Cucina Manila - Near Joyce Station

  I have to be completely honest with you guys, I know virtually nothing about Filipino cuisine haha! But that's nothing google can't fix...right? lol. Currently I'm in the process of familiarizing myself with filipino food, so bear with me! I haven't been exposed to filipino cuisine a lot, given the scarcity of Filipino restaurants in Vancouver! If you know any awesome filipino restaurants that you think I should try, leave them for me down below! :)

  3 of my best friends in high school were filipino, but they never introduced me to filipino food because they were pretty westernized lol and ate mostly "American" food! The last time I had filipino food was from the food truck Fliptop, which is more fusion than filipino really. I've also tried squid abodo at a friends house before and another time at a potluck.

  For my first venture into filipino food, I decided to go to Cucina Manila! I know, I know, I really should have gone to an "actual" restaurant and not a cafeteria type place haha! Buttt, it was more for convenience than anything really. I had a doctor's appointment at 3 near Metrotown and I didn't want to venture too far. Cucina Manila is located right by Joyce Station, so it's super convenient! I don't know how authentic Cucina Manila is but I saw a lot of filipinos eating there so that's always a good sign haha. 

Signature Dishes
   Cucina Manila serves up homestyle filipino cuisine and operates as a "fast food" restaurant. You choose your dishes, pay at the counter, and seat yourself "cafeteria style." All of the items are pre cooked, and they sit under heat lamps. They have a large variety of options to choose from, you can get a combo with 2 sides + rice for $9.50 or $5 for an individual dish.

  I also saw a lot of people getting takeout dishes! They even have a dessert section! I'm not sure if they replenish their supply at dinner so I would suggest going for lunch instead of in the late afternoon for the freshest food!They have condiments in the back like vinegar, chilli sauce, siracha, and even a water station!

Service 
  The lady serving me was really nice! I didn't really know what any of the dishes were, but she told me the names of some of them. She was smiley and looked like she was in a good mood.

Ambiance 
  When you step in, you feel like you're in someone's home. The walls, tables, and floor look all too familiar. The place is clean, and well managed. Seating is ample and you seat yourself! Definitely nicer than most "cafeteria" style places I've been too! I also liked how they used actual plates and cutlery! It's just better than eating with a plastic fork and knife!

Price - Affordable $
  For under $10, this place is pretty good value, about the same price as a food court. You thereotically could order 2 combos and share them between 3 people, and it would probably be more than enough.

Value - Good
  The portion sizes are quite large and if you order a meat dish, it's good value for the money. I was surprised that they put the dishes in separate bowls because usually fast food places use boxes or a single plate so you get less food.

More Info!
5179 Joyce St Vancouver, BC 
Squid Abodo 
2 items w/ rice $9.50
3.5/5 stars
  This was really good! Wayy better than I was expecting considering that it's pre cooked food! It was really salty though. Ample rice was definitely needed on the side. The shrimp paste flavour was really strong and it also exhibited a potent star anise flavour, you can see the little star anise ball on the lower right hand corner in the picture. It was choke full of spices, all with dinstinguishing degrees of flavour. In another review someone said that the squid had a really soft texture, and I have to agree, it was super soft, squishy and easy to chew! It was quite oily, as you can tell, but that didn't bother me too much.

  But do take my opinion with a grain of salt, because I don't really have any other restuarant versions to compare it to. One thing's for sure, this version was leagues better than the version I tried at my friend's house!

Beef Kaldereta
3.5/5 stars
  I don't know the actual name of this lol because there weren't any labels in the restaurant, but if you know please let me know! It looked spicy, but it wasn't at all! Like the previous dish, it was really salty. There was also a film of oil on top. This dish had a strong shrimp paste flavour but it also had an underlying flavour of coconut. The beef was actually reasonably tender and wasn't tough at all! There was a good fat:lean ratio which made the beef really easy to chew!
This was actually quite a large helping of rice, which was needed lol, since both of the dishes were so salty!

The Verdict
  I wasn't expecting this place to be that great given that it is "pre cooked food" but I'm surprised at how much I actually like this place! It's definitely sparked my curiosity for filipino cuisine and I'll without a doubt be visiting more filipino restaurants in the weeks to come!


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3 comments:

  1. Hi Selina! Big fan of your blog and long time lurker =). The second dish looks like Kaldereta. Not sure about the coconut and shrimp paste though, but every household has their own version anyways. The sauce is usually tomato base with liver paste. Check the link below. Keep up the good work!

    http://panlasangpinoy.com/2009/03/01/beef-kaldereta/

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  2. Hi Anon!! Thank you soo so much for your support, it's people like you that encourage me to keep blogging! :D

    Thanks for the info and the link! I'll make the appropriate changes in the post. Take care and have a great day! :)

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  3. Hey Anon,I saw your new comment! :D haha don't worry, I won't publish it!

    Yayyy I'm so glad you enjoyed my recommendations! LOL I'm always paranoid that people might try things that I review and hate it, and then blame it on me haha!
    I agree, the seaweed/kelp salad from Shaxian Delicies is delicious! :)

    It's awesome that you tried Bubble Waffle , ordering can be kind of imitating at first, but the slip makes things a lot easier! I've tried their fried intestine before and it was really good! :D

    Guess what? I went to Pin Pin today and ordered the two dishes you recommended: Sisig and Bopis and it was awesome!! Especially the bopis!! Thank you so much! If it weren't for you I honestly wouldn't know what to order because I'm not very familiar with filipino cuisine!

    I really wanted to try the Halo Halo but at that point I had depleted all my stomach space LOL, I'll definitely save room for it next time! ;)

    Oh I love waves! I didn't know they had a $2 deal going on! Thanks for letting me know! Same here, I like how their coffee is smooth but not bitter! They're baked goods are pretty good as well! :D

    Thank you so much and you too! Have a great weekend and enjoy the last bits of sunshine! :D

    -Selina

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