It’s summer again! And although I’m not a huge fan of the heat or the hair frizzing humidity, I do enjoy all the delicious summer food options. Bingsu (빙수) is probably my biggest must have dessert when summer rolls around. Back in 2014 I started a list of some of the best bingsu I had had ever had, so this year I thought I’d tack on a few more refreshing options.
생 카라멜 눈꽃빙수 (Fresh Caramel Snow Flower Bingsu)
Maman Gâteau (마망갸또)
마포구 잔다리로3안길 24
Maman Gâteau is a baking academy and cafe that specializes in caramel. Their 생 카라멜 눈꽃빙수 is the crown jewel of their summer menu. It consists of an oversized mug of soft, yet crunchy caramel infused shaved ice, topped with a scoop of handmade caramel gelato and garnished with crushed pistachios and a shard of peanut brittle. The inside has a delightful secret stash of macadamia nuts, walnuts, pecans and caramelized almonds. It also comes with a side of freshly made caramels and an extra shot of caramel syrup for your pouring pleasure. I was surprised to find the overall taste far less sweeter than I had originally expected. Though not at all bland, I’d say each ingredient had a certain level of sweetness that works perfectly when mixed together. I particularly enjoyed the insanely soft and gooey caramels that came on the side, they are definitely not to be missed. The bingsu itself comes in two sizes, but only the “double” comes with all the extra perks. I’m more of a go hard or go home kinda gal and I was not disappointed.
Panna Cotta Cafe Bingsu (파나코타 카페 빙수)
Rusted Iron in DUMBO
성동구 왕십리로14길 30-1
Rusted Iron in DUMBO has a solid selection of bingsu. Of their 5 options, one stood out the most, the Panna Cotta Cafe Bingsoo (10,500). This bingsu comes served in a large vintage looking mason jar. It’s filled with soft snow-like shavings of milk, layered with a pile of coffee ice cream with chewy brownie pieces, doused in a special espresso sauce, topped with a sliced yellow blossom of rice cake (두텁떡) and garnished with a Rusted Iron chocolate logo. It comes served with a side of sweet homemade red beans and homemade cafe panna cotta, to mix in or eat on the side. The bingsu itself leans more to the espresso flavour, but with a bit of red beans, it has more of a latte taste. It’s every coffee lover’s summer fantasy. I know I get cravings for it every summer. So whether you like your coffee sweet or strong, this bingsu definitely let’s you have it your way.
Jajang Bingsu (간짜장빙수)
Cafe Oz (카페오즈)
인천광역시 중구 동화마을길 21-19
8,900 —> ₩13,900
Cafe Oz brings all the whimsy of childhood to life with their Wizard of Oz/ One Piece themed interior. Not the most likely of pairings, but it somehow all comes together under the umbrella of a “kidult” cafe. Of all the things on their menu, their unique jajang bingsu is one of the most interesting I’ve had the pleasure of trying. Made to resemble a cafeteria school lunch, rest assured there are no actual noodles or black bean paste in this dessert. Rather, the base consists of soft coconut-like ice shavings topped with a heaping pile of vanilla soft serve “noodle” ice cream. The “black bean paste” on top is made of either red bean or a fudge and oreo crumble mixture, depending on your preference. And it’s garnished with a few candy “vegetables.” It comes with various fruits to eat with it on the side and syringes filled with condensed milk, strawberry syrup and chocolate fudge for your drizzling pleasure. It’s a pretty basic bingsu, but it’s lots of fun to eat. I really like the soft serve that they use, it really compliments the flavour of the fruits and oreo mix. It used to be a bit cheaper, but they added more fruits and increased the portion size a bit.