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LifestyleFood and Drink
Patbingsu: The slushy summer treatBeans, sweetcorn, tomatoes, corn flakes, nuts and melting ice cream - in one pot
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승인 2013.07.02  14:54:48
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▲ Halla-san bingsu. Photo courtesy of Nilmoridongdong

Summer is here. While in many countries that means parks full of picnickers dining on wine and cheese, cafes spilling onto sidewalks and sunbathers snatching every ray of sunshine, in Korea it signals mass retreat into air-conditioned, shady coffee shops.

Why? To get at the bingsu, of course! This cool, sweet, chewy and crispy dessert is a more-than-adequate summer companion.

This shaved-ice dessert comes in many incarnations, most famous of which is the pat bingsu - “pat” being the red azuki bean that is found in so many Korean sweet treats. But green tea, fruit and all sorts of combinations get the bingsu treatment - although they, too, contain the “pat” in all but name.

While the exact ingredients vary, you can typically expect a layer of shaved ice to be topped by fruit, ice cream, nuts, cereal, candy, and rice cake. The bowl is cavernous and some of these ingredients will remain hidden until some way in.


▲ Pat bingsu. Photo courtesy of Bbabbaragi

Although one swallow doesn’t make a summer, one bingsu certainly does. Whether the first sighting is as a smiling co-teacher walks into the office, arms hugging the ubiquitous plastic container, or when one among your company scoops your arm, drags you down an alley, before entering an inconspicuous doorway for a slurpy treat, the bingsu certainly signals a seasonal change.

Bingsu has a culinary culture of its own - a group of high school kids, heads bowed, going at a bowl from multiple directions can only be described as Serengeti-esque. Whether you should mix first, or chisel away at the edges is also an oft-discussed - and controversial - topic.

The saliva-swapping faint of heart need not attend, as the once-perfectly presented dessert becomes a slosh of slush, being dive bombed by plastic spoons barely clear of voracious tongues and lips. As the dregs are left, only the brave remain - not perturbed by the swilling multicolored creamy concoction.

Like a lion eyeing a wildebeest, you are clearly eager to get stuck in yourself, so here is The Weekly’s guide to some of the best bingsu on Jeju Island.

▲ Nokcha bingsu. Photo courtesy of Cacadew Cafe

Ppapparagi(빠빠라기)

“Pat bingsu” (red bean)

A classic patbingsu popular with high school students, this has five main toppings: fruit, mugwort rice cake, cornflakes, sweetcorn. You can add or remove toppings, choose the ice thickness and opt for redbean refills.

Address: (Gu)1771-17 Ido 2dong, Jeju City: (Shin) 272-19 Yeondong, Jeju City

Contact: 064-722-1888

Cacadew Cafe (카카듀카페)

“Nokcha bingsu” (green tea)

A cult favourite among the Jeju housewives - don’t try to get a seat on a Friday night! - this bingsu is dominated by a mountain of green tea ice cream sprinkled with almonds, rice cake, and red beans. Cookies are complementary.

Address: 1987-1 Ido 2dong, Jeju City

Contact: 064-721-3373

Flove Cafe (플로베카페)

“Hongshi bingsu” (fresh persimmon)

This is a unique persimmon bingsu using sweet and ripe persimmons and a snow-like ice topping on red beans. Dried mandarins are provided post-bingsu.

Address: 573-3 Donamdong, Jeju City

Contact: 064-723-9102

▲ Bokbunja bingsu. Image courtesy of Coffee Meogneun Gonaengi

Nilmoridongdong (¥“모리동동)

“Halla-san bingsu” (Mt. Halla)

This is a unique persimmon bingsu using sweet and ripe persimmons and a snow-like ice topping on red beans. Dried mandarins are provided post-bingsu.

Address: 573-3 Donamdong, Jeju City

Contact: 064-723-9102

Coffee Jaengi (커피쟁이)

“Ssukddeok ssukddeok bingsu” (mugwort rice cake)

This bingsu is chock full of mugwort rice cake - healthy, chewy and delicious! Yogurt ice cream is the creamy addition and red bean and cereal, also.

Address: 1172-3 Ido 2-dong, Jeju City

Contact: 064-900-6700

Coffee Meogneun Gonaengi(커피∏‘는고냉이)

“Bokbunja bingsu” (Korean black raspberry)

Korean black raspberry bingsu is the favorite here. Made with organic fruit, this bingsu is fresh, healthy and sump-tuous.

Address: 212-3 Goseongri Seongsanep, Seogwipo City

Contact: 064-782-1182

Ggumgguneun Hwin Dangnagwi (꿈꾸는흰당나귀)

“Malcha bingsu” (ground green tea)

Malcha is finely ground green tea and this bingsu also includes iced milk. The milk makes the bingsu really soft and the slight bitterness of the green tea harmonizes with the creamy milk. There is also chewy rice cake, cereal and red bean.

Address : 1764-3 Ido 2dong Jeju City

Contact: 064-721-8611

Ggomjirack Kichen (꼼지락키친)

“Wine bingsu” (alcohol-free mulled wine)

Made from red wine boiled with fruits and cinnamon to leave no alcohol trace, both young and old can sample this. It is topped with blueberry and raspberry.

Address : 1st floor, 510 Seogwi-dong, Seogwipo City

Contact: 064-763-0204

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