Time to Dine: Spice Café Cuhponos - Waku Waku

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Time to Dine: Spice Café Cuhponos

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Time to Dine: Spice Café Cuhponos

Whether you're looking for a restaurant to eat out with friends or a café to study, this place ticks all the right boxes!

Cynthia Gumulia

Cynthia Gumulia

Published on 23 Sep, 12:00

Roaming with international visitors - from students, domestic tourists, to international backpackers - Beppu offers an array of worth-to-try international cuisines if you know where to look. We've seen many Japanese Izakayas, a few good Korean restaurants, Italian pizzerias to Thai and Indian eateries. But have you heard of the less-known Vietnamese place, Spice Café Cuhponos?

Spice Café Cuhponos Outside View
Spice Café Cuhponos Outside View

As a foreigner, my Vietnamese-cuisine knowledge is only as far as Pho. Even though the ingredients are easily accessible in various supermarkets across Beppu, cooking the dish is not as easy. That's why I prefer coming to this small, yet surprisingly cozy café, to enjoy a piping hot bowl of Pho.

Not only Pho, you can also enjoy a wide variety of Vietnamese dishes. From quick side bites, full-on meals, deserts and Vietnamese coffee. You surely can treat your buds and reminisce Vietnam vibes.

Main and side dish menu
Main and side dish menu
On a budget? Don't worry, the lunch set menu is easy on your wallet!
On a budget? Don't worry, the lunch set menu is easy on your wallet!
Drinks and dessert menu, if you're up for it
Drinks and dessert menu, if you're up for it

Struggling reading Japanese menu? They have a copy in English too!

Spice Café Cuhponos English menu
Spice Café Cuhponos English menu

This time, I ordered the Beef Pho, Tomato Pho and side dishes of Banh Mi and Spring Rolls. I can assure you there is nothing to complain, the broth of the phos were tasty and comforting, especially if you happen to come by during the rainy days.

Beef pho (top left), Spring Rolls (top right), Banh Mi (bottom left), and Tomato Pho (bottom right)
Beef pho (top left), Spring Rolls (top right), Banh Mi (bottom left), and Tomato Pho (bottom right)

The Beef Pho is a classic menu that you can never go wrong with – if you're in doubt of what to order, this is probably a to go menu to choose! The Tomato Pho was equally delicious, with generous slices of chicken meat and chunks of tomatoes.

Beef Pho (top) and Tomato Pho (bottom)
Beef Pho (top) and Tomato Pho (bottom)

As for the side dish, I may be a little bit biased because I love bread, but the Banh Mi was deliciously out of my expectation. Whereas the spring roll was okay, not the best I had eaten. It is packed with fresh vegetables and herbs as well as pieces of meat and shrimps, but it tastes a little too healthy for a meat-lover like me! But the dipping sauce was incredible though.

Banh Mi
Banh Mi

There were other dishes on the menu that intrigued me, such as the Peanut Butter Pho. I definitely have not heard of this dish before, but I wasn’t feeling very adventurous that day, hence opting for a more subtle pho choice. If I were to come here, I would definitely try it out though! Happy stomach is the way to go right?

So, what's so good about this place apart from the food? Well, I love the ambiance that this café has. I came by around 1 PM and stayed until the shop closes at 3 PM because it is such a comfortable place to just hang with friends and share a laugh.

The overall café was bright and even though it is an open space, you can choose the sofa corner if you came with your friends, otherwise you could opt for the "student-desk" tables to eat alone or the bar table.

My favorite spot is the corner sofa, but the desks might be a better option for social distancing
My favorite spot is the corner sofa, but the desks might be a better option for social distancing
The bar table is just as comfortable, you might get to chit chat with the owner if you sit there!
The bar table is just as comfortable, you might get to chit chat with the owner if you sit there!

My favorite aspect of this café is the paintings though. I've never been to Vietnam before, and considering the pandemic, these paintings is probably the next best (and safest) thing to physically traveling there.

You can't miss the iconic Nón Lá hat
You can't miss the iconic Nón Lá hat
Does houses in Vietnam looks like this?
Does houses in Vietnam looks like this?

To top all of that, if you need to restock or purchase authentic Vietnamese ingredients, this café got you! On the corner behind the register, you could find affordable Vietnamese ingredients including Vietnamese coffee beans!

Does your pantry needs a restock?
Does your pantry needs a restock?

The food, the atmosphere, and the overall space projects a strong inviting feeling. After spending a good amount of time there, I head out to continue with my day. But this café really hits the spot for me and it is definitely worth another visit.

You've never been here? Well you should and let me know your impressions of the place!


Spice Café Cuhponos スパイス食堂クーポノス

  • Address: 〒874-0942 大分県別府市千代町11−25 (find it here)
  • Operational Hours: 11:00 – 15:00 (last order at 14:30)
  • Phone: +81977758145
  • Additional Notes:
Delivery (Mainichi Monkey) and Takeaway availableCash, Paypay, LinePay, and AirPay are acceptable
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