The Filipino community in Vancouver had been quietly growing over the years that not many of us realize. It might come as a surprise to some that Filipinos overtook China as Canada’s leading source of immigrants in the last couple of years.
This is a staggering statistic because if you compare the population of China (1.3 billion) and the Philippines (92 million), the percentage of Filipinos overseas is staggering. A total of 11% of the country’s population live and work outside of the country.
Yet with the such a large and growing community in Vancouver, the Filipino cuisine is so poorly represented here. You get lots of turo-turo (literally translated as “point-point”) restaurants all over town. But when one wants a nice, fancier sit down Filipino restaurants to entertain friends and guests, your best and perhaps only bet is Pinpin on Fraser.
Well, not anymore.
There is a new kid in town. And it is about time Vancouver deserves fancier Filipino restaurant like Kumare.
We stumbled on Kumare very much by accident yesterday. It also happened that they were opened for the first time yesterday too. We had earlier planned to go for dinner at S&W Pepper House on No 3 Road in Richmond because we did not have spicy Sichuan food for some time already and we had enough materials to blog about. It was supposed to be our “off-day”.
As I was on Park Road and about to drive into the S&W Pepperhouse parking lot, we happened to see lights at the end of the strip mall. I remembered Crispy Lechon telling us about the impending opening of a new Filipino restaurant around this area and thought this might be it. Well it seems like they were opened for business which we found out later on they were opened for the first time yesterday. So this calls for a change of plans. Spicy food got to wait and we need to make this a “working day”, much to the chagrin of our boys. 🙂
“Why do you always have to blog? Why do you always have to blog, huh?”, asked Arkensen.
“Tough luck, buddy. Too bad you have food bloggers as your parents”, I smiled giving him the same answer to the same question whenever we go to a place not to his liking.
Nanzaro was just annoyed because he was gearing up for hot and spicy food the whole day and Filipino food is NEVER spicy. LOL!
BTW, take a look at the license plate of the car above.
Kumare is certainly quite unlike all the Filipino restaurants you see in Metro Vancouver. It has that bright, modern look to it. Well, it is not quite the level of the fancier Chinese banquet halls but it is a move in the right direction. Here is a place that you could bring your friends to entertain them in fancier and elegant setting.
We were surprised to find that even though they had opened just for dinner that day, the place was almost full. I guess word gets around fast and perhaps there is such a pent up demand for a restaurant like this. Most of the diners appears to be Filipinos and so this is a good sign too.
The dining area seats 36 people with some room to expand with more tables in the future.
Service was prompt, friendly and eager. There were six people working the floor that day which we thought was a lot of people. I guess all hands were on deck on their opening day.
When we got seated, we were handed the menu in a pocket binder which they told us is still temporary. They told us that besides Filipino food, they incorporate some Thai cooking in the menu. The menu is simple and has all the familiar Filipino favourites in it. You can order most of the food either as a set (i.e. served on rice in a single plate) or you can have it served family style with rice ordered on the side. The prices are good too with most dishes between $7 and $9.
They even have a limited breakfast menu which is basically the “-silogs”, you know, dishes like long-silog, tap-silog, bang-silog and such. The suffix “silog” came from the sinangag (garlic fried rice) and itlog (egg). All the breakfast items are $8.50.
Even without looking at the menu, I already know what I want. The litmus test has got to be the national dish of the Philippines — the adobo. So I got this one called the Adobo Tostado which is $7.50.
This is braised pork served with mixed vegetables and garlic rice. The sauce on the pork has a very light vinegarish flavour which was delightful. I know some like it with sharper vinegar taste but this is perfect for me. I was thinking that the sauce would be excellent with some kind of … bread (like roti) to wipe the bowl clean. This is thumbs up for me.
The adobo came with garlic rice and mixed vegetables. Suanne said that the rice was very garlicky but I thought it would be better if it is a tad more garlicky and a bit drier. Maybe I am gravitating to the Chinese way of making it. 🙂 Anyway, making this is simple and Suanne wants to share the recipe here with you.
Suanne ordered the Chicken Pandan ($8) because the waitress told us that this is a popular dish. She told us that this is more of a Thai dish than a Filipino one but I am not sure if she meant the pad thai or if the chicken pandan is also Thai.
This is such a delightful dish and to us this is the best dish of the night. The chicken is wrapped in pandan leaves and served with one of the best tasting pad thai we had.
The pad Thai smells good and has some charring (good ‘wok hei’). Look at the picture below. Oh yum!
Besides green onions, bean sprouts and peanuts, it also has eggs clinging on to the pad thai. The portion is generous for this one.
The Chicken Pandan is a bit tricky …
… it did not taste quite good. I mean the pandan leaves wasn’t tasty or anything like that.
So I had to discard the pandan leaves. I am not sure why the vegetable doesn’t taste good at all. 😉
The two pieces of boneless chicken thigh is deep fried with the pandan leaves. This, my dears, is excellente. Best eaten with the hands. It is super juicy and the meat was not only tender, there were quite a bit of meat to it too. OMG! You gotta try this dish. You won’t be disappointed.
Well, other than that, they gotta make the pandan leaves more tasty. 😉
Arkensen had the Chicken Karekare ($7.50). When we ordered this, the waiter repeated our order and he said “Chicken Curry”. Good thing I caught that he did not say “Chicken Kare-Kare” because curry is one dish you do not want to order in a Filipino restaurant. Filipino is not used to spiciness in their food.
This is chicken braised in peanut sauce, served with steamed rice and a side of shrimp paste. The chicken had a mild shrimp paste flavour but not pronounced. It is accompanied with long beans and eggplant. The serving is not very big as you can see with just a few pieces of chicken. But then this is only $7.50.
Arkensen’s meal comes with steamed rice and a side of mixed vegetables comprised of red and green bell peppers, baby corns, button mushrooms, celery and carrots. There is nothing fancy here.
I thought Nanzaro’s choice was pretty disappointing. He ordered the Lumpiang Shanghai for $7.50. I kept telling him this is only spring rolls but he is a big boy now and no one tells him what to order and what not to order.
This is crispy spring rolls served with pancit canton. There are 5 narrow pieces of crispy spring rolls filled with meat served with sweet chili sauce. Nanzaro said the noodles was flavourful. I did not try it but that’s what he said.
I was saying that the spring roll was filled with meat and that it is a narrow tube. Not enough kick for me. This is more like a snack than a dinner item to me.
The most important section in any Filipino menu is the Pork section. Filipinos love their pork dishes and they do it very well. They are also very proud of their pork dishes too. Dishes like Sisig, Bicol Express and Crispy Pata comes to mind. So yeah, we gotta try something from the Pork section.
Their crispy pata is $9.
The deep fried pork hock served with a side of spiced vinegar soy sauce. The vinegar soy sauce does virtually nothing to the taste of the pork but the pork is excellent … succulent, soft, moist and all that. The best part? The crispy skin with a layer of fat underneath it. Heavenly. Someday I am gonna pay for all these kind of food.
The prices are not bad right? Good thing is that they accept credit cards too.
I am rooting for Kumare to be a success story. I want to see the Filipino culinary scene grow and flourish like the other ethnic cuisines like Chinese, Vietnamese, Japanese, Koreans and Indians.
The owners worked the floor that day. They chatted with every table and also came to chat with us. Mary is one half of the owner who is the face to the restaurant who later introduced us to Diane who is the person behind the food and the kitchen.
They are “co-mothers” and that is what the word Kumare means. Mary and Diane are god mother to each other’s daughters who are also working in this restaurant. I thought it is a very nice and apt name.
BTW, I did not take a picture of their temporary in-restaurant menu but below is their party trays menu for take-out. Click on them to show it larger.
Alex sent us a link to their video review of Kumare. This is interesting … emjoy:
This Post Has 170 Comments
Wow, it sure looks like a winner. Finally, we dont need to drive all the way to Vancouver for a proper sit down Filipino food. We are actually planning to have our New Year’s eve dinner there tonight. The crispy pata looks so delicious. Thanks for posting this Ben.
BTW, I think the reason the fried rice is not dryish is because, having just opened that day, they dont have day old rice which is good for fried rice.
