Located in a strip mall with plenty of parking.
Tonight was the first time I’ve had Filipino food in a restaurant. Which is surprising because I’m a godparent to my Filipino friend’s kid. But I’ve had homemade food before (pig’s blood stew, yums) so I guess it never crossed my mind to have it at a restaurant. Besides, my Filipino friends would usually suggest Chinese or Shanghainese food.
We went to Kulinarya Filipino Eatery which was minutes away from my friends’ place in Coquitlam. It was their regular take-out restaurant.
When Patch, Little Patch and I showed up at the restaurant, it felt like a bubbletea joint. Small tables, plastic chairs, blackboard menu behind the cashier and one of the server’s laptop playing a music video on the bar table. The decor was a bit girly, like a teenage girl’s room but bright and warm and very casual. It was perfect for a family with a potentially screaming baby!
At first glance, you may think this is a fast food take-out joint.
Very contemporary girly modern, not really expected in a Filipino restaurant.
Patch forgot to bring LP’s booster chair so we thought we had to take turns holding him but I was pleasantly surprised that they had a high chair available for such a small restaurant. It shows that they think of families and such.
My friend had already ordered for us. We had 2 babies and had to feed one right away so it was fine. The food started coming out one by one. We had 6 adults and 2 babies so there were 4 small tables put together. It was really crammed because they used unproportionally large plates.
A little dish of salted corn-like nuts to wet your appetite.
Salty shrimp paste and vinegar-soy sauce with onions.
Garlic fried rice ($4.50 large) - if you love garlic, this is very heavenly. Texture of rice is el dente with flakes of fried garlic and green onions. The garlic is infused into the rice. If this is day old rice (which is normally used for chinese fried rice), I don't mind actually. No wonder my filipino friends loves rice so much.
One of Kulinarya's Specials - the BBQ Platter ($19), BBQ pork skewers, chicken thigh and grilled squid stuffed with chopped tomatoes. The pork skewers were a little on the chewy side but each skewer were packed with meat (no space between the meat)
Crispy Pata ($10) - deep fried pork leg. I lovelovelove this dish, if you love the crispy skin on chinese BBQ pork, this is better. It's seasoned and lightly fried. Crunchy but there's still enough fat to chew. Served with the vinegar soy sauce.
Ginataang Kalabasa ($9) - squash and veggies in coconut milk. This was also my first time eating okra which I knew a lot about from watching Good Eats' episode on okra but never tried. Don't like it, no crunch, mo doesn't like limpy veggies! The coconut milk was light in flavour but tasty however, it didn't really work with the vegetables and shrimp that were swimming in the delicious sauce.
Kare-kare ($12) - beef and tripe in peanut sauce. Oh, this was delicious of so many levels. You must like tripe if you want to be on the same level with me. The peanut sauce tastes like a package sauce but I mean that in a good way, like those really good ready to cook flavour packages. My friend's mom uses peanut butter and half a day to make a homeversion of this dish. Not sure it's that's normal to use peanut butter since this dish didn't taste that buttery. Beef was a bit tough, but the tripe was cut in pretty small pieces and tender. Served with the shrimp paste.
Escabeche ($12) - deep fried tilapia with sweet and sour sauce. This is like a regular fried fish. Their sweet and sour sauce is like a salsa with the chopped tomatoes.
Sizzling Sisig ($10) - crispy minced pork served on a hot plate. My friend cracked a raw egg and mixed it with the dish. This dish was probably the least exciting of all. 😛
Their tables are too small for the size of the serving plates that they use!! Food is good so customers will order more food, but restaurant is small so can't have bigger tables without sacrifacing the number of customers in at a time, so please use smaller plates! We can handle going for 2nds and 3rds...!
The confusing part of the receipt is that only the price of the item is listed (not the total). For example, we ordered 2 large fried rice, it shows $4.50, but some people may think it's $4.50 for BOTH. It's not a big deal, just something I noticed right away when you total the amount, it doesn't add up.
I mentioned earlier that the server’s laptop was playing some music video and they would crowd around the table whenever it’s slow. But service was really good, they were attentive, chatted with us and one of our kids that it didn’t bother me when the servers looked more like hanging out than working. It was very chill, I didn’t feel rush but still got really good service. I bet if I asked one of the servers to break to the beat of the song on the laptop, he would start pushing the tables against the walls. 😛
Overall, I really like this restaurant because it’s intimate, casual and the food is good. The dishes are something new to me but the ingredients are something I’m already familiar with in chinese cuisine, just done in a different way. I like the sauces that accompanies the dishes and the flavours are not too overwhelming.