Travel Highlights

      • Unique Bingsu Available This Summer

        • 07/24/2023


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  • Unique bingsu at Grand InterContinental Seoul Parnas (Credit: Grand InterContinental Seoul Parnas)

    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 are standards, new bingsu types are released every year, like funny bingsu designed to look like jjajangmyeon (noodles in black bean sauce) or bibimbap! With a street of shops that specialize in bingsu, Korea is indeed bingsu heaven.

    >> The original patbingsu

    The original patbingsu

    Patbingsu is a timeless option, available at almost every shop that sells bingsu, and sometimes the ONLY bingsu item on the menu. However, the sweet red bean paste that goes on top of the ice shaving takes a lot of time and effort to bring out the perfect balance of sweetness and texture. It’s no surprise most popular patbingsu shops make their own sweet bean paste.

    # In Seoul

    Dobinggo in Ichon-dong
    • Homilbat in Sinchon
    • Homilbat in Sinchon

    There are several shops in Seoul that make their own sweet red bean paste. One of the most well-known shops where you can taste authentic handmade patbingsu is Dobinggo in Ichon-dong. The patbingsu from Dobinggo sticks to the original as much as possible, limiting the ingredients to ice, condensed milk, sweet red bean, rice cakes, and milk. Homilbat in Sinchon and Geumokdang in Yeonhui-dong also make their own sweet red bean paste.

    • Dobinggo - Main Branch
    • Address: 319, Ichon-dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul (서울특별시 용산구 이촌동 319)
    • Operating hours: 10:30-22:00
    • Price: Patbingsu 8,500

    • Homilbat
    • Address: 43, Sinchonyeok-ro, Seodaemun-gu, Seoul (서울특별시 서대문구 신촌역로 43)
    • Operating hours: 12:00-22:00
    • Price: Milk bingsu 7,900 won

    • Geumokdang
    • Address: 2, Yeonhui-ro 11ra-gil, Seodaemun-gu, Seoul (서울특별시 서대문구 연희로11라길 2)
    • Operating hours: 11:00-21:00
    • Price: Patbingsu 10,000 won

    # In Busan

    • Namcheon Nokcha Patbingsu (Credit: 9suk9suk Travel Leader)
    • Namcheon Nokcha Patbingsu (Credit: 9suk9suk Travel Leader)

    There are many places in Busan famous for their traditional patbingsu. Namcheon Nokcha Patbingsu is one such place, known for their addition of green tea powder. Their patbingsu is extremely cheap, costing only 4,000 won, and they offer unlimited refills of green tea powder. The interior design, featuring wisteria trees, has made the restaurant popular as a photo spot, too.

    Another popular patbingsu café in Busan known for making their own sweet red bean paste is Maru Patbingsu. The crunchy ice texture creates the perfect complement to the sweet red beans. They also sell tteokbokki (spicy stir-fried rice cakes), a surprising but delicious combination!

    • Busan Nampo-dong Patbingsu Alley (Credit: Korea Tourism Organization –Lee Beomsu)
    • Busan Nampo-dong Patbingsu Alley (Credit: Korea Tourism Organization –Lee Beomsu)

    Busan also has a patbingsu alley! Located within the famous Gukje Market, the shops here sell refreshing bingsu on hot summer days and warm bowls of danpat juk in freezing winter. Nampo-dong Patbingsu Alley 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, sweet red beans, and cocktail fruits for a no-frills bingsu, but its simplicity is what earned its reputation for bringing old time memories among Koreans.

    • Namcheon Nokcha Patbingsu
    • Address: 28, Suyeong-ro 394beon-gil, Suyeong-gu, Busan (부산광역시 수영구 수영로 394번길 28)
    • Operating hours: 10:00-22:00
    • Price: Patbingsu 4,000 won

    • Maru Patbingsu & Danpat juk – Main Branch
    • Address: 9, Jungang-daero 179beon-gil, Dong-gu, Busan (부산광역시 동구 중앙대로179번길 9 1층)
    • Operating hours: 11:00-21:30
    • Price: Traditional patbingsu 6,000 won

    • Nampo-dong Patbingsu Alley
    • Address: Sinchang-dong 1-ga, Jung-gu, Busan (부산광역시 중구 신창동 1가)
    • Price: Patbingsu 5,000 won

    >> Unique Bingsu

    # Social media-worthy bingsu

    Jjajangmyeon bingsu (Credit: Instagram @_sweet_and_)

    If you enjoy taking pictures and showing off your vacation, then we recommend trying a very special bingsu! Daegu café _sweet_and_ serves creative and unique jjajangmyeon bingsu, designed to look just like a bowl of jjajangmyeon (noodles in black bean sauce). The white “noodles” are actually ice cream, and the deep red colored red beans represent the sauce.

