Bingsu Sweet Summertime Desert. So Cold It’s Cool
A popular summertime dessert in Korea, Bingsu, shaved ice traditionally topped with red beans and drizzled with milk, gets fancy with endless varieties of toppings and presentations.
At the forefront of bingsu’s eye-catching makeover are five-star hotels that spare no expense in developing more decadent shaved-ice variations each summer. At the height of indulgence, a bowl of bingsu for two can cost as much as 90,000 won ($69) at hotels, while more humble varieties served at cafes typically cost around 8,000 won.
For those who do not want to splurge, there is cup bingsu for one, usually priced at around 2,500 won and sold at most convenience stores. Milk poured on top will vastly improve the taste of cup bingsu, giving it a smooth and milky texture as the shaved ice melts.
Ready to check out all the bingsu you can try? It varies widely in toppings and presentation and price making our mouth water.
Taegeukdang: Classic patbingsu
Taegeukdangis one of the oldest bakeries in Korea that dates back to 1946, a year after the country’s liberation from Japanese colonial rule.
The traditional patbingsu here is made of roughly-ground ice, rather than the micro-fine type, and is topped with red beans, injeolmi, or rice cake, sweetened condensed milk, canned fruit and colorful jelly.
Most people prefer stirring patbingsu to mix the ice with the toppings, but those who want to enjoy them separately can dig into the bowl straight away.
Maison De La Categorie: Sweet corn bingsu
Maison De La Categorie is a French fine dining restaurant famous for its delicate desserts, including its signature sweet corn bingsu.
The dessert is also called chodang bingsu by frequenters, after a type of corn, is grown mainly on Jeju Island and South Jeolla Province, today. The bingsu is served with corn sauce and ice cream, topped with salted caramel popcorn, all using organic chodang oksusu as their main ingredient.
Grand InterContinental Seoul: Vegan avocado bingsu
For vegans reluctant to try out bingsu due to most of them using ice cream and milk, Grand InterContinental Seoul Parnas offers something for you.
The hotel has been a pioneer of vegan bingsu for the past few years. This year‘s newly launched Avocado Vegan Bingsu is made with coconut ice, prunes, tofu, granola, lime sorbet and slices of creamy avocado gently laid on top.
This is enjoyed not only by vegans, but also millennials and Generation Z, who look for “healthy pleasures.” They are delighted with the vegan bingsu, according to Kim Dong-woo, chef patissier at the Grand InterContinental Seoul Parnas.
Four Seasons Hotel Seoul: Chocolate profiterole bingsu and more
Four Seasons Hotel, located in Gwanghwamun, has made playful and delicious twists on bingsu. The hotel has launched three additional items for this summer that use Korean ingredients but also reflect familiar desserts from around the world. The three are available for a month in rotation.
The basil panna cotta bingsu, sold throughout July, is made of blueberries, granola and basil yogurt sorbet atop panna cotta, a popular Italian pudding. In August, Earl Grey financier bingsu brings traditional French almond cake with shaved ice and orange and Earl Grey ice cream.
Chocolate profiterole bingsu will be introduced in September. It will be a sweet and salty delight, with vanilla pudding, cocoa nibs, nougatine and Maldon sea salt.