In Korea, people happily look forward to the return of bingsu (shaved ice dessert) season every summer. While the classics such as patbingsu (shaved ice with red beans) and fruit bingsu remain popular, new bingsu types are released every year, following the current trends. Bingsu can easily be found along the streets at cafés, bakeries and convenience stores. With a street of shops that specialize in bingsu, Korea is indeed bingsu heaven.
Patbingsu is a timeless option, available at almost every shop that sells bingsu, and sometimes the ONLY bingsu item on the menu. However, the red sweet bean paste that goes on top of the ice shaving takes a lot of effort and time to bring out the perfect balance of sweetness and texture. It’s no surprise most popular patbingsu shops make their own sweet red bean paste.
There are several shops in Seoul that make their own sweet red bean paste. Some of the most well-known shops where you can taste authentic handmade patbingsu are hanok cafés Oyattkkot in Ikseon-dong, Dobinggo in Ichon-dong, Homilbat in Sinchon, Boobing and Tongui Dongdanpat in Buam-dong; Geumokdang and Okrumong in Yeonhui-dong.
Namcheon Nokcha Patbingsu was introduced in SBS program “Little Big Masters” for using green tea in their patbingsu. It’s a trending dessert place on social media not only for its delicious bingsu, but also for the store’s relaxing atmosphere. In addition to nokcha bingsu (shaved ice with green tea), they also offer danpat juk (sweet red bean porridge) and coffee. Their main menu items nokcha bingsu and danpat juk cost 4,000 won each, a bargain considering the modern-day market price. Their nokcha bingsu only uses sweet beans and green tea powder, but receives great reviews. You can ask for more green tea powder as much as you want! Enjoy all Busan has to offer at this popular Busan date spot.
Namcheon Nokcha Patbingsu
Maru Patbingsu & Danpat juk is famous for serving traditional style patbingsu in Haeundae, Busan. This place also made several appearances in TV shows. In addition to patbingsu, the shop also serves a variety of snack meals such as tteokbokki, eomuk, twigim, sundae, and roasted injeolmi tteok. Their signature traditional patbingsu uses shaved ice topped with sweet red beans and nuts. The crunchy ice texture creates a perfect combination with the sweet red beans. The sweet bean paste is housemade from local beans that have undergone the aging process for 15 days.
Maru Patbingsu & Danpat juk
At Busan Nampo-dong Binsgu Street, you’ll find seven bingsu vendors selling icy cold bingsu in hot summer days and warm bowls of danpat juk in freezing winter. With vendors boiling and preparing their own beans, the street is a popular destination among tourists seeking tasty desserts at a reasonable price. Nampo-dong Bingsu Street has been in the area since the 1970s, and most vendors continue to serve the old-fashioned bingsu using the same recipe that’s been passed down for years. The recipe uses simple ingredients like milk, syrup, beans, and cocktail fruits, but its simplicity is what earned its reputation for bringing old time memories among Koreans.
Nampo-dong Patbingsu Street
If you enjoy taking pictures and showing off your vacation, then we recommend trying a very special bingsu! Daegu _sweet_and_ serves creative and unique 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.
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 cotton candy. The distinctly different sweet tastes blend in perfect harmony!
If you want to make your patbingsu look really Korean, order the special black sesame patbingsu from JW Marriot Dongdaemun. This bingsu comes topped with a mini Heunginjimun Gate, a designated Treasure also known as Dongdaemun Gate, made out of white chocolate. The addition of the black sesame to the standard red beans makes this bingsu stand out even more.
Ananti Hilton Busan McQueen’s Lounge
JW Marriot Dongdaemun The Lounge
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 a sweet vegan named “Avocado Vegan Bingsu,” made using coconut, avocado, and tofu decorated with a sliced avocado-shaped lime sorbet. They also have mugwort bingsu and Jeju apple mango bingsu.
Grand InterContinental Seoul Parnas
Bingsu desserts are not only offered at bingsu shops, but cafés and coffee houses that dot the streets of Korea that tempt passerby with original bingsu of their own. When it comes to bingsu offered at cafés, diversity is priority. From cake bingsu topped with fruits to single-servings of bingsu, look around to find the bingsu just right for your taste buds!
If you are traveling solo, consider Ediya as your stopover to try their bingsu for one. Ediya offers many bingsu to choose from: pat injeolmi snow bingsu, a bingsu topped with red beans and bean powder; mango passion yogurnola bingsu, a yogurt-based bingsu topped with pieces of mango and passion fruit; and strawberry peach yogurnola bingsu, topped with sweet strawberries and peach.
For a more unique bingsu, stop by A Twosome Place. A Twosome Place coffee shop is popular for presenting a special summer treat that combines two delicious desserts of their expertise – cake and bingsu! Some of their popular bingsu desserts are blueberry cake bingsu, bingsu with blueberries and New York cheesecake; and tiramisu cake bingsu, which uses mascarpone cream and tiramisu cake. They also have regular pat bingsu for those who prefer a more classic dessert.
Bingsu for one
If you’re not up for fancy and expensive bingsu, opt for a bingsu at a convenience store. Recently trending on social media are red melon bingsu and Cebu mango bingsu, both available at convenience stores. These simple bingsu cups consist of gelato ice cream, fruity syrup and ice.
Convenience store bingsu
* This column was last updated in July 2022, and therefore information may differ from what is presented here. We advise you to check details before visiting.