    Bibim Bingsu from Café Allright

    Don’t let the looks confuse you! This is bibim bingsu, designed to look just like a bowl of bibimbap. The large bowl is filled with frozen milk flakes, and topped with colorful fruits and injeolmi (bean-powder-coated rice cakes). Jelly made to look like a fried egg, and strawberry jam in place of gochujang (red chili paste) completes the image of bibimbap. Mix in as much of the jam, ice cream, and red bean paste as you would like.

    • _sweet_and_
    • Address: 2F, 12-36, Dongseong-ro 2-gil, Jung-gu, Daegu (대구광역시 중구 동성로 2길 12-36 2층)
    • Operating hours: 13:00-21:30
    • Price: Jjajang bingsu 10,000 won

    • Café Allright
    • Address: 2F, 19-12, Pungyeong-ro 101beonan-gil, Gwangsan-gu, Gwangju (광주광역시 광산구 풍영로101번안길 19-12 2층)
    • Operating hours: 11:00-23:00
    • Price: Bibim bingsu 18,000 won

    # Vegan bingsu

    • Pistachio bingsu (Credit: Pan Honesta)
    • Black sesame bingsu (Credit: Pan Honesta)

    New vegan bingsu has come out for vegetarians and vegans who have a sweet tooth. Pan Honesta, a vegan bakery in Itaewon, makes vegan bingsu using oat milk for the ice base. They offer four types of bingsu with different vegan toppings, including black sesame, pistachio, sweet corn, and tiramisu.

    • Pan Honesta – Itaewon Branch
    • Address: 3, Bogwang-ro 55-gil, Yongsan-gu, Seoul (서울특별시 용산구 보광로55길 3)
    • Operating hours: Monday-Friday 12:00-20:00 / Saturday-Sunday 12:00-21:00
    • Price: Vegan bingsu 18,000-20,000 won

    # Luxury hotel bingsu

    Mango bingsu (Credit: The Shilla Hotel) Peach bingsu at Grand InterContinental Seoul Parnas (Credit: Grand InterContinental Seoul Parnas)

    Every summer, even luxury hotels jump on the bingsu train to serve up sweets as luxurious as their rooms. The steep price of the Jeju apple mango bingsu available this year at The Shilla Hotel in Seoul doesn’t stop it from being so popular that there is a waitlist to enjoy it. At Grand InterContinental Seoul Parnas, you can enjoy the beautifully plated peach bingsu. Appearing like a cake, this bingsu features ice cream made from yogurt and peach sauce, and ice flakes made with fresh peach juice. The whole thing is topped with a yogurt mousse-filled peach. Most hotels only offer bingsu for a limited period, so be sure to call in advance.

    • The Shilla Hotel Seoul
    • Address: The Library, 249, Dongho-ro, Jung-gu, Seoul (서울특별시 중구 동호로 249, 더 라이브러리)
    • Operating hours: Bingsu orders accepted 11:00-23:00
    • Price: Apple mango bingsu 98,000 won

    • Grand InterContinental Seoul Parnas
    • Address: Lobby Lounge & Bar, 521, Teheran-ro, Gangnam-gu, Seoul (서울특별시 강남구 테헤란로 521, 로비 라운지 & 바)
    • Operating hours: Bingsu orders accepted 12:00-21:00
    • Price: Peach bingsu 75,000 won

    # Convenience store bingsu

    • Choonsik’s strawberry bingsu
    • Choonsik’s strawberry bingsu

    If you’re not up for fancy and expensive bingsu, opt for a bingsu at a convenience store. The range of available options is wide, from the basic patbingsu to various fruit bingsu, and with lower prices than you can find elsewhere, convenience store bingsu is sure to please everyone. You can also find tasty bingsu made in collaboration with big companies, such as Choonsik’s strawberry bingsu, featuring the popular Kakao Friends character, or Moonhori Patjuk patkal bingsu, a product made with a famous patjuk (red bean porridge) restaurant. No matter what bingsu you try, you’ll feel the summer heat melting away with the first cool and crunchy bite of ice.

    More info

    • 1330 Korea Travel Helpline: +82-2-1330 (Korean, English, Japanese, Chinese, Russian, Vietnamese, Thai, Malay)

    * This column was last updated in July 2023, and therefore information may differ from what is presented here. We advise you to check for updates before visiting.

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