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Patbingsu – Korean shaved ice with sweet red beans

Patbingsu - Korean shaved ice with sweet red beans

Sanne: When Ella and I were visiting Jeonju Hanok village, we sat down for a refreshing bingsu treat at Cafe Dal, a cute little cafe in the heart of the historical village.

Bingsu is a Korean shaved ice dessert that comes in different flavors and has the most delightful, fluffy texture. The traditional version, known as “Patbingsu,” has a base of finely shaved ice, which is then topped with sweetened red beans and chewy rice cakes. This dessert has been enjoyed in Korea for centuries, dating back to the Joseon Dynasty, and it is still a very popular dessert. Bingsu was originally made with natural ice, but nowadays, the ice is typically mixed with condensed milk.
In Korea, patbingsu is enjoyed throughout the year, especially during the hot summer months. It’s a refreshing and cooling treat that helps combat the sweltering heat. However, there are no specific special occasions tied exclusively to patbingsu. Instead, it is commonly consumed as a dessert after a meal or as a sweet indulgence during casual outings with friends and family.

So, what does bingsu actually taste like? Well, imagine the fluffiest snowflake you’ve ever caught on your tongue, mixed with the sweetness of the beans and a touch of creaminess from the condensed milk. Today, bingsu machines are super high-tech, and the shaved ice used for bingsu is very finely grated and you won’t find any hard crystals in the fluffy bingsu “snow”.

The patbingsu we had at Dal was topped with a generous amount of chewy rice cake, which I really like. I haven’t always been a fan of sweetened red beans, which is a very popular ingredient in desserts in Korea and Japan, but it is something that I’ve learned to like, and today, I really enjoy the sweet, slightly nutty flavor, and the marzipan-like texture.

The bingsu was served in metal bowls, which Ella explained had the function of keeping the bingsu cool for longer. The owner at the place was really friendly and came over to talk, and when he heard I was from Denmark, there was no way around it, of course we needed to take a selfie:)


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