Win-win: Delicious takeaway curry in sustainable packaging

Published December 2, 2020, 11:34 AM

by Kerry Tinga

Kumakuma Curry’s eco-friendly bento boxes are wrapped in a furoshiki cloth for a Japanese authentic experience–sugoi!

Takeaway and delivery meals seem to have reached an all-time high due to the pandemic. While convenient, takeaway and delivery often generate a lot of waste as a result of disposable packaging. That is why the young chefs and entrepreneurs behind the recently launched Kumakuma Curry said sustainable packaging was a “non-negotiable.”

Earlier this year, Takumi Reyes, 24, left BGC hotspot Mecha Uma, where he was sous-chef under Bruce Ricketts, to open up his own restaurant focusing on Japanese curry. With him in the kitchen is Erika Pangan, 25, formerly with Poblacion bistro Lampara.

Rounding out the Kumakuma family is the management team: Nina Capistrano, Nathaniel Benedicto, and Steven Chen. The three of them also own the popular BGC chicken shop BirdBox.

Together, they have created a new Japanese curry experience that can be delivered right to your door. It is not just delicious but also sustainable. Plus, you get an authentic and reusable furoshiki cloth with every order.

Imagine the delicious bento boxes lovingly wrapped in cloth by an okasan (mother) in all those mangas and animes (where the food always looks amazing). Kumakuma Curry is just like that. My stomach is grumbling already.

Behind the curry

“Kumakuma curry is actually the brainchild of our chefs,” says the Kumakuma team in an interview with Manila Bulletin Lifestyle. “Due to the pandemic, however, a brick-and-mortar store would have to wait and so we decided to launch Kumakuma as an online delivery food concept instead.”

Signature beef curry / Photo from www.kumakumacurry.com
Butter chicken karaage curry / Photo from www.kumakumacurry.com
Beef curry / Photo from www.kumakumacurry.com

“At the core of it, [Japanese curry] was actually something Takumi grew up eating in his household. His love for the dish not only led him to try different variations of Japanese curry inside and outside the country but likewise drove him to learn more about the process of creating it and the rich history behind it,” they continue. “He wanted to create a Japanese curry that he felt would do the dish justice.”

They currently offer three types of curries: the butter chicken karaage curry (₱350), the beef curry (₱400), and the signature beef curry (₱420). There is a range of spice levels and add-ons available, including onsen eggs and gouda. Each curry is a modern interpretation of the traditional Japanese curry.

Behind the packaging

“Sustainable packaging was one of the things that we really wanted to do for Kumakuma Curry,” the team adds. “It was actually a non-negotiable for us, especially due to the rise of single-use packaging brought about by the pandemic.”

With every order of curry, there are three elements to their packaging that is not just sustainable but actually enhances the overall experience: the eco-friendly bento box, the experience card, and the furoshiki cloth.

Bento boxes wrapped in Furoshiki cloth / Photo from www.kumakumacurry.com

“Since we are a delivery-only food concept, we wanted to impart a more personalized experience,” says the Kumakuma team. “In restaurants, the dining experience is elevated through different aspects from the ambiance, the plating, the cutlery, and even the table-side explanations. We wanted to bring as much of this as possible to our customers even if they are just eating from the comforts of their homes, hence our packaging materials.”

Close up of the Kumakuma Furoshiki cloth / Photo courtesy of Erika Pangan

The bento boxes are eco-friendly and produced sustainably with bamboo fibers, starch, and water. Meanwhile, the furoshiki cloth is wrapped around the bento box. A traditional multi-purpose cloth, the Kumakuma team was inspired by chef Takumi’s grade school lunch boxes, traditionally wrapped in the Japanese style. To encourage customers to make the most out of the sustainable packaging, the experience card includes folding instructions for those who want to reuse the Furoshiki cloth.

“In terms of our packaging, the thing we appreciate the most is how some of our customers have actually posted or send us photos and videos of them reusing the furoshiki,” says the Kumakuma team, “which goes to show that the extra effort we took to implement these sustainable aspects of our brand was well worth it.”

Kumakuma Curry delivers every Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday. Orders require a minimum one-day lead time.

www.kumakumacurry.com

 
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