My favorite thing to eat in the blistering hot Korean summer is bingsu. I’m not a huge fan of hot weather, so this popular dessert of shaved ice milk and assorted toppings is a perfect way to cool off. Starting around May you’ll see new businesses that open just for the summer, and you can assume that most of them are bingsu places. This summer I’ve noticed that a specific chain called Sulbing 설빙, which originated in Busan, has spread throughout the country. I’ve seen Sulbing or a ripoff version of Sulbing even in small towns in the country! We realized when we filmed this video that the two videos we’ve done about this tasty treat have both featured mango bingsu, so we decided to ask some friends to send us some pictures of their favorite bingsu around the country so that we could share it!
#1 – Traditional Style Patbingsu at Meal Top – Apgujeong, Seoul
Bingsu is traditonally Patbingsu 팥빙수 – “pat” meaning sweet red bean. Pat is used in several Korean desserts and snacks, and may be an acquired taste for some of you. Nevertheless, we had to start off our list of awesome bingsu desserts with a classic from a famous place in Seoul! This traditional patbingsu can be found at Meal Top (밀탑), in Apgujeong at the Hyundai Department store. They were voted as one of the best places for
bingsu in all of Seoul! They are very, very famous. Just mention “Bingsu in Seoul” and many people immediately think of Meal Top. It’s that famous.
They do it up with a small selection of bingsu, and especially popular is their regular patbingsu. It’s straight up just the shaved ice, with the read bean on top and only two pieces of rice cake. You can get the iced milk version as well.
It’s simple, classic and the place is always packed. There’s a machine where you pull out a number and you get called on when tables are available.
#2 – Cheese Bingsu from Sulbing – Countrywide
#2 on our list is also from Sulbing (because it’s that good) and is contributed by our friend Meagan.
Sulbing (설빙): Korean Dessert Cafe is a really popular chain in Korea and they make a fantastic cheese bingsu. It sounds kind of weird from the name, but it’s actually just bite-sized pieces of cheesecake mixed in with the shaved ice, along with almond slivers and fruit on top. It comes with a side of sweetened condensed milk (연유) that really takes it up a notch!
Meagan’s blog, a guide to life in South Korea.
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#3 – Green Tea Bingsu from Beans & Berries – Countrywide
Having tried tons of different patbingsu all over Seoul, our favorite Bingsu was the first one we bit into. It was Beans & Berries green tea bingsu. Which came with a heaping scoop of green tea ice cream, mixed nuts, corn flakes, and to top it all off, sweet red bean. It was a beautiful looking dessert until we mashed it all up. Somehow, it tasted even better than it looked. We almost didn’t get it due to the 12$ price tag, but ever since we did, we have been eating bingsu like its going out of style. Even though we have yet to find a bingsu we didn’t like, and trust us we are trying, Beans and Berries is still our favorite.
Beans & Berries has locations all around the country. If you read a little bit of Korean you can check out all of the locations on their website.
#4 – Green Tea Bingsu from Okrumong – Seomyeon, Busan
My friend Michael recommends Okrumong in Seomyeon, Busan. While they serve up the traditional patbingsu, they also have a slight twist on the traditional style with a green tea bingsu (녹차빙수). It tastes like frozen green tea! The bingsu here is a bit more expensive for the size at about 9 dollars for green tea bingsu, but it is well worth it!
Check out this blog post for more pictures of Okrumong, their card with contact information, and a map. (It’s in Korean but still useful for those that don’t read Korean.)
#5 – Injeolmi Bingsu (인절미빙수) Chew Rice Cake with Bean Powder Bingsu from Sulbing – Countrywide
And yet another from Sulbing, I couldn’t help it! This one may sound really weird, but let me break it down for you. Injeolmi (인절미) is a kind of dense, chewy rice cake that is covered in a yellow bean powder. This rice cake is common to eat on its own, so they made it into a bingsu! I (Rachel) love traditional Korean flavors, which are often earthy, so this is my all-time favorite bingsu. It’s topped with sliced almonds, and hidden in the bean powder are small pieces of rice cake. If you’re not a big fan of rice cake, the pieces in this bingsu are very small and hardly noticeable. It’s the top-selling bingsu in Korea so I would give it a try at least once!
There you have it! 5 amazing bingsu desserts to try in Korea. They are unique and I think a bit healthier than ice cream. Of course there are so many more varieties of bingsu throughout the country, so leave a comment and tell us about YOUR favorite bingsu! 😀