Hi Crispy and all: I forgot to load up their menu when I published this post. Wanted to let you know I had just loaded it up. It is their Party Tray menu. Go check it out. Ben
Your joke about eating the pandan leaves reminded me of a blog post I read about a group of newcomers to dimsum trying to eat the gomakai whole including the lotus leaves. They thought its similar to the Greek dolmas. LOL.
Eating the pandan leaves is only palatable if one washes it down with clear lemon broth …….
Thanks Ben! Though Filipino, I don’t really appreciate our cuisine that much, and I really don’t like the turo-turo places. So this is a welcome addition. I’ll have to bring my parents here.
My favourite dishes of all time are sinigang and caldareta. Palabok was one of my favourites before too. And yah, I don’t like Lumpia Shanghai that much, but my friends love it. I don’t know, it’s nothing special to me. We once ordered 200 to bring on a 2 day camping trip…
So sad that you don’t appreciate your own cuisine….perhaps, you haven’t tasted a GOOD cooking yet!
Same thing with the Lumpia Shanghai…it’s delicious if done well. Everyone has a different touch to cooking. I guess you still have to find the one who has the magic touch.
I love Thai pandan chicken, esp. the sauce that goes with it (although I don’t see it in the pictures). The best Thai food I’ve had were in the outskirts of Hadyai, Thailand. Back in the days, “Yellow Light” in Fettes Park, Penang is my to-go place.
Is the adobo salty? My Pinoy friend always cooked it so salty and oily that I don’t want to eat it.
Gotta call them if they are open on New Year. Hopefully the phone number on the receipt is the right one 😉
Another question. Since I’m quite new to Filipino food, does their eat-in menu has description to the dishes?
Hi Lissa, the menu has description of the dishes.
;0) good one Lissa
Hi Lissa: The only glutten square I remember of Penang is Gurney Drive. My uncles used to bring me on their motorbikes to many others but I am totally unaware of where I was (too young to remember). Yeah, Penang beats KL when it comes to hawker food hands down all the time. Ben
Hi Ben Currently still in Manila But Philippine cuisine is truelly starting to get more sophisticated,For example I had lunch at Buffet place called Spirals currently ranked number 4 Best Buffet in Asia and Tommorow will be going to a place called Antonios which is rated by the Melle Gourmet Guide as number 17 in Asia or equivalent to a Michelin 2 star.The cuisine of the Philippines has gone for fusion as overseas Filipinos start to bring their experiences back and incorporate that into the Mother cuisine Beef Bulgogi,Shawarma or Donairs,Tacos,Pad Thai etc have been Filipinized but are now everyday fare in the Philippines.So a Filipino restaurant with Thai Dishes is part of the growing trend of Globalized Filipino Cooking.Bravo
Hi PinoyGourmet: Share your buffet pictures from Spiral with us, please? Ben
Here is a blogpost on Spiral (which is in the Sofitel) http://dineocrat.blogspot.com/2010/08/spiral-buffet-food-so-fine-at-sofitel.html
Glad to hear that the fine dining in the Phils is steadily improving. The hotels in Manila have long been part of many upcoming chef’s tour of duty.
Ben did you ever go to Rekado’s when it was on Main Street? That was disappointing when I found they had closed as it was what I considered finer dining for Philippine cuisine. I am glad to hear of a fancier Philipino restaurant opening. I hope this one survives.
Hi Nancy: Yes, I did go to Rekado’s once with friends but I cannot quite remember the food now. I only remember that they were Filipino fusion and I guess that did not quite go down well with most people. Ben
I went to Rekado’s, twice. The food was alright, but I didn’t (and still don’t) have adequate experience of Phil. cuisine to base Rekado’s on. Esp. what I wasn’t not sure about was what parts of their menu were “fusion”, other than the fancier serving ware the foods were in. I had pork adobo twice, another time the chicharon (fried pork rind ….. mmmm), a grilled eggplant, and a couple of seafood dishes (I think one was a pomfret ?) which were ok but not too memorable.
But I highly regret the loss of an under-represented cuisine in Mt. Pleasant area in exchange for Beefy Beef Noodle House (Taiwanese cuisine).
I agree with you LR. Rekado’s wasn’t a fusion restaurant. It was actually an attempt to present Filipino foods in a classy manner, meaning big on show but small in portion. Similar to what Zen and Hakassan are trying to do with Chinese. I guess that was the downfall of Rekado’s. Filipinos want good food with good value. Pinpin is very successful with that.
I believe one of the cooks from Rekados is now working for Kulinarya. The food there focuses more on traditional cooking, but with higher refinement on taste. It’s a lot better (imop) than the pinpin’s, rekado’s, etc of the world in the lower mainland. Portions (compared to price) are not huge (compared to pinpin), but it wasn’t the ridiculous small as rekado (serving memory). I’d be interested to see how a review of Kumare would stack up against Kulinarya. It’s worth a trip out from Ben and gang for a try.
Thanks for the reminder, Eric. I remember reading about Kulinarya. I don’t mind organizing a dinner there on a weekend or Friday if there are any interest. Anyone? Ben
Ignore the part about cook from Rekados. My wife couldn’t verify the reference, but somehow I thought i heard it in a conversation. Becomes irrelevant to a food review though 🙂
I researched Kulinarya and found a blog post on it dating May 2010. In it tnere was a note on the blogger’s conversation with the owner. The owner indicated that their chef came from Rekado’s. Here’s the link to the blog post.
I’m game to try Kulinarya – especially if you say that they focus more on traditional cooking.
Rekado’s downfall (ignoring all the economics of high rent on Main St, etc) was manifold:
They focused put presentation over flavour and technique
The portions were small
The flavours were “Westernized” – quite bland, actually
What I like about Pinpin is that they don’t attempt to cater to anyone but Filipinos…so it still tasted like Filipino food.
You’re right about Recado’s food being bland. When I asked for patis, I was told by the server that it was bad for me! I knew then that they would have a short life. No loss there.
oops I can’t spell…
The co-owners are Mary and Diane (not Juan).
Thanks Judy. I had fixed the name. Sorry about that. Ben
Went there for dinner last night. We ordered the Pandan Wrapped Chicken combo with Pad Thai, Crispy Pata and a couple of sticks of Pork Barbq.
The pandan wrapped chicken tastes good although I cant really say that I tasted pandan there. It wouldve been good also without the pandan wrap. The pad thai that came with it was no good this time. It was pre-made and didnt have the wok-hei that you had when you went there. I think I’d rather have the Filipino pancit bihon than this pad thai. To be honest I’m not quite sure why they would have Thai influences in their menu. It just doesnt feel right to me. Filipino-Chinese fusion wouldve been better. But it’s just my opinion.
For the crispy pata, the pata skin was delicious with right amount of crispiness. It wasnt over fried like what Ive eaten in Pinpin, hence its not too hard to chew. One thing I didnt like though was that the meat was bland. I supposed the water they used to boil the pata first before frying wasn’t seasoned well. The spicy vinegary sauce didnt help much. Its lacking in strong vinegar flavour. I dont know if it was watered down.
Now, the best part of our meal was the pork barbq. It was sweet and flavourful with good amount of charring. The portion is good too for 2.50 a stick. For their pork barbq, I’d certainly come back for it.
I would recommend this restaurant. Next time I go, I’d order dishes with sauces. I made a mistake of ordering pretty much just fried and barbqd dishes. Too dry for me.
The service was good with the one of the owners going around and checking with everybody.
Hi Crispy: I think so too. I would prefer that Kumare focus on Filipino cuisine and not fuse it with Thai. On another topic … I read that the Filipino culture serves the food all at once and not by courses. I thought that serving food by courses is kind of classier. Do you reckon serving food in courses will work with Filipino food? The reason I asked is that while the setting in Kumare is modern and nice, however, we see that the tables were cluttered with plates of food. I thought it will be more upscale if, for once, we have a multi-course Filipino meal. Ben
Hi Ben, typically Pinoy restaurant meals are served family style. I dont think the Western style individual serving of app, entree and dessert will work. However if its similar to the Chinese multi-course banquet, then serving the dishes one at a time will work. Although for me Id rather have them served all at once so there is no waiting to get my own serving.
First of all, thank you for liking the Filipino cuisine. As for serving food in courses, of course it will work. That’s what we do in the hotels and big restaurants in the Philippines, although they practice it more during functions only. There are some restaurants practicing that so far but I doubt if we have it here in Canada -yet.
