On a hot summers day we typically go on the prowl for ice-cream, a thirst-quenching drink, or a nice brewski (as my dad likes to call it), but in Korea we have another option for cooling down our bodies; and it’s called Bingsu.
Patbingsu (팥빙수) is a Korean dessert consisting of shaved ice, condensed milk, red beans (traditionally), and other tasty toppings. The ‘팥’, or ‘Pat’, literally means red bean, but nowadays there are different variations of the dessert that don’t include them. I personally love red bean, but I have many friends who absolutely hate the oddly sweet flavour, and make many efforts to avoid it altogether.
Jonny and I have tried bingsu at different cafe’s in Korea, but our favourite place to go for this beloved dessert is at ‘Sul Bingsu Korean Dessert Cafe’. There are several locations that we are aware of in Jeonju, but we typically go to the nearest one to our home in Shinsegae (신세계). It is very close to the Provincial Building, Burger King, and Monster Hambagu.
So why this place above all others? Well, based on our bingsu eating experience, many other cafes or dessert shops don’t quite shave their ice as fine as they do here. Traditional bingsu’s shaved ice is similar to the ice you’d eat in a snow cone. It is crunchier, harder, and rougher. The shaved ice at Sul Bingsu is very much the texture and feel of snow. It is smooth, powdery, and melts in your mouth!
There are also plenty of flavours to choose from such as mango cheesecake, blueberry cheesecake, coffee caramel, strawberry, brownie chocolate, and of course the tried and true original Patbingsu. Our personal favourite is the coffee caramel.
It has granola, almonds, red bean hidden beneath the shaved ice, and is topped with caramel ice cream! They serve it with two small containers, one with condensed milk and the other with coffee that you pour all over the desert. The condensed milk is a must as it soaks into the shaved ice giving it a creamy, sweet taste. Any coffee lover will enjoy this tasty treat!
The cafe is situated on the second floor of the same building as Monster Hambagu and a BBQ restaurant. The atmosphere is very cafe meets clean cafeteria with an array of tables, small booth style seating, and some bar style seats facing a window. I prefer the view into the little park from this cafe over the actual cafe atmosphere itself, but that’s just because I prefer a warmer more intimate setting.
Sul Bingsu is open everyday from 12:30 p.m. until 11:00 p.m. on weekdays and closes an hour earlier on the weekend. So, whether you wanna indulge in a tasty treat for lunch or dinner, you’ve got an excellent option open!
Prices for a bingsu dessert range from 8,000 won to 10,000 (roughly $9.00-$11.00) won which may seem kind of steep, but did I mention that they are HUGE!? One is meant to be shared and the perfect ratio for me is 2:1, however it can also make a nice size for 3 people per. bingsu.
Helpful Hint: Ask for a side of condensed milk if your desert doesn’t come with one or if you just want MORE!
I hope this blog post has been helpful and that you get the chance to try this amazing dessert that Korea has to offer!
Below is a map with the location of Sul Bingsu Dessert Cafe in Shinshegae, Jeonju.
I give this place 4/4 hearts for taste, quality, price, and atmosphere. Overall, this is a place I would recommend to anyone who enjoys ice cream, fruit, chocolate, and anything sweet and refreshing! Hey Badaboom bada Bingsu!