I’m not going to lie – one of my favourite things about Korea is bingsu (빙수).
The key to surviving Korean summer is right here in a jar. Bingsu (shaved milk ice with toppings) is, without a doubt, the most ubiquitous Korean summer treat.
Traditional bingsu, a.k.a Patbingsu, is the shaved ice with a topping of red-beans (adzuki beans).
Nowadays, bingsu has branched out beyond the traditional red-bean topping and many don’t even include the red-beans at all – instead opting for fruit or grain toppings.
Here are my top three tried and tested by yours truly!
1. Blueberry Sulbing (블루베리 팥설빙)
I first visited Sulbing two weeks ago…and in the last three weeks, I’ve been 4 times. That’s almost embarrassing to admit but it’s simply testament to how great this dessert café is.
While I enjoy their other offerings, the blueberry version is undoubtedly my favourite. While the Injeolmi version is really good, this one is just pure heaven in a bowl. I could eat this stuff daily – don’t tempt me!
A frozen condensed milk base topped with a blueberries, a rich blueberry coulis and a scoop of ice cream.
The tangy berries, sweet condensed milk, creamy ice – I was sold at the first bite.
Prices start at 8,000원. Locations across Seoul. http://sulbing.com
2. Honey Bingsu / Berry Bingsu
While I have to admit that I prefer the Sulbing bingsu, the bingsu at the Loung restaurant at the Park Hyatt Seoul is a work of art. Just look at it – it’s beautiful. Almost beautiful enough to make me not want to eat it…almost but not quite!
The honey bingsu was quite exquisite; served with big chunks of natural honeycomb and scoops of vanilla ice cream, topped off with apple puree and roasted pecans.
I absolutely love summer fruits so I really loved the berry bingsu; fresh berries, such as raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, redcurrants and strawberries, along with dark chocolate chunks and crushed pistachios on top, creating a splendid harmony.
If you have a little more to spend, then this place is definitely worth checking out.
Prices start at 36,000원. Park Hyatt Seoul. http://www.seoul.park.hyattrestaurants.com
3. Milk Tea Bingsu
I’ve always been more of a tea drinker so I was thrilled to discover Chloris Tearooms in Gangnam. This beautiful little store offers a diverse selection of teas and even has bingsu too – this makes me happy! (I say little…it’s actually deceptively big!)
Despite having five floors and a roof terrace, the place is nearly always packed.
We ordered the milk bingsu. I had to laugh though – it is bingsu but they have renamed it ‘milk tea snow blossom’….but they spelt it ‘brossom’. What’s is ‘brossom’? If you find out, let me know!
The milk tea bingsu was really delicious and just the right consistency – not too icy, not too watery but spot on. It’s worth bearing in mind that they only offer one kind of bingsu so if you’re not a fan of milk tea you should probably give it a miss!
Prices start at 9,000원. Chloris Tearooms. http://www.cafechloris.co.kr
Do you have a favourite bingsu restaurant? A favourite bingsu flavour?
Let me know in the comments below!