Snacks from All Around Asia at Cube Cafe

Chinatown has a ton of bakeries selling similar delicious baked good and drinks, plus a few with specialties like Yummy Yummy with their waffles and New Harmony with their “pop” smoothies. Cube Cafe has both, along with a menu of food that is… Pan-Asian inspired? Really though, the photo menu on the counter covers food from Vietnam, Malaysia, Korea, and China. Plus breakfast and dessert.

Breakfast is served all day. For $1.25 I got a Pandan waffle, a hot piece of waffle covered in goo that reminded me of that green ghost from Ghostbusters. It tasted kind of like condensed milk. I liked it, but it was on the small side.

If you are seeking Vietnamese, pork summer rolls come as a duo for $3.50. These weren’t as good as the classics over on Washington Ave, there wasn’t enough mint for example. But the pork had a pleasant grilled taste to it.

For about the same price you can get another duo (Korean rather than Vietnamese); the bulgogi wrap. I didn’t think the marinade was as strong as traditional Bulgogi and the wrap could have used a thicker, less watery sauce, but it could be a good cheap lunch to grab on the go.

A while back Stephanie wrote about the Malaysian chicken at Penang. I noticed it on the menu, and I hoped I could be cool and Asian and be into the steamed chicken thing. I don’t really get it though, so I am not even sure if this is a decent version of this type of chicken. Sure it was tender, but how could it not be if you steam the crap out of it. The slippery skin is left on, which is not so visually pleasing to me. 3 sauces go with it, a ginger paste, a hot sauce, and soy. Dip away if this does it for you.

Things got worse for me when I tried to further dabble in Cube’s Malaysian selections with the Nasi Lemak. Why on earth did I forget that this dish is made of anchovies??

On to my favorite thing here, its as simple as porridge. Don’t look for congee on this menu, they do actually call it porridge. For $1.50, it comes topped with scallions, savory pork, and peanuts. This might be the thickest congee I’ve found in Chinatown.

Just like Yummy Yummy, Cube does “Hong Kong egg waffles” made to order in the special rotating waffle pan. The flavors here are different though, at Yummy Yummy they are filled with little chocolate nibs, here you have 3 options: plain, chocolate, or the most intriguing- sesame. I did halvsies with chocolate on one side and sesame on the other ($2.50). Both were good, the sesame was more unique. I wonder if they could do chocolate and sesame mixed rather than separated, I can’t see why not. That could be even better.

Cube is the 2nd place I have found in Chinatown that does pop smoothies- the little balls that squirt liquid when you bite into them. Here, they call them poppy and put the in soda and fruit shake concoctions. I did not see my favorite type on the menu, the yogurt kind which as served at New Harmony.  The smoothies aren’t quite as good as New Harmony’s either. Pictured are a strawberry smoothie with mango pop and a mango smoothie with strawberry pop.

They also serve Asian bakery style teas, which makes sense, and the serve La Colombe coffee, which makes less sense but will probably make a lot of people happy.

Cuba Cafe is having an identity crisis, but I am mostly ok with it. Some of their dishes are not for me, but I appreciate the range of options and I will be back to try what I missed (corn dogs, fried rice, satay) and get more of that congee.

THE + (What somebody who likes this place would say)

  • I can’t decide if I want Korean, Vietnamese, Chinese or Malaysian
  • I like thick congee
  • I need a smoothie pop or waffle fix

THE – (What somebody who doesn’t like this place would say)

  • There are better versions of some of their dishes elsewhere

Cube Cafe, 145 N 11th  (@ Arch St), 215-351-0202



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