The sweltering summer heat has arrived in full force, leaving people exhausted, sweaty and uncomfortable, even the healthiest people. During those summer days, a cool, sweet and refreshing treat may offer some relief. Bingsu is a popular Korean treat to enjoy when it is burning hot outside.
WHAT MAKES BINGSU IMPRESSIVE?
Bingsu or Patbingsu is a traditional Korean dessert which is rich in both flavour, colour and style. There is a lot of innovative variations of Bingsu. Surprisingly, the earliest form of Bingsu existed during the Joseon Dynasty (1392–1910) and was originally a creative version of traditional red bean porridge made to counteract the sweltering summer heat. There was no refrigerator or ice cream at that time, so a cool combination of crushed ice and red beans created the perfect summer dish and became widely popular amongst street vendors.
Over time, Bingsu has become a famous Korean sweetened dish. There is an amazing variety of ice shavings with fantastic flavours and Instagram-worthy presentation. Interestingly, there is no common recipe for this refreshing dessert. Compared to other sweet dishes, Bingsu is more complicated as it is made of shaved ice, condensed milk, syrup and various different toppings including chopped fruits, biscuits, sweets, jellies and chewy bubbles. These variations and customisations have made a big difference to Bingsu and its uniqueness amongst other global dishes. This tasty Korean dessert has gradually gained popularity in many neighbouring countries such as Taiwan, Thailand and China with their own recipes.
As summer rolls around the corner, there is nothing more wonderful than eating a big bowl of Bingsu to stave off the heat. On first seeing this unique Korean treat, you will notice the snow-like mounds of decorative Bingsu with red, yellow, blue, pink or purple and the somewhat spellbinding swirls. Each colour has its own flavour. Korean shaved ice is perfectly smooth with a sweet milky flavour that immediately melts in your mouth.
After a bowl of ice shavings, you will feel refreshed thanks to a delicious mélange of assorted toppings. Due to a wide range of easy-to-find local ingredients and the talented chef’s creations, Bingsu has truly become a summer delight. In particular, people often think that this sweet dish has no health benefits, but Bingsu is packed with fruits like melon, mangoes, strawberries and kiwi which contain vitamins and essential nutrients.
AN EXTRAORDINARY VARIETY OF ICE SHAVINGS
This Korean treat intrigues foodies with its customisation and innovative recipes. With an abundant combination of fascinating ingredients, the dish has become more and more popular, making it a signature treat during summer. If you are looking for a new culinary experience while simultaneously staying cool, check out these most-favoured Bingsu flavours.
AN ICY TREAT OF CLASSIC KOREAN BINGSU
If you want to fully appreciate the authentic taste of traditional ice shavings, then red-bean shaved ice will satisfy your gourmet needs. According to its original style, Bingsu is simply made of shaved ice topped with sweetened red bean porridge and condensed milk to make a truly delectable dish. From its humble beginnings, Bingsu has been embellished by adding misutgaru (roasted rice and grain powder) or chewy rice cake pieces. Despite such flavourful deliciousness, red-bean shaved ice has always been the preferred Bingsu flavour amongst Korean people.
FRESH FRUIT BINGSU FOR THE SUMMER DAYS
The refreshing flavour and nutritious value of fruit make a favourable summertime food. A cup of icy fruit bingsu will definitely tantalise your tastebuds. There are many different fruit options with a cup of ice shavings such as mango, melon, kiwi and strawberry, depending on your preference. The sweet dessert not only helps to cool you down but also provides a lot of vitamins. The shaved ice, fruits, syrup and honey add an authentic sweet touch to stave off the sweltering heat on summer days.
DREAMY GREEN TEA-FLAVOURED BINGSU
Far from the traditional ice shavings, the green tea flavour is an excellent combination of Korean and Japanese cuisine. Green tea is a staple food that can be found practically everywhere from sweets, cakes and even savoury food. The striking greenness of matcha ice shavings garnished with red bean paste create a sense of heavenly deliciousness for everyone. Turn your green tea Bingsu into a culinary masterpiece with a creative concoction of fluffy matcha ