In Korea, people happily look forward to the return of bingsu season every summer. While the classics such as pat bingsu (shaved ice with sweet red bean) and fruit bingsu remain popular, new bingsu types are released every year, following the current trends. For 2021, these trends include vegan bingsu to photogenic bingsu, and even single-serving bingsu, all catered to the current MZ generation. We’ve done the research for you and picked out some of the most unique bingsu to try out this summer!
While most bingsu is large enough to share with friends, you can also enjoy your own individual bingsu. They come in a variety of flavors, and with the smaller serving size, you can try them all!
The easiest place to find single-serving bingsu is at convenience stores throughout Korea. GS21 in particular first released their single-serving bingsu last year, and has added a premium red melon bingsu this year. This decadent dessert provides the perfect blend of red melon syrup, sweet vanilla cream, and crunchy ice flakes.
Many café franchises also offer single-serving bingsu. Ediya is known for their sweet red bean and injeolmi tteok (rice cakes coated in powdered soybean) bingsu, as well as their mango yogurt bingsu. If you’re looking to try a wider range of flavors, check out the Ogada cup bingsu series, which includes green tea, mugwort crumble, strawberry, pumpkin, mango, and more.
Bingsu for one
Pat bingsu is a timeless option, available at almost every shop that sells bingsu, and sometimes the ONLY bingsu item on the menu.
Special for this year, the ice cream store Baskin-Robbins has created the bingsu exclusive brand Mealtop with the release of the Mealtop pat bingsu. This simple dessert of sweet red beans, injeolmi tteok, and soft-serve ice cream is a beautiful presentation of the classic.
For a tasty treat the whole family will love, try the milk bar pat bingsu available at A Twosome Place. It has all the standard toppings adults like and kids especially love the addition of the milk bar.
If you want to make your pat bingsu look really Korean, order the special black sesame pat bingsu from JW Marriot Dongdaemun. This bingsu comes topped with a mini Heunginjimun Gate, the designated Treasure also known as Dongdaemun Gate, made out of white chocolate. The addition of the black sesame to the standard red beans also makes this bingsu stand out.
Classic pat bingsu
If you enjoy taking pictures and showing off your vacation, then we recommend trying very special bingsu! At Café Eert, they released a lotus leaf bingsu for 2021, served in a real lotus leaf! The bingsu uses ice flakes made with a base of brewed tea leaves mixed with condensed milk, and is topped with crushed almonds for a nutty flavor. Thanks to the waterproof properties of lotus leaves, the bingsu stays cold for a long time, allowing you to take all the pictures you want before slowly savoring the flavors.
For funny pictures, there is also the jajangmyeon bingsu, designed to look just like a bowl of jajangmyeon (noodles in black bean sauce). The white “noodles” are actually ice cream, and the deep red colored red beans represent the sauce. You can also order the Jjamjamyeon, looking like a set meal of jjamppong (spicy seafood noodle soup) and jajangmyeon. For this dish, you can choose two flavors from among red beans, chocolate, and strawberry.
This year’s mango bingsu from Ananti Hilton Busan uses bright colored ingredients to make a vibrant bingsu popular on social media. The soft shaved ice is topped with cool cubes of apple mango, and then finished off with a cloud of pink cotton candy. The distinctly different sweet tastes blend in perfect harmony!
Social media-worthy bingsu
Most bingsu comes with ice cream made using cow milk, making it off-limits to vegans. To allow all to enjoy this sweet dessert, Grand InterContinental Seoul Parnas has created the sweet vegan bingsu, made using almond milk and topped with healthy foods like prunes, dates, granola, and lime sorbet. Just one spoonful and you’ll realize that healthy can be pretty sweet, too!
* This column was last updated in August 2021, and therefore information may differ from what is presented here. We advise you to check details before visiting.