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Lumpia, Pansit, Atbp - Filipino Relocated from Gaithersburg to Westfield Wheaton Mall

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Every time Bob's mother is in town, we try to find a different Filipino restaurant to take her to (she's an 88-yr.-old Filipina). Most of the places we've been to have been to have been mediocre at best but I saw a good notice of Lumpia, Pansit elsewhere so we decided to try it out on Saturday. It's in the Festival Center on Muddy Branch Road in Gaithersburg, just beyond the Grand Mart, and appears to have been a Japanese restaurant earlier (at least, that's what the low tables in the front window area suggests). A brief talk with the owner told us that she used to run a catering business, and opened the restaurant early this year; she seems to have an eye toward offering healthier versions of traditional dishes.

Lumpia, Pansit does a weekday buffet ($6.95?) and a more extensive weekend buffet for $12.75, which includes nearly 20 different dishes. They also serve a regular a la carte menu on weekday evenings. While I'm hardly a Filipino food expert, I think this was the best that we have found in the DC area so far. The vegetarian pansit bihon and palabok, were both quite good, as were a chicken curry and escabeche (though in the latter, the fish was a bit dried out). The fresh lumpia were outstanding, as were the two fried versions. Two soups were offered, including a very tangy sinigang; I didn't try the turola.

Since I got filled up on those items, I didn't have as much of the other, meatier items, though I enjoyed the bistek and kaldereta; the adobo chicken was a bit too salty (well, everything was). I was too full and not adventurous enough for the kare-kare, dinuguan, menudo, or the pinakbet (I've had it before and didn't care for it). For dessert they had a warm halo-halo, thick with coconut milk and laced with rice balls, jackfruit, and mango. They said this is an "afternoon halo halo," and the traditional icy version is an evening dish. Weirdly, it reminded me of the Norwegian rommegrot that I used to get back in Montana and Minnesota.

Overall, it wasn't bad for a buffet, and while the atmosphere is nothing, the staff was nice. I would actually consider going back even without Bob's mom, which is not something I would otherwise say about the other Filipino places we've tried. (FYI, atbp. is Tagalog for etc.)

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I was browsing through the Maryland Restaurant Guide and noticed that this place is listed in Gaithersburg, but they moved to the Wheaton Mall. Here is the contact info from their website. I've never eaten there, but I've passed it many times. And I've always wondered what "atbp" meant!

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