Though I haven’t been mingling with a lot of my countrymen here, and haven’t been eating a lot out for that matter…I can say that Filipinos like to taste different foods while eating. So I guess they prefer it to all be there at one time and taste a little of everything at the same time rather than going through different courses during the meal. Unlike when I went to HK in the floating restaurant and when they served, they served one course at a time but they delayed the rice at the very end of the meal. Odd. Even if I tried to ask the waiter, they didn’t bring for me and said that it should be at the end of the meal. I’m not used to that. I have to eat my viands WITH the rice. I think, I’d prefer our own special way. 🙂
We went to Kumare last night after reading your blog. We were impressed by the quality of the food. Unfortunately, we wanted to try some of the dishes (such as the crispy pata) but they were sold out. The owner said that they did not anticipate such a turnout. This was all due to your blog. They had talked to the customers who came in and many mentioned your blog. So they were quite pleased with this. We have two suggestions for the owners of Kumare. First, the size of the portions can be larger. We ordered the calamare and it was quite small. There was not enough pieces to even create a small ‘pile’. The noodle dishes (like their pad thai and langlang) can also be larger. And second, they can improve in their dessert and bakery area. Their desserts were ‘okay’ but can be improved and perhaps more variety. Overall, a good restaurant. We will probably go again in the future.
LOL, I like your LeBam name. Took me a while to figure out what it is. Shhh … I won’t tell. Thanks for the report on Kumare. Ben
I tried out this place on the weekend and i have to say that i was very impressed with the food. in my opinion, the food at kumare is way better than little ongpin and pin-pin.
almost everything at kumare is good.
the things they can improved on are:
– the servers should speak more tagalog. they’re a filipino restaurant after all.
– servers seem to be a bit disorganized
– perhaps they need to stock up on their ingredients. a lot of their items on the menu were out when we visited
– certain server should be in-charge of certain table(s), so that they’re not all over the place and keep asking if your order is placed or not.
they’re a new restaurant so i’m sure they will learn and pick up tips quickly. i believe one of the co-owners is related to a very popular family in the phils. which owns a franchise of popular noodle house and “siopao”.
i will definitely go back after about a month or so. hopefully by that time, they have ironed out the wrinkles
Hi Jeffy: Your feedback is basically what I felt too. The key thing is that the food is good … that’s the most important. Fixing those things you mention are much simpler. Ben
Nice post ben. Will try, once the Chowtimes effect has subsided. 🙂 .
Great talking to you over the phone just now! I won’t use the words “Chowtimes effect”. I think Kumare is a restaurant that everyone has been waiting for a long time.
This brings home a point that there is great demand for upscale dining. With a large and ever increasingly affluent Filipino community, it is only a matter of time someone takes the cuisine to a next level and everything will fall into place. The Chinese has done it well with upscaling their restaurants and yet maintaining authenticity. So likewise, I felt Kumare MUST NEVER change the true Filipino taste to suit everyone. They MUST make it the way it is, stay true to the cuisine AND YET provide a fancy dining environment. There are not many places that the Filipino community could entertain their friends/family in a nice setting.
One cuisine that is also in a dire need for upscale family authentic restaurant is the Vietnamese restaurant. Chau on Robson does not count as one for me as they have diluted the cuisine too much. Moreover, they are not a “family destination”. Let me tell you … once a Vietnamese restaurant opens serving authentic-family style and also upscale, you will get the “Kumare effect”.
It is not the “chowtimes effect” you are seeing here. I really don’t think so. We just happen to post about it first.
WOW… I can’t believe how popular it is already! I went today and I LOVED it! I can’t wait to have it again 🙂
I didn’t get to try some of the things that you blogged about that looked good. Since my friends ordered I’m not even sure what I ate… but I know I had this one beef thing with sauteed onions? SO GOOD.
Hi Ben and Suanne,
Thank you so much for visiting us, but moreso for your kind words about our restaurant.
As the daughter of one of the owners, I could not have been more excited to have read your review the day after your visit.
As mentioned above, many of our customers have said that they found out about us through your blog!
We’d like to thank you and all the others who have given us feedback (both good and bad) through this medium, as well as in person. We greatly appreciate all the suggestions and please know that we are doing our best to fix/iron out kinks that we find along the way during this “Soft Opening” period.
To our patrons so far, and to those who are yet to come, thank you for understanding the growing pains that we are encountering, for the words of affirmation, and for letting us know the areas wherein we can improve.
We looking forward to seeing you again in the future!
P.S. We are not actually trying to be a Filipino-Thai fusion place. Rather, we are a Filipino restaurant that serves some Thai dishes because our chef has had extensive training in this area.
Also, we did not want to be a Filipino-Chinese fusion place either because we feel that Richmond has many Chinese places already! :c)
Hi Krissy, good to see that you read Ben’s post as well as our comments. Personally I still would rather have Filipino-Chinese dishes in your menu than Thai. Being a Fil-Chinese yourself you know that there are a lot of Filipino-Chinese in Richmond and Vancouver who long for the familiar Filipino-Chinese dishes. And with the Ma-Mon-Lok background you guys have then the more you should be able to offer authentic Fil-Chinese dishes. Just look at Pinpin. They are very successful doing that. The demographics speak for itself. You will find more customers looking for Fil-Chinese food in a Filipino restaurant than customers looking for Thai food in a Filipino restaurant. I agree that there are already a ton of Chinese restaurants in Richmond, but there is a difference in mainstream Chinese cuisine and the Filipino-Chinese cuisine. You might be able to establish your own niche by serving authentic Fil-Chinese cuisine. We dont have a good Fil-Chinese restaurant here in Richmond. Just MHO.
Pandan Chicken was all the rage in Manila a few years back. We are just catching up over here. Filipinos all of a sudden got a taste for Thai food about 10 years ago.
I can see why you don’t want to serve Chinese in Richmond….that would be like selling ice to the Eskimos (er…Inuit).
While probably not at all viable here (or even in the Philippines) – I would love to see some more obscure regional fare – like food from the Muslim region of Mindanao which is closer to Malaysian and Indonesian food than the more familiar stuff.
Oddly enough, I don’t think of pandan chicken as a Thai dish: it will always be a Filipino dish to me. 😉
Best to leave the owners and chefs of the restaurant figure out their own menu, work from their strengths and serve the food that they do well. I’d rather have a restaurant serving good food (Filipino, Filipino-inspired, trendy Filipino, whatever the case may be etc) than one trying to serve a “authenticity-focussed” menu that not a lot of people would particularly care for and aren’t willing to shell out money for. Methinks I’m turning pragmatic these days: with the carnage in the restaurant industry currently, I’m just hoping to see this new restaurant make it in the next few years.
i don’t think you’re supposed to eat the pandan leaves :p its a method that they use to infuse more flavor into the meat but that’s it, its a part of the decoration. :p
My food prediction for 2011: Pandan is the new Lemon Water!
I recently went to the Bloedel Conservatory to see the Christmas lights there. Inside there is a very large pandan or screwpine tree. My companions were all exclaiming about what a lovely and interesting specimen it was. My comment: “It tastes good too” :-).
Yup, Ramir is right. Never eat the Pandan leaves. Pandan leaf is a common ingredient in Asia, especially in South East Asia. You can find the use of Pandan leaf from appetizer to desert in Indonesia, Phillipines, Malaysia, some Singaporean-Chinese fusion, and Thailand.
Grey Elf Funny you should mention that.4 days ago I was visiting Ocean Park or The Aquarium in the Philippines and was commenting to my wife,That this fish was best fried,grilled ,sashimi etc and the people behind us were giving us funny looks
LOL! I guess us food “weasels” have a different perspective on the world, don’t they?
We tried Kumare yesterday – Monday, I was a bit disappointed as the food we wanted to try were all out… Crispy Pata, Pandan Chicken, Chicken BBQ, Palabok and Sisig..I bet there were more dishes not available too, I understand that may hv been overwhelmed by the response but come on… 5 dishes sold out???YOure a restaurant, not a department store, you should have been more prepared! I wanted to walk out but my husband just said to give other dishes a try,, we ordered,, lumpiang shanghai which was ok..beef caldereta was so so…pancit canton was bland..but their pork barbecue was tasty…I agree with the suggestion, portions are a bit small , though ambiance is a bit trendy, I just wish they have servers that can speak Filipino..after all, this is a filipino restaurant..THough I agree people will still go there mainly for food, but in order to achieve a great customer experience, a filipino speaking servers would be appreciated!
