March 10th, 2013. Kumare – Filipino Group Dinner!

kumare restaurant & bakery

kumare restaurant & bakery

 

 

 

 

My lifegroup is a bunch that love to eat, and for the most part we are eager  to try new things.  Despite about one third of the group being Filipino we have never gone out for Filipino food and many of us are not familiar with the cuisine….so we planned a spontaneous Filipino food adventure!

kumare restaurant & bakery

kumare restaurant & bakery

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our resident experts suggested we go to Kumare in Richmond, a pretty reputable Filipino restaurant.  Sunday dinner with my family of friends?  Yes, please!  Kumare is a clean restaurant/bakery accented with modern furnishings.  Call me silly, but to me that is inviting 😀

kumare restaurant & bakery

kumare restaurant & bakery

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The menu has great photos that help even novices to Filipino food navigate the cuisine!

kumare restaurant & bakery

kumare restaurant & bakery

 

 

 

Crispy Pata is an item that came highly recommended in Yelp reviews, so I definitely wanted us to order that.  Crispy deep fried pork hock with a yummy dipping sauce, the skin was nice and crisp, and the bites had a nice marbling of fat throughout to add tenderness and flavor.

kumare restaurant & bakery

kumare restaurant & bakery

 

 

 

 

Of course no Asian meal is complete without rice…and what’s even better?  Garlic Rice!  The garlic definitely added more pizazz without being overpowering 🙂

kumare restaurant & bakery

kumare restaurant & bakery

 

 

Since this was one of the only times I didn’t really have any weight on the ordering when THIS came to the table I was quite kerflummoxed!  Dinuguan is essentially a pork blood stew with chunks of pork simmering in a vinegar pork blood “gravy”. This dish is true Filipino soul food!  It took all the courage in me to take a small bite of this…and I have to be honest I didn’t really like it.  It was tangy and gloopy and it’s most definitely an acquired taste.  The Filipinos at the table enjoyed it though, which means it must be pretty close to what they are familiar with!

kumare restaurant & bakery

kumare restaurant & bakery

 

 

Beef Caldreta is another stew, but in a tomato based creamy gravy with beef shank, bell peppers and potato.  Because of the tomato based sauce and the large pieces of bell pepper this dish really brought a brightness to the mix.  Really yummy with the rice, too!

kumare restaurant & bakery

kumare restaurant & bakery

 

 

The fun thing about Filipino food is the way they repeat words! Beef Kare Kare!  True to it’s roots and not wasting any part of the animal this dish consists of oxtail, trip and tendon and the peanut sauce lends a subtle sweetness and creaminess that’s quite delightful 🙂

kumare restaurant & bakery

kumare restaurant & bakery

 

Sinigang is another staple Filipino dish and I can’t remember whether this one was pork or beef based, but it incorporated okra, eggplant and veggies in a sour tamarind soup base.  This sour tamarind is such a signature flavor of Filipino cuisine and not like any other soup I’ve ever tasted!

kumare restaurant & bakery

kumare restaurant & bakery

 

Another popular dish is the Sizzling Sisig!  Crispy pork face, red onion, chili and ginger on a sizzling hot plate with a raw egg on top!  Now this was an exciting dish that employed the sense of smell, sight and audio.  Mix mix that egg in with the aromatic pork and splash that wedge of lemon over everything and you have hot, crispy, zippy, bright and rich flavors bursting in your mouth!  Loved this 😀

kumare restaurant & bakery

kumare restaurant & bakery

 

We were stuffed with dinner but the display case up front with such interesting looking desserts tempted us to stretch out stomachs some more! Halo Halo~~~  No, it’s not a greeting, it’s Filipino shaved ice!  Assorted beans, jellies, jackfruit, sweet banana, leche flan, ube, and taro ice cream…the ultimate Filipino dessert!

kumare restaurant & bakery

kumare restaurant & bakery

 

I couldn’t resist the Sansrival: Almond meringue topped off with chopped almond.  Now I’m usually not a fan  of nuts, but this just looked so decadent and lovely!  Layers and layers of airy but super rich meringue with the crunchy almond crumb, it was just the right amount of sweet and nutty, creamy and crunchy!

