Is Sul and Beans still relevant?

September 11, 2019 — by Jayne Zhou

Every time I’ve visited Main Street in Cupertino, the parking lots have been full. I’ve had to drive around in circles continually, even parking in the far parking garage in order to get the food I craved. 

The collection of trendy and Instagrammable food items in the plaza has helped lead to its success. However, I questioned how good the actual food was, besides being nice to look at. 

One place that I had seen a lot on Instagram is Sul and Beans, a Korean dessert shop specializing in bingsoo, a kind of Korean shaved ice. I knew that the shop was pretty popular ever since it opened about a year ago, around the same time as Somi Somi, a dessert shop selling Japanese taiyaki and ice cream. Since its opening, I noticed that its popularity has decreased and it hasn’t been showing up on my social media as much, so I went and checked the place out for myself.

When I first walked in, I couldn’t help but compare it to Somi Somi and Meet Fresh, its “Instagrammable” competitors, which are not only on Main Street but have also both retained their popularity over time. I noticed that the inside of Sul and Beans is a lot smaller than Meet Fresh, but bigger than Somi Somi, which has no seats for customers. There were also significantly fewer customers than at either of the other two dessert shops. 

I went at around 5 p.m. on a Sunday, so I wasn’t expecting too many people to be there since it was right before dinner time. Instead, most tables were filled with customers, though it wasn’t as packed as Meet Fresh and Somi Somi.

For the food, I ordered the original bingsoo and the green tea toast, two of the most popular items. The bingsoo was $9.95 and the toast was $6.95. I thought the prices were decently fair since the bingsoo was fairly large, but the toast was slightly overpriced, since it was only the size of an average square of bread.

The original bingsoo was like shaved ice with a Korean twist and covered in roasted sesame seed powder. Personally, I really like sesame seed powder, so I enjoyed the bingsoo.For someone who doesn’t like flavors like that, there are a variety of other choices that are more common like strawberry and oreo.

The green tea toast wasn’t as good because I didn’t like the matcha flavor and it was kind of bland and greasy, so I gave it to my friend. The food that they offered seemed as generic as other trendy dessert shops, with the exception of their original bingsoo flavor. 

I would honestly go again just for the bingsoo, but if I wanted any shaved ice I would rather go to Meet Fresh, as they offer a wider variety of better flavors.

I remember when Sul and Beans first opened, barely anyone knew about it; it got really popular a couple months ago, but its popularity was pretty short lived. 

I still think Sul and Beans is a trendy treat and a nice place to take pictures, but there are so many new dessert shops opening up around the Bay Area that it’s hard for any of them to actually stay relevant for long.

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