for outdoor activities.

  7. With regards to dine-here and urbanspoon, I’m actually relying more on Urbanspoon. In Urbanspoon the restaurant reviews are done by food bloggers whereas those in dine-here are done by mostly disgruntled customers. Someone even said dine-here should be called Whine-here.

    I’m also wondering if the person recommending a restaurant to you is actually related to the restaurant but disguising himself as a regular customer. You know what I mean. Your blog is very influential and having a restaurant featured here assures a free publicity to a pledging restaurant. It really makes me wonder after reading the above comment from Mike. Hmmmmm..too enthusiastic..hmmmm..knows a lot of details about the restaurant..hmmmmm..

    • Hi Crispy Lechon: I know what you mean. We do get a lot of emails recommending places and invitations to restaurants. We are very selective these days and you might have noticed that we had stopped for some time already in doing free meal visits. We thought that friends of chowtimes will appreciate it more. As for people being creative and disguising as regular customers, we are also careful about that. We had on occasions just not included some “suspected” recommendations on out To-Try list. Wanted to let you know that Mike was not one that came across to us as one. Moreover, we cross verify any recommendations with what is out there in the internet. We found that Kurumba was recommended by the Vancouver Sun. Also on dinehere, there were reviews done by veteran reviewers (i.e. reviewers with multiple postings). For what its worth, the food was pretty good in Kurumba. As mentioned in the post, there are some misses but by and large, the chef is good. Ben

      • Hi Ben, I appreciate your response. Maintaining this very popular blog for so many years now I’m sure you are now quite good in spotting phony recommendations. I’m also glad to know that you have done a good research before trying this restaurant. At the end of the day, what really matter is the food. If you say it’s good then it must be really good. We trust your judgement. We know you don’t hold back if you dislike what you ate.

      • Excellent response, Ben.

        I think at the end of the day, it’s totally Ben & Suanne’s prerogative whether to try out a restaurant and what they say about it, regardless of recommendations (real or disguised). I trust Ben does due diligence throughout the whole process. And that’s partly why Chowtimes is the success that it is 🙂

  8. I love their beef rendang too! And the sri lankan curry is very hot and VERY tasty.

    This place is amazingly not busy and I don’t really understand it. The food is good and hard to find in the tri-cities.

    • haha, totally agree… I tend to do that alot.

      Btw, since you were already in Port Moody, did you go check out Cake Ya (because I think Suanne would be interested ^^)

      • Hi Jenny: We did plan to also go check out Cake Ya, thanks to your review. Suanne was thinking about it too. The sad thing is they were closed at 5PM the day we were there. Yup, Cake Ya is high on Suannes likes, not so much mine. 🙂 Ben

  9. Hey Ben and Suanne, I am glad that you guys got to check out Kurumba. I apologize for not mentioning that their food can be quite spicy 🙂 Holy smokes – by the looks of what was on your bill, you ordered way too much for two adults and two kids. Did you guys eat all of it or did you get some packed for home? You should have asked to see the chef – his name is Richard and his is of Chinese origin but lived most of his life in Sri Lanka. The “senior lady” was mistaken!! 🙂

    As for whether this restaurant is Sri Lankan? The Restaurant’s slogan is ‘Cuisines from Asia”. They feature Sri Lankan, Chinese, Malaysian, Thai and I’m sure they have food from other parts of Asia too. Even their staff is very multi-asian (if that’s even a correct word). Their staff comes from Hong Kong, Sri Lanka, Korea, etc. A quick scan of their customers when I have been there, even their customers come from a wide range of different cultural background.

    You are right – this restaurant is not very busy at times but lately, I have seen it to be more busier than usual. I think the secret is out and your blog is going to make it more public!! But most importantly to me, their food is very tasty and unique!!

    Anyhow, thanks for trusting in my food taste!!! I love reading your blog and looking forward to more food adventures with the two of you.

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