kumare restaurant & bakery

kumare restaurant & bakery

 

 

Finally, this purple dessert creation, Ube Macapuno Cake!  It’s not a sweet dessert, but super moist, the cream is super light and the macapuno strings of jelly add a bit of texture.  A nice way to conclude a big meal 🙂

kumare restaurant & bakery

kumare restaurant & bakery

 

How was the meal?  Warm, communal, and adventurous!  I would say that the act of sharing heightened the experience.  Since we really ordered the full spectrum of Filipino cuisine I feel like I can go back and will be able to figure out what I want next time!  It’s been a long while since I’ve been in the side of learning about a new food culture, so for me this was a great experience of taking a back seat and just enjoying exploring the flavors and offerings!

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May 19th, 2012. SATURDAY!!

cora's breakfast & lunch

cora’s breakfast & lunch

 

 

 

Rachel and I met up for some brunch in Richmond this sunny spring day. She’d just gotten back from her Malaysia/Asia trip so of course we had to meet up for some post-trip chats!

 

cora's breakfast & lunch

cora’s breakfast & lunch

 

 

 

 

She told me that a Cora had just opened up and since I’d been hearing great things about the one in Coquitlam..I figured hey, let’s give this one a try, too! It was super busy when we got there…looks like word got out that they were open!

 

cora's breakfast & lunch

cora’s breakfast & lunch

 

Cora is known for for the French style crepes and breakfast fare.  Rachel went for their 10 Star Omelette, basically fully loaded with cheese on top and served with toast and roasted potatoes.  Honestly….it was abit of alet-down. I mean nothing super amazing and even Denny’s omelettes look better than that!  And the potatoes…well, you can see they don’t look really roasted.

 

cora's breakfast & lunch

cora’s breakfast & lunch

 

 

I had their seasonal special: Maple Crespelles, thin crespelles filled with maple butter and topped with 3 strips of bacon.  Uh…major disappointment.  The crespelles were soggy and dense to create a doughy texture and taste and the bacon?  Just…sad…….

 

 

I definitely don’t get the hype.  Fresh?  French style-crepes?  I don’t know….this location was a huge bowl of sadness for me.  Maybe I should try the Coquitlam one to see if it is actually better…but just from this one meal alone I can’t even stomache the thought of coming back 😦

Richmond Night Market

December 19, 2011

June 12th, 2011.  Richmond Night Market!!

richmond night market

richmond night market

    Of the highlights of summer in Vancouver are the various night markets.  Of those the Richmond Night Market is probably the most popular.  With tons of stalls with cheap “made in China” merchandise on one half and a vast plethora of Asian eats on the other half, RNM is totally worth the drive!

  Eunice, Henry & I wanted to make as many memories as siblings together before he went off to school in Seattle, so we made an effort to go spend an evening together.  Exciting!!

richmond night market

richmond night market

 

  Giant Turkey Drumsticks on the grill!!  My sister and I are huge fans of turkey.  Turkey just brings up these nostalgic, festive feelings that we both love to go back to any time of the year.  Sadly, we didn’t get to try these this time around, but we were pretty happy just seeing something that warms our hearts so much!

richmond night market

richmond night market

 

 

 

  We love Dim SumBubble Tea!!!  There are many dim sum stalls, so it’s really about who’s got the better deal or the better looking items.  I love the Sui Mai and Har Gow and my bubble tea was so nice and refreshing!!  I got the Peach Green Tea.

richmond night market

richmond night market

 

 

 

 

 

  I was recommended to try the Giant Sweet Corn.  I got one slathered with butter and a Cajun seasoning and left it with Henry while I got in line for the Hurricane Potatoes.  You know how delicious it is?  So delicious that by the time Eunice and I got back to our patch of the table it was all gone…!!   Henry sheepishly said “I couldn’t help it..it was really good…!”  Luckily I had one bite in the beginning.  Sweet, juicy goodness!!!  Yum!!!

richmond night market

richmond night market

 

 

 

 

 

 

  Thai Satays.  I got 1 pork, 1 beef and 1 chicken.  I got pretty lucky because these were not over-cooked.  I only wished the satay sauce on it could have been stronger.  Still pretty good, so I went back for more! 

