News / Vancouver

Vancouvering: Taking a taste of Filipino food on The Drive

Authentic, savoury — but slow — dishes served up at quiet Kulinarya restaurant in East Vancouver.

NONE The Batil Patong at Kulinarya on Commercial Drive. Uploaded by: Jen St. Denis

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NONE The Batil Patong at Kulinarya on Commercial Drive. Uploaded by: Jen St. Denis

My New Year’s resolution is to explore new foods that I know absolutely nothing about. That’s how I ended up at Kulinarya Filipino Eatery at 1134 Commercial Drive.

The small eatery is the second location – the original is in Coquitlam – and my first foray into Filipino cuisine.

Kulinarya offers up some interesting dishes to share like the Pata, which is roasted pig leg, Kara-Kara, which is tripe in peanut sauce and Milkfish, which is the national fish of the Philippines.

I ordered the Crispy Pata ($14) and a noodle dish called the Batil Patong ($14) – then I waited for 45 minutes.

The Batil Patong came first with nicely cooked egg noodles, crispy pieces of pork belly, ground beef, a soft fried egg, cabbage, julienned carrot served in a beef broth. The broth was full flavoured with a hint of sweetness. It would have been super delicious with a bit of hot sauce, but I was offered none. The dish was tasty and heart warming, but not worth the 45 minute wait.

I had to wait another 15 minutes for the pork leg, served with an apology. It was an impressive looking dish, served in a skillet with the leg bone on the bottom, slow cooked pork piled on the bone and topped with crackling. The pork meat was slow roasted and tender and the crackling mixed in made for a wonderful texture. It was cooked plain and served with a spicy vinegar dipping sauce, which slightly overpowered the meat, but cut the fat.

I’m not one to go out of my way to complain about service or atmosphere as I believe food writing should be mostly about the food and sometimes less than exceptional service or trendy trimmings can be the charm of a place. The dishes I tried were great and the eatery is cute with colourful benches and nice lighting, but it was frigid in the room and there was no music playing. There was only one other couple in the place and they were whispering to one another in order to have a private conversation.

I could hear the server on the phone in the back and literally the sound of a spoon scraping a plate in the kitchen. When the music was turned on it was overpowered by the kitchen music, so two sounds were coming at me.

This compiled with an hour wait for food made for an unpleasant experience, so I only recommend if you are looking to have a long lunch. The good news is that I made it through 30 pages of my Zadie Smith novel.

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