Look at Little Ongpin and Pin Pin,when you go in, you can feel you are in the Philippines and can be assured you are really eating authentic Filipino Food..
Will I go back there? maybe in a month or 2 , giving them time to get themselves organized..I would like to try the dishes that were out yesterday..For the time being, I will continue to drive to PinPin, not too far from Richmond and all of their food are guaranteed Delicious, reasonable servings and have the Filipino ambiance..who cares if it looks trendy, after all, we all go there for the food,right?
We went there again tonight for the second time. It wasnt a particularly busy night and they have all the dishes we ordered. We ordered around 7 dishes. As with my first visit, the pork barbq was the best dish. We wanted to order soup but they dont have any soup at all in the menu. Thats a deal breaker right there. No sinigang soup for us. 🙁
I also agree with the observations that their portions are small. Its about 2/3 the size you get in Pinpin for about the same price.
Crispy, I went to Kumare for lunch today and noticed a table having sinigang soup. I remembered your post and just replying to let you know. I didn’t see it on the menu but the server also said they serve bopis now, so maybe they have new items?
Hi Mango, thanks for the update. I hope they really add it to their menu. Also hoping they add the daing na bangus.
Hi Crispy: What is these dishes you are discussing about?
I mentioned before that Kumare does not have any soup in their menu. Apparently now they have soup but its not listed in their menu. Their online menu doesnt have it either. Anyway sinigang is a soup with a sour broth. Just like adobo, you can pretty much use any protein in the sour soup. Its similar to Thai tom yung except its not spicy. In the latest survey in the Phils more locals selected sinigang as the national dish of the Phils overshadowing the adobo.
Here’s more info on sinigang survey in the Phils.
Daing na bangus is butterflied milkfish marinated in garlic, pepper and vinegar and then pan fried. Its one of the staple Filipino fish dishes. I complained that Kumare does not have daing or fried tilapia in their menu. They are commonly found in Fil resto here. Instead they have 2 or 3 fish dishes that have a market price tag on it.
Ops I forgot bopis. Bopis is chopped up pork lung and heart and made into a dry stew. It is usually a spicy dish. Here’s a picture of bopis.
We should have lunch in Cucina Manila and try these and other Filipino dishes. We can order small portions so we can try more dishes. Maybe Pinoy Gourmet can come too.
We tried Kumare after reading all the reviews about it. Unfortunately we did not have a very good experience. Here’s a recap:
1) From the moment we stepped into the restaurant and led to a table to be seated. When we sat down, the couch tipped forward because it was broken.
2) The service was VERY slow. It took about 40 minutes from the time we gave our order until the time the food actually came out.
3) We ordered these:
– Crispy Pata – after reading all the reviews we were really looking forward to trying this dish. Though the skin was crispy, the portion was very small and the meat had a foul “piggy” smell like it was an old pig and was very bland at the same time.
– Bicol Express – this is the first time we have seen bicol express with sauce that is color orange and has bagoong (shrimp paste) in it. There was no sili at all and no taste of coconut milk. It tasted more like pork binagoongan.
– Pork BBQ – the color was nice, but the bbq was burnt on one end and the meat inside was not cooked (it was still the rubbery raw meat texture) so we had to ask them to cook it again.
4) Portions are very small for the price. Reminds us of Rekados.
I hope you don’t experience the same thing we did if you haven’t tried it and intend to.
Hello Ben and Suzanne
I liked your fb site recently, and if I may add,,your blog is really addicting ..
There was a post where you were wondering why there were so many clicks fr fb on this write up… I have the answer….the owners and their relatives tagged everyone on their list…including me! So i guess they did you good as we became aware of your blog…and that explains the hundreds of clicks u got… fyi
Hi Bulakz: So, that is where all the Facebook hits came from. The traffic from FB was very significant, even today. It is amazing how Kumare has used FB so effectively to publicize their restaurant. Even today, Kumare is at the top 10 most active page on chowtimes. A restaurant blog post never had such staying power. At most it will stay at the 10 top for 1 week and then it tapers down. But Kumare is still up there. I am learning a lot from this post. Ben
Hi Bulakz, I’m curious on how you can tag a wall post in FB. I tried to do that with Ben’s Kumare FB post but couldnt find anywhere to tag it. Maybe you can show us how it was done. It can be useful in the future.
Ops, never mind my question. I found where it is done. It’s through the share option.
crispy…you just click share and on the pop up screen that includes the link you want to share, type @ then the names on your friends list..ex..@crispy….good luck!
With all the different comments I’ve read here on the blog about this restaurant, I thought I’d give it a try. I must say, I enjoyed my experience when I went there tonight with a couple of my friends. We ordered, of course, chicken pandan, which we really liked, the sisig was wow! We also had something that I think is called seafood with mushroom in chili, that was also really good, especially with plain rice. There were 3 of us and we thought the serving was sufficient, we were so full and even had some leftovers packed to go. Our overall experience was really really good and would definitely go back there (I want to try the bbq). I guess with all the different comments (good and bad), it’s just safe to say that it’s just really hard to please everyone. Different people just have different opinions and tastes. As for me, the 3 important keys to a what I would consider a good restaurant is good food, pleasant staff and very nice and clean ambiance, and I found it here. Staff here is still a bit slow, but understandable for a newbie, very pleasant though I must say. I just hope we’ll have the same or even better experience as we did tonight the next time we visit again.
By the way Ben, I didn’t see this blog on FB, I’m just one of your many readers that had been unknowingly waiting for something like Kumare to come up. When I saw this blog, one thing came to my mind, I think this is what a lot of us (Filipinos) had been waiting for, at least someone’s brave enough to put Filipino dining to the next level. I really hope this will last.
Yes I have to agree, you can not please everybody, we all have different tastes on food.
I have to admit my standards on Filipino dishes I usually order are a bit high as I know how authentic dishes should really taste like, Pinpin is the only restaurant in Vancouver/Richmond that meets my standard…If you liked it here, May I recommend you try PinPin, you will be surprised and with the appetite you and your girls seems to have, the portions you will get there , you will have plenty of leftovers to take home for your next meal.
Im glad you had a great experience and happy at Kumare, I hope I will hv the same next time I give it another try – maybe next month
Thank you for your recommendation for me to try PinPin. I have eaten there before, I’m not saying I didn’t like it, but I really don’t want to compare these restaurants and eateries. They have their own specialties and concepts. For example, I’d still go to PinPin if I want Kalderetang Kambing, or to Goldilocks for their Crispy Binagoongan, or to Aling Ening for Crispy Pata and now I also know where to go for a good Sisig and possibly bbq which I have yet to try (at Kumare’s). I just think that as a Filipino in a foreign country, we should support our fellow Filipinos who do these businesses and not put each other down so we can grow and let others know that Filipinos can make it big.
I wish all the best to Kumare. I’m really hoping they succeed in this very competitive business. It is really nice to have a Filipino restaurant right here in Richmond that has good ambiance. I also hope they take all our comments, good and bad, and use it to improve their food and/or service wherever there is a shortcoming. I personally have been to Kumare 3 times in the last couple of weeks. I really enjoy their pork barbq. As a matter of fact in our last visit thats all we had and rice because they ran out of the other dishes we wanted to order.
Im glad you had tried PinPin..you are right, every restaurant has its specialy. I just cant pinpoint PinPins specialty as everything is good there,though I like their bopis the best…
Dont misinterpret the previous write up I did, This is a blog , meaning, ppl share their opinions and give tips to others who has the same interest, so expect good and bad write ups here, (I write regularly for trip advisor too and ppl who reads them may agree or disagree .For the record, Im not putting this restaurant down, I did say I was going to give it another try so I dont know where you got that idea,.Who wouldnt want a good Filipino Restaurant in Richmond? In any case, Id like to share that if you crave for Maki Mi, or Alex III style, go to Little Ongpin , I f you want good Dinuguan, go to Cusina Manila (#3 rd by Canada Trust) and if you like good Menudo, try TIndahan (its just a take out place- Ahem CRISPY, have you tried it ? ), I hope this helps
Crispy..Amen to that , I look forward to corresponding with you on Bens other food escapes as I find myself waiting for his next adventure
Hi Bulakz, Tindahan is our favorite Filipino take-out. We buy our ulam there at 2 or 3 times a week. Their food is good and cheaper than Cucina. BTW, the chef in Kumare used to work as a cook in Tindahan. His brother took over after a short while. This is way before Kumare opened.
Im sorry, i meant Bens food escapades..
Wow crispy,i bet we hv bumped to each other there as im a regular as well,used to be 2-3times a week vut now only once a wk or ever 2wks depending on the weather,..what dushes do u buy? My fave is korean beef stew,lumpiang prito which sells fast ,chix afritada , gibataang pechay and chix pandan…
So which cook u talking abt,mang fernando ? Hes only been in canada less than a year and was fired fr tindahan in late nov or early dec. ..i assume its the same person as mang jun is still there
Hi Bulakz, yeah Ive seen you in tindahan a few times with your young son. I like lumpiang prito too and sinigang na pork and afritada. If they have kare-kare, I get that too. Mang Fernando was probably him. I dont really know his name but Ive seen him in Tindahan’s kitchen before. Mang Jun is his brother.
I ordered some items for takeout coupla days back BBQ Pork, Bicol Express and ube cake because purple entices me lol. Now my meat cravings are oversatiated, bicol express was rather interesting it gave me the same feeling i had trying pork blood stew at cucina manila, salty savoury comfort food but flavours lacked the depth i like in a good stew dish, plus i think everything would be better with chili lol ok shoot me what do i know abt the cuisine. BBQ pork was too sweet for my bbq preference and ube cake is dry skippable. My forays into filipino got me hooked on two raging obsessions: polvoron & cassava cake- i never knew how far my tolerance of sweets could go until now….
Hi All: Alex sent us a link to the vlog of the Kumare Restaurant. I had embedded it at the bottom of this post. Go check it out. Ben
I was very disappointed at the food and serving size. A friend and I decided to have lunch here today and ordered their combo. The pancit canton portion was barely there while the lumpia did not come with sauce. I ordered the Bistek with rice but most of the bistek were extremely tough that I could not eat them. The food fails in comparison to Pinpin and Cusina Manila and portion size was definitely disappointing. Filipino food is not meant to be small portions. Disappointing indeed…
Hi Hungrymommy: So many people had the same feedback about the portion sizes at Kumare. However, I am surprised that Kumare had not taken heed to this. I guess they don’t check the comments here. I always thought that portion sizes is the easiest to react to because I think incremental cost is not much. Ben
Hi Ben, this is strange. I can see hungrymommy’s comment and your reply to her on the side panel comment list but I cant find them within the blog post.
Anyway, regarding the portion size in Kumare, I think they may have to replace their serving plates coz they are geared towards small portions. A common complaint with Rekado’s was the portion size and that might have contributed to their demise.
Another observation I have is that their waitresses tend to congregate in the counter area. Its hard to catch their attention. They dont scan the dining area. They also always forget to serve the requisite sauce for the dish. One commenter mentioned that her pandan chicken was missing the sauce. We ordered karekare before and they didnt bring the bagoong with it. We had to flag them down to ask for the bagoong. Another time we ordered palabok noodle dish. They didnt include slices of lemon. We had to flag them again. Remember its hard to get the waitresses’ attention. I know it sounds trivial but small things like this stick to the diner’s mind and they may not want to come back.
Hi Crispy: About the missing comments, it is not missing. This is what happens when the discussion thread gets too long. There is a link at the top and bottom of the comments area that says “Newer Comments” that will bring you to the next page of comments. I need to do something about that for sure because that link is not obvious. Ben
Done. I had doubled the depth to the comments thread. So we will be OK for until a thread gets to something like 200 responses. LOL! Ben
That’s great Ben. Thanks for the quick response. You’re the best!!
I too am surprised that Kumare has not rectified their portion sizes to date. I was hoping to visit again, but will hold off until the portion sizes are increased. You are right Ben, the cost is incremental therefore I do not understand why they are not listening to their past/present/future customers. I have never tried PinPin, but may check it out in the next few weeks. There was a comment made by someone in regards to negative comments about the restaurant and that we should be supporting the Filipino community etc… I do not believe that the statements made are negative, rather constructive criticism and feedback. The restaurant business is highly competitive and as a result consumer voices should be acknowledged if a restaurant wants to survive and thrive.
Thank you Foodlover for agreeing with me….I highly recommend PinPin restaurant, though you may want to avoid the weekends…Let us know what you think ..
i completely agree with you in terms of acknowledging consumer voices if a restaurant wants to survive and thrive, but if everybody else is happy and and completely satisfied with it why would I change it? They say that not everybody can be pleased and to try and please everybody is to lose them all.
If I may jump in here. I think what people are saying is that it would be good for Kumare to ACKNOWLEDGE these feedback at the very least. This is because they had come on board with a comment on this post before. I don’t think people are asking Kumare to change based on their feedback. You have to understand that Kumare is in a very unique position … the people who commented here actually WANTED Kumare to succeed and they are root for Kumare to succeed for the community. So, with so many feedback and the silence from Kumare after that one comment, it could rub people wrong way thinking they are ignoring the voices of the very people who in fact wants the best for them. No, I think most of the comments are constructive and they are not insisting that Kumare try to meet their every “demand”. Kumare need not change to satisfy everyone but some of the repeated feedback has to be heeded.
Thank you for the feedback. I completely get where everybody is coming from, but please understand that the comments can be definitely misconstrued when it’s all completely negative. All the other comments that I see above are both positive and negative, while others are just completely negative. I’m sure it’ll be nice to hear what they LIKE about the place rather than everything they don’t like. I’m sure we were all in a position once where it doesn’t seem anything good that we do (whether it’s through work or anything else) is recognized but when something bad happens no matter how minor is greatly magnified. I truly believe in constructive criticism, but I do believe that it can be done positively by pointing out what they’re doing good as well as what they think needs to be changed.
Also If I may add. I do agree that some portion sizes need to be increased, but not all of them. Haha
Kumare needs to take into consideration that they are competing with several filipino eateries in Richmond not too far away. I ate here the other day, and sadly, you definitely won’t get bang for your buck here. They are way too stingy with their portions. I wouldn’t mind paying a bit more for a dish, at least give me my money’s worth.
I had the same issue with my karekare. I had hard time getting the waiter’s attention that I was already half way through eating my karekare before I could get someone to bring me bagoong. It should come automatically with the dish is all i’m saying.
I don’t think you can really compare Kumare to any othe restaurant besides pin pins. Cusina is turo turo, I’m sure everybody will agree with me when I say you can’t really compare that to Kumare. Kumare’s food is made when It’s ordered, while Cusina’s food is premade and it sits there until it runs out. Tindahan on the other hand is a sari sari store that serves food, that is also turo turo. How can you compare that to Kumare when Kumare is a full service sit down restaurant? So besides Cusina and tindahan and Pin pins I can’t really think of any other “filipino eateries” that I can compare Kumare too.
I also totally agree with the servers sometimes not paying attention to their customers, although I do see some improvement ( I think i’ve been going to kumare way to often ), and I must say the things I wasn’t too happy about in the beginning have definitely improved.
As far as the portions are concerned all i can say is ” to each is his own ” am i correct? To some people it might not be enough to other’s it might be too much and to the rest it could be just right. Same goes for the taste
The restaurant has been extremely busy during the times I’ve been to kumare, and I’ve actually seen several repeat customers already ( even to a point where I remember them by face and they remember me as well ). By witnessing this it goes to show that people are happy with the restaurant ( whether it’s the service, the portions of the food or just how it’s so classy yet affordable, I don’t know ), with this being said, I know that I don’t know how to run a restaurant, but I also know that If I was running a restaurant and 90 percent of my customers are happy with how I cook the Crispy Pata and the 10 percent are not then do you think i’ll cater to the 10 percent? I’m not saying no, but I know for a fact that I’m going to try to find a happy medium where I can make everybody happy but let’s face it, we all know that’s not possible. It’s also unfortunate that most of the people who love going to Kumare don’t really say anything on here( because they’re probably busy eating there haha. )
Sometimes we forget that It takes more than cooking the dishes, pleasing the customers or training your staff in running a restaurant. it’s easy for us to say change this, change that, add this add, remove that. The reality is It’s not that easy, because if it is, then more people would be opening their own restaurants instead of complaining. I encourage the constructive criticism because If I was the owners, I would want to know what my customers think, but let’s also understand that everybody can’t be pleased. Considering they’re only less than a month old, I think they’re doing really well and I wish them all the best. I for one will continue going there because, it’s close by, I like how the owners are really hands on ( No matter how busy the restaurant is, they still take the time to go around and see how everybody is doing and I know for a fact that the owner of Pin pins don’t do that ) ,I’ve been happy with the flavors and it feels like home ( I like going to a place where I’m starting to recognize everybody that comes in and it’s starting to feel more like home than being in a restaurant. ).