 

 

 

richmond night market

richmond night market

 

 

 

 

  I swear.  Every year the Hurricane Potato stand has the longest line and it takes FOREVER to get a hold of one!  Those darn Koreans sure know how to come up with a home-run product.  They stick a potato on a stick and somehow cut it so that it slices into a string of chips.  They then coat it with thin batter and deep fry it and then coat it with your choice of flavor and then drizzle ketchup.  Mmmmm~~ Mmmm good!

richmond night market

richmond night market

 

 

 

 

 

  Say what you will, but I love the little savory puff balls with bits of octopus inside that is Takoyaki!!  I always can’t wait long enough and end up burning the inside of my mouth…but I still love it!!  With plenty of bonito flakes and mayo & takoyaki sauce on top this one is always a treat! 

richmond night market

richmond night market

 

 

 

 

 

 

   Japanese Yam Fries.  Nothing spectacular…but the mayo and nori topping really just makes it so delicious and yummy!  Plus it’s easy to eat while walking around!

richmond night market

richmond night market

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  Japanese Onion Rings with Wasabi Mayo….Delicious!!!!  Piping hot, crunchy exterior coating and super creamy mayo.  Soooooo~~~~ yum!!!

 

 

 

 

 

  We were sooooooo full by the end of the evening!!   We got some fun little souvenirs, had tons of fun and ate til we dropped!!

Well Tea

September 23, 2010

August 5th, 2010. Girl Talk @ Well Tea

well tea
well tea

 

  So after my NYC trip I had to get together with Rachel to debrief!  I was playing volleyball that evening in Vancouver so I coordinated to meet up with Rachel in Richmond at Well Tea, one of many Richmond bubble tea joints.  Their extremely extensive list of bubble teas=a very undecisive Rachel! 

well tea
well tea

 

 

 

  Salty Peppery Chicken has become my bubble tea cafe staple.  I think it must be hard to get this wrong..because every time I’ve had it it’s been good – Super hot, crispy, juicy and spicy!

well tea

well tea

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  I decided on my drink fairly quickly.  Rose Grenadine Milk Green Tea.  A subtle sweetness and rose taste.  It’s actually quite nice!  I want to try this as a hot tea  

 

well tea

well tea

 

 

 

 

 

  Girl time with Rachel is great.  We vent, worry, laugh and tease..all while enjoying food!  I almost think I’m not capable of getting together with someone without ingesting something…LOL!!

 

 

Shanghai River – XLB

August 20, 2010

July 1st, 2010. XLB, We Finally Meet!!!    

shanghai river

shanghai river

 

  Canada Day=National Holiday=Stat Holiday=No Work=Day Off=Opportunity to Eat!!  Yes, yes, a day off for me means an opportunity to eat something that I otherwise would not be able to.  Dim Sum is one of those things, Xiao Long Bao in Richmond is definitely one of those things.    

I’d been telling Rachel for the longest time that I wanted to go to Shanghai River because I’d heard that they really do a good XLB.  So I dragged Nabil out with me to meet up with Rachel in Richmond for a Dim Sum lunch!  

shanghai river

shanghai river

  I was impressed by the size of the place.  It’s actually the nicest Chinese restaurant that I’ve ever been to!  It had an elegant appeal with the well lit open space, big windows, nice linen and the good liquor and open kitchen.  I was really getting pretty excited about the brunch!  I was also surprised about the small menu but figured it meant that the smaller selection meant concentration on quality.  I was ready to eat!   

shanghai river

shanghai river

    One thing you gotta love about Chinese Restaurants (or any restaurant where English is a secondary language) is the often mispelled or just outright wrong words used!  And yes..sometimes the translations are a bit too literal and can make you ROFL 😉  In this case we have “Stick Rice w/ Favors”.  Umm….what kinda favors are we talking about here..?  I thought this was a respectable establishment!   