Just a little feedback on the above comment. Most Filipino foods are stews that take a while to cook. It’s hard to believe that Kumare or even Pinpin cook them to order. Do you really think your kare-kare only took 30 mins or less to cook? Basically, these sitdown restaurants are just full service turo-turo. Most of the food are premade. The pad thai I got from Kumare should have been cooked to order but it came barely warm and obviously premade. If you just look at the kitchen window of Kumare. You’ll see their cook microwaving dish after dish. Their microwave sits close to the kitchen window in full view of the diners. In the back of my mind I thought its not the best place to locate the microwave oven.
I agree with you on the owners going around and greeting everyone. That’s really a good gesture and I hope it last. You know, it’s very hard to put in creative criticisms without sounding like you’re having a crab mentality. I’ll just echo what Ben said and just hope the owners of Kumare go back to Chowtimes and read all the comments and to rectify areas that need attention. They are in a unique position being the first and only sit down Filipino restaurant to open in central Richmond. We all hope they succeed like Pinpin.
I’m sorry it’s apples and oranges. It’s like comparing Mcdonalds to Whitespot. They both have similar dishes but they’re completely different. I’ve been to Kumare and the food and service was excellent.
I agree with S. It is easy to criticize a restaurant when we don’t know what happens behind the scenes. I was a waitress for most of my university years and I can tell you first hand how incredibly stressful the restaurant business can be even for established chain restaurants. I too have been to Kumare a couple of times and can say that the service has improved from when I first visited. Yes, the first time I visited the service was slow, but the staff always refilled my water and made sure I was OK. Maybe I am more patient because I was a waitress myself and know what it’s like, especially since they haven’t been open for a month yet.
And as for the food, I can’t compare it to PinPin because I have never been there. I have always planned on going but never actually got there because of the hassle of the drive. I have been to Little Ongpin but was never happy with the food or the ambience. Not only did it feel like an “eat and run” type of restaurant but I always have it in the back of my mind that they had a rat problem a while back. Everything I have ordered from Kumare has been fresh and delicious (especially the BBQ skewers and sisig), including the pad thai (thanks for the recommendation Ben!) So I wonder if it was an off day when Crispy went?
All in all I think Kumare is doing a good job. I agree that it would be nice if the portion sizes on some things were bigger but I also understand that it costs a lot of money to not only start a restaurant but to keep it running. Like I said, the ambiance is nice there and I know I am paying for that too. Besides, the average bill when I go per person is around 10 dollars which I think is reasonable.
Hi again everyone,
Once again, we would like to thank you for all the feedback. I know that it seems that we haven’t been reading these, since we have been silent for the last week or so; Please know that we are following this thread diligently and have been working hard to address many of the concerns posted here (as well as those told to us in person).
Thank you to all those who have been very supportive, as well as to those who have given us criticisms. As mentioned by posters above, we are still very very new, and change takes time. I assure you that we are doing our very best, and though we may not say much on here, we are furiously working in the background to satisfy our customers’ needs.
We hope to see you guys again soon, and thank you once again!
Hi Krissy: Kumare is well loved. You got a good thing going! Ben
Krissy, I’m glad you guys are reading all these comments. I wish Kumare SUCCESS!
Went there to try it out and must admit, I loved it. My best friend is Filipino and she introduced me to some of the dishes. Loved the Shrimp cakes, Garlic Rice, Pad Thai, Chicken wrapped in leaves and some purple cake. (Sorry, I forgot the name. I need to go back more times to become further acquainted with the food and its names.) I like the fact that the food is very good, the environment is clean, the people friendly and the decor welcoming. I am now a Kumare addict! Thanks!
Hi Simone. Maybe you’re referring to UBE CAKE. By the way, thanks for giving a positive feedback. Haven’t been there yet but planning to this coming week.
That video from Alex is awesome!
Hi All: Shirley just emailed me that there is a new Filipino restaurant in Chinatown (Gore and Pender). it is called Phen Phen. Doesn’t anyone have an intel on that place? Ben
Hi Ben, Phen Phen is a small turo-turo style Filipino restaurant. I believe someone mentioned that they also sell cooked ready-to-eat balut. I haven’t been there.
Hi Crispy: Turo-turo is point-point right? Any idea if they are any good and worth the try? It is so far away from Richmond. Ben
I would try it if I’m in the neighborhood but I wouldnt drive all the way to Chinatown just to eat there. It is a small eatery and so their selection is limited. Cucina Manila in Richmond is so much better.
I went to Phen Phen shortly after they opened. Just tried a couple small items and was not too impressed. It is very small with only a couple of communal tables. Agree with Crispy, CM in Rmd!
Alright, thanks Crispy and Elf: Please wait a sec while I go to my list and strike Phen Phen off. 🙂
Does anyone know if the food portions have increased in size? Given all the feedback regarding the portion sizes, I hope it has been addressed by now.
I went there a couple of weeks ago and the portions are still smallish. Why dont you TOFTT (take one for the team).
Please give me a heads up once they will improve their portions, I refuse to go back until then..
Crispy…i just had the best pancit in town..its in Richmond Center beside pearl castle, across Mcdonalds..its the place that sells the BBQ stuff…theres a filipina who cooks food you can eat there or take out,,small order is only $3.00 and the big one (1 rectangle styro take out) only $6.00,,its cheaper than tindahan and tastes better, you should try it if you have time
Hi Bulakz: I saw your comment and I headed to the BBQ place in Richmond Center and bought the $3 pancit. It was pretty tasty stuff — thanks for the recommendation. Not a problem but just an observation … the pancit noodles are short which I think resulted from the way it is stir fried which cut the noodles shorter. For $3, it is a good deal. If this is near my office, I would get this for my lunch — cheap, light and tasty. I also bought the $1 soup which the Filipina lady said is very good. Ben
Thanks for the pancit headsup. I’ll head out there tomorrow morning after I get my free buttermilk breakfast sandwich from Mcdo. BTW, the Filipino lady there can speak pretty good Cantonese. She used to work for the owner back when they were still in HK.
As for Kumare, to be honest I dont think they will change their portion size at all. If I go back there I will just order their pork barbq and some garlic rice. I still like their pork barbq.
Oh darn it! I was mingling around Richmond Center this afternoon and I remember this tip. Thought I should try this pancit. Googled for this post on my iphone but couldn’t find it. I was parked in the upper parking just above McD and I even checked out the meat at the BBQ store . So close yet so far.
Hi Lissa: I had been to the BBQ shop (called Butcher’s Best) in the Richmond Center three times before to get the pancit. It was only the first time I went that managed to get the pancit. The other two times they did not sell it but they have other types of (Chinese) fried noodles. I asked the Filipina lady about it and she told me each time “today don’t have. tomorrow you come”. Her tone was not too welcoming and so I did not ask why not today and it is always tomorrow … or what day of the week she makes them. Oh well … Ben
You are right, i dont think they will change the portions as long as ppl are going there..so i guess no Kumare for me then..thats ok , there are other places to go….
I dont think the pancit is an everyday menu, u may want to wait for a few days ,, in case they still hv it tomrorw, it may be todays left over! try calling them to check ahead of time 604 2782333..Butchers best is the name…
Ben. Im glad u liked it, good deal eh? she also talked me into buying the soup.. i didnt like it much..but will go back for pancit next time…the spareribs looked good but didnt try it
BTW, you can also order this pancit with 2 dishes and it costs only 5.75. They really push their soup a lot. I thought it was free with their bbq meat with rice or 2 items with rice dinners. It used to be free. Anyway, I declined her upsell and settled for a can of pop.
Hi Crispy: Yeah, the soup at the Richmond Center BBQ shop wasn’t too good. I won’t get that next time even though it’s just $1.00. Ben
i have to agree, will not buy the soup anymore..i guess i will see what kind of soup it is but if its the same, i would decline too
Crispy…what size of pancit is it that coasts only $5.75 plus 2 dishes? small i supposed..are they decent sizes?
THey do draw a crowd around 1130..
They use the big container for the 2 items w/ rice or noodles. You can choose either plain steamed rice, pancit noodles or fried rice. They fill it up with rice or noodles first then put the 2 items on top. So the pancit is basically about the same size as a large order of pancit.
They are sold out of the pancit today. My wife went by late afternoon to check it out. That item was probably popular.
Hi Eric Y: Hehehe … your wife is too slow. I bought a $3 small serving of the pancit today and I saw that they have about 2-3 servings left at that time. Ben
SOrry about that Eric..will let u guys know next time Im at the mall and pancit is on the menu, or call them to check…
Ben..the short noodles on filipino table is very common, i dont know the real reason but I would like to think this is to be able to feed more people? Any ideas anyone?
Hi Bulakz: Just for interest sake. I was told that to the Chinese long noodles signifies longevity and therefore the longer the noodle the better it is. Anyway, the pancit was a good find. Ben
The Filipino pancit bihon is made of thin rice vermicelli. If its cooked too long or sit in the sauce too long or if its stirred up quite a bit, it tends to break into shorter lengths. That happen to me everytime I cook pancit at home. I dont think the cook intentionally cut the noodles short.
i was at little ongpin for lunch this past weekend. Kumare have definitely taken away some of little ongpin’s customers – no doubt.
never seen little ongpin so empty at lunch time.
i have to say though that little ongpin have that authentic filipino restaurant feel. as soon as you walk in, servers greet you with “magandang umaga po” (good morning)… and the servers all speak/talk to customers in tagalog. it’s a small thing, but attention to small things/details is what makes a business successful.
I have to agree jeprox…but the days ive been there ( i go there at least 4 times a month) lunch time, its always 3/4 full ….
their store may not look as stylish as kumare but i sure still goes back for the food
Thats fine if you are Filipino and used to Filipino Culture,But What if you are not Filipino????Reminder 95% of Vancouver is NOT PINOY.I bring my none Pinoy friends to Kumare and My pinoy friends to PinPin
Hi PinoyGourmet, I agree with you on that point that there is only a small percentage of Filipinos in Richmond, however, it is easy to identify Filipinos from say Chinese or other races. And I can safely say that majority of Kumare’s customers are Filipinos. So there is really no reason why they do not greet and talk to Filipino customers in Tagalog. I’m not slamming Kumare but I think it makes you feel more welcome if the serving staff greet you in your own language.
True that not everyone in Vancouver is Filipino. Also true that not everyone in Vancouver is not Chinese, but when you visit a Chinese restaurant or store and you look like Chinese – what is the language that the server or store clerks use to communicate with you?? Chinese of course. Same thing would apply to a restaurant like Kumare. The first language they use to communicate with patrons should be Tagalog – providing the customer is Filipino or look like a Filipino. It’s common sense, if the person ordering is not Filipino or the table is a mix of Filipino and non-Filipino – obviously the server should use English first and adjust accordingly.
When I was at Little Ongpin last weekend, two Filipino ladies and a caucasian guy walked in. Server greeted them in English and sat them down. One of the ladies ordered in Tagalog and the server proceeded to communicate with them in Tagalog. Our server was the owner herself who is Chinese. She wasn’t sure if we’re Filipinos or Koreans or Chinese… so what did she do? She started out in English with a mix of few Chinese words and Tagalog. We replied back the same way to let her know… yes, we ARE/can speak the language. This makes it feel “homier” for both parties involved.
Since Kumare chose to have a Filipino business name and they’re main customer base are Filipinos – they should adapt and start using the language more to serve their customers. I believe their servers are mostly family members (kids of the owners) who grew up here and cannot really speak Tagalog fluently. I think this is why the use of Tagalog is limited. Hopefully it’ll change.
In fairness to Kumare, their servers do respond back in Tagalog when you talk to them in Tagalog. But yeah, its still better to be greeted in your own language when you go into an ethnic restaurant.
As for Little Ongpin, I do like their approach of greeting their Filipino customers in Tagalog. But sometimes, their good service becomes too “trying hard”. They have started greeting their customers with their first names. I went there twice in a row and in my last visit, they asked for my name. I bet I will be greeted with my name the next time I go there.
The one and only time I went there, the young lady server couldnt understand any tagalog..
and as for LIttle Ongpin.. i dont find it trying hard on their service. i go in and we are on first name basis..Joanne is the bubbly pinay who always takes good care of me..and my guests..it makes you feel at home..and though i dont expect other restaurants to do the same..i agree that filipino speaking servers would be a plus……you know when u go to a japanese restaurant and you hear servers speak in chinese? what is the first thing taht comes to your mind? …..i guess point taken!..
I went to Kumare Thursday morning of February 17, 2011. Food was ok. Pin-pin is still better. What struck me the most was the servers were very rude to me. They either ignored what I asked for or completely forgot. I don’t think I’ll be coming back there anymore.
Hi Nikki: I see that you are a first time commenter. Could you describe more of the experience as what you said is too general? I thought that will help everyone understand the circumstances more. What did you do when you said the restaurant ignored what you asked for or completely forgot? Did you tell them and they still ignore you? I am trying to understand what you’re saying as I am sure other readers would too. Ben
There is really no excuse why you received poor service. You went on a weekday morning. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I dont think they are busy during breakfast service.
Ben, well, of course I kept flagging them down and it took them a long time to come. They went on rolling the spoons and forks before they went to me. I had to flag them down at least 6 times to get me my water. Then I had to flag them down around 4 times to get me vinegar. It was absurd! I heard Kumare service sucked but I didn’t believe it until I actually went through their service.
And, yes, crispy lechon. It was a weekday morning. which made it more absurd because they weren’t busy at all.
Hi Nikki: I felt that these kind of issues can be a quick fix by any restaurant. Flagging the waiter down FOUR times for a vinegar and not getting it when it was a slow time just doesn’t make sense to me. You call it absurd. I call your experience bizzare. Oh well … Ben
My friends and I had the same experience as Nikki. Servers there are horrible. I went there the other week and there were around 4 other tables and I had a hard time flagging them down. SERVICE IS HORRIBLE AT KUMARE. I wouldn’t go back there again. No matter how good the food is. The service always matter when it comes to restaurants.
Hi Francis: Do you by any chance know Nikki and that you went on the same day? Just curious … Ben
No. I don’t know Nikki. And I went around Monday noonish of the week before last.
I just want to call out the facts. I am not siding anyone at all. Both Nikki and Francis wrote negative comments about Kumare citing bad service. I had found that to be strange and full of holes (i.e. asking for vinegar for four times and each time ignored). Francis had just confirmed that he does not know Nikki.
However, according to our records, BOTH Francis and Nikki posted their comments from the same IP address (i.e. 18.104.22.168). All comments from Nikki and Francis originated from the same computer. Proof me wrong but it does appear to me that both Nikki and Francis is the same person who is bent on smearing the name of Kumare. Again, I am not siding with anyone but I will not stand for this sort of things. I don’t care if this happens on Urbanspoon or Yelp or what but please respect my blog.
I wonder if this is related to a competitor restaurant. If I know who that is … LOL!
Ben, its actually funny how both Nikki and Francis pretended but they maybe just angry young customers trying to warn people. I went to Kumare a few times and I got different servers but I do have to admit that their service sucked. It was pretty slow. Servers were rude. I might have taken a bit longer with the menu but it doesn’t mean that they can roll their eyes at me. Right? But anyway, I wouldn’t say that Kumare is the best filipino restaurant in town. I still have to say Little Ong-Pin makes you feel more at home and it has better food.
Hi EVERYONE: For your info, Mika’s comment also came from the same IP: 22.214.171.124. Thanks Ben
Unfortunate that folks find the time to write crap about a restaurant for no real good reason. It’s a bit sad to see given a restaurant is trying to establish a customer base and make a name for itself.
I’m guessing the person who posted the comments don’t know much about how the internet works, how websites/blogs work.