shanghai river
shanghai river

    After a LOT of heming and hawing and Nabil just wanting us to hurry up and order already we finally came to a few decisions.  First up was the Fried Donut in Sticky Rice. I was actually thinking of something different…thought it would be more like Fried Donut in Steamed Rice Wrap.  You know which one I mean, right?  They didn’t have that particular one on the menu so I picked what I thought would be an alternative.  Oh well.  I wasn’t a fan of the dry filling and the rice was a bit crumbly..but the flavors were nice dipped in the vinegar-ish sauce they brought us.  I didn’t dislike it, it just wasn’t what I expected.  

shanghai river
shanghai river

 

  Along the lines of “not what I expected” was the Smoked Pork on Sesame Bun.  I was expecting the bun to be…a little more like a bun?  The “bun” was dry and crumbly with loads of sesame seeds sprinkled on top so it made for a lot of crumbs!  

shanghai river

shanghai river

    And yes, I am adding an extra picture of the bun because I want you to see the inside, too.  Although the slices of pork were generous I found these as well to be a bit on the dry side.  It had good flavor to it, though, and the cucumbers gave a nice crisp and refreshing “bite” to the sandwiches 🙂  Still…it had me gulping down tea after every bite!

shanghai river

shanghai river

    Next were the Green Onion Pancakes.  Can you say massive?  All of us had the same initial reaction: “Woah!!”  I was thinking they’d be thinner..but man, these were thick!  And the basket held 2!  The green onions were nice and onion-y  but I think the pancake in general had a lot of dough…either that or I was already starting to feel full!  I appreciated that the exterior was nice and crispy, though and it came out hot, so I did enjoy it!  Who doesn’t like crispy+piping hot?    

shanghai river

shanghai river

     Finally, finally!!  The long awaited Xiao Long Bao!!!!  I was so super excited!  I had to fight really hard not to just grab one as soon as the basket came out!  Fortunately good sense took over and I snapped some pictures first 😉  I hurriedly took a few shots and then me and Rache posed some more with the XLBs in our little spoons 🙂  In hindsight maybe I should have made a video of me & my first encounter with XLB!   

shanghai river

shanghai river

    I ordered the Crab & Pork XLB thinking the sweetness of the crab would cut the savory of the pork in a good way…but I think next time I’ll go for straight up pork XLBs.  The first thing I noticed while trying to pick the sticky XLB out of the basket was that the skins were easy to break.  I was sweating bullets trying to carefully extract one!  It was totally worth it 😀  I put it in my spoon, gently poked a hole and took a contemplative sip of the soup before just dvouring the whole thing!  Hot!!! But sooo so goooood~!  Lovely little XLB, you did not disappoint 😉   

shanghai river

shanghai river

   This next I item I just had to order out of pure nostalgia!  Deep Fried Crab Claws!!  I mean how can you not love these…they come on a crab claw!  Remember boxed lunches in Korea?  These were probably one of the most popular side dishes in those!  Except the ones here at Shanghai River are much bigger and better. Packed with filling, these were super hot when they were brought to the table.  We all took a huge bite..and then were yelping!  Well, I was bravely trying to pretend it’s not too hot for me while sneaking sips of water…hahaha!   

shanghai river

shanghai river

    The last item, Turnip Pastries, we ordered out of pure curiosity and really, it ended up just being a filler.  I, for one, was way too full to even eat it with a sane mind!  It was definitely interesting, if not my favorite.  The turnips inside the pasty were mandolined and and seasoned, but it was still quite bland, and with the very dry pastry it was really difficult to swallow.  Next time, I definitely wouldn’t order these again just on the fact that they seem sort of useless. 

shanghai river

shanghai river

 

    Final thoughts?  The dim sum at Shanghai River is not the usual sort you find at other dim sum places.  They are more like big appetizers.  Some were a hit..some were a miss.  But I’m gonna say that maybe it’s because of the items we chose to order. Most of them were fried or pastries, so perhaps if we had ordered a wider variety of types we would have been happier.  Let’s leave on a high note: the XLB was great and super fun to eat!  It put a smile on my face and my tummy and my heart was very~ happy! ♥