Having your IP announced is similar to having your house keys given to a stranger. People out there with knowledge can do some nasty stuff to you when your IP is out in the open. So if I were you (mika, francis, nikki or whatever your name is), stop posting crap and get a life.
Jeprox you’re absolutely right. With that IP I was able to trace the location of that computer to an address in Burnaby. I won’t divulge that info here. Anyway, it is really unacceptable to bad mouth a restaurant by pretending to be customers posting comments. Ben, I’m glad you are keeping a watchful eye on the comments. In as much as a good feedback benefits a restaurant, a bad feedback and a fake bad feedback to boot will cost a restaurant some business. I have a feeling those fake commenters are related to Little Ongpin as one of them (Mika) was extolling Little Ongpin.
Don’t feed the trolls!
Hehehe … if that is the case, I will go write an ultra critical post about Little Ongpin and nitpick on every single thing (like asking for vinegar and exaggerating that no one wants to bring it to me FIVE times). No, I am just kidding … I have no idea if the troll is related to Little Ongpin but one has suspicion it did. 🙂
*gasp* How did you do that (tracing the IP to an physical address)? I gotta learn from you. Ben
ben, there are many things you can do with an IP address. with the right tools and if you got the right people/connection – you can do a lot. 🙂
you can do a DoS and other stuff with an IP.
that is why i said having an IP out in the open is kinda like giving your house keys to a stranger.
Lechon are you secretly a government spy =O
@Elaine. Shhhh dont blow my cover. Thats why I use a pseudonym in the internet. I dont want to be identified. LOL.
Hi Ben.I got help from our office IT and We traced the address to Burnaby and I got the location with street view.Trolls beware of false posts,you will be found out.FYI I havent even been to Kumare,I just hate trolls
Hehehe Jeprox, Ben is just playing with us. He knows a lot about ip and other internet/computer stuff. His line of work is in IT too. If I were the person purporting to be Francis, Nikki and Mika I will change my ISP to Shaw from Telus to get a new ip address. That should teach them from doing what they did.
Serious, I am not. I know how to use an IP Locator to locate the city where the IP is located but definitely not a physical address. I tried researching this but I found out that only if you know someone working in the ISP will you be able to find out. Oh gosh … I better hide my IP. LOL! Ben
I should mention that having your street address and stuff doesnt really mean something will happen to you. I’m not evil enough to harm anyone. Same with doing harm to your computer through the ip address. I dont really do that but some other hacker may pick up yr ip and attack your PC. So let this be a lesson to everyone not to troll.
Hi Crispy Go to the website on Vancouver Coastal Health on restaurant inspections and read about L.O.At least thats true unlike the trolls imaginary posts.Yes it is scary to have your IP posted
i don’t think i’ve ever seen a chowtimes article with so many comments. comments that start with food and turns into service and into IT issues. 🙂 🙂
btw ben, there’s a take out Filipino place on Minoru (corner of Westminster Hwy) called Tindahan. it’s in the same small plaza as Mui Garden.
Yeah, I have heard of Tindahan. Never been there personally but maybe Suanne has. I always thought that they are just a grocery store for Filipino items. Ben
They have a small take-out counter in the back of the store. Another place with Filipino take-out is Aling Mary’s on Park Road, across Kumare.
There’s a big dollar store beside Well Tea on Hazelbridge, can’t remember the name of the dollar store. It’s owned by Fil-Chi and they have a HUGE Filipino grocery items, as well general items from the Philippines.
Dollar Smart is the dollar store by well tea..they dont serve ready to eat food but hv variety of items, groceries are cheaper than tindahan….
Aling MArys food is ok..i like their dinuguan..though portions are smaller than tindahan..I heard you can also order whole lechon there, I just dont know if it comes in whole pig that u hv to chop urself or its already chopped like the one in Parker Place….they also sell buns like ensaymada, taisan ,product of Red Ribbon, but u hv to buy the ones with the dates,, i bought a few times without as they said they stop doing it,,,and it got molds the next day…
sorry, i got mixed up aling marys and Cusina Manila…the above comments was for Cusina Manila……
Aling marys? Hmmm… ive tried it. just ordinary taste dishes. not restaurant quality.. their food dont look good, mostly sitting on cold grease… i went there 2 days in a row one time, they had 2 same dishes as the day before,,,, i bet it was left over!..though you can order cooked lumpiang shanghai (spring rolls ) with sauce for $15 – 50 pieces..thats what i go in for..and their pandesal buns
Ive been reading the post and frankly, I dont know why there are threads not relating to Kumare here… I dont think they deserve much publicity with the number of comments,,,, (well…until they change their portions! hehehe)…
Maybe ben can create a discussion page instead ?
Yes, tindahan have the best Menudo and Chicken Afritada…dont try their dinuguan,, its sweet, not authentic at all…
Btw…this will be my last comment on this write up, until i go there again…
I have heard that Kumare had responded to the feedback here and had increased their portions. I was told that in some cases it was doubled and they had also went out to purchase bigger platings. I have not personally verified it but it came from a very reliable source.
As for a discussion page, yes, that is on my plate. I want to be careful how I introduce this change on chowtimes but I want to turn over focus to you, the readers, where you can initiate whatever discussion threads you want. It will be like a forum but in the end it will still be a blog centered around “Ben and Suanne”. I had done some experiments but clearly I need to test some more. I think you all will like it.
I might go to Kumare tonight. I have a couple of friends who wants to try Filipino foods and Kumare is the closest with sit-down service. If we go, I will report back on the portion size and the service. Hopefully it has improved. As previously mentioned the chef in Kumare used to work in the Tindahan take-out kitchen. Somehow he was replaced by his brother who is still the chef in Tindahan. That was way before Kumare was opened.
so i visited kumare fr the 2nd time yesterday since its opening. i have noticed a few improvements. one thing that i noticed right away was that all the servers were speaking Tagalog behind the counter and our server also spoke to us in Tagalog! definitely a big improvement in my opinion – compared to 2 months ago.
i also noticed that they’re not busy at all. not even half of the restuarant was filled up and it was lunch time. i’m guessing the “hype” have now gone down. Food was not bad, servings are still kind of small.
there’s still room for imprevement. i’ll pay them a visit again in about 2 months. 🙂
I ate dinner there too last Thursday night. It also wasnt that busy anymore. Maybe because it was on a weekday night. Anyway, I noticed some improvements in their menu. They now have more fish dishes (priced ones instead of the “market price” tag they had before). They also have soup in their menu such as sinigang which is a staple Filipino sour soup. I ordered pork barbq and their crispy fried daing na bangus (marinated milkfish). The fish was sooo good. It was a fairly large whole bangus (12.00 or 15.00 with green mango salad). It was also deboned which is definitely a big plus because the milkfish is a very boney fish. However, I noticed in the adjacent table that the portion size of their dishes remained the same, small size.
They also have more Filipino baked goods and desserts displayed on the front counter. Overall a good meal with what we had ordered. Regarding the service, they are more attentive maybe because they are less busy now and you’re right Jeprox, the waitresses speak Tagalog now.
The portions are smaller because maybe they are COMBOS. I know this because we usually order many combos. We like these because it reminds us a bit like having TAPAS dishes, a little of many things. We don’t order the other servings because they are too big!
Nope Simone. They are not part of a combo. They are full orders. I went there last week and its still the same. Small portions. Here is a picture of one of their full order dishes taken by a food blogger. As you can see they use this small oval dish for most of their dishes. You can pretty much gauge its size with the spoon in it.
Just dropping in to say hello – I’m a Fil/Am food blogger, cook and educator based in Sf and I hope to try Kumare the next time I get to go north! Live hearing about Filipino food spreading it’s roots in Van. Ps: this was likely answered in other comments, but pandanus is meant to be used to for flavor…not as a vegetable in it’s own right. If you ever get a chance to try fresh pandan tea, yum!
Being a senior, i always read comments with a grain of salt. in social media, with tons of salt. if i want to try a new restaurant, i will spend time and money to try what they offer. and if i like them i will go back and try the other stuff as well.
we must remember, each person has a different take on food and everything else. beauty is in the eye of the beholder, if you get my drift….
hi there it was nice reading your blog.. by the way the pandan leaves are really meant to be discarded.. they just wrap the chicken in pandan for the flavor.. 🙂
You don’t eat pandan leaves! Lol, what is it with Westerners and eating every kind of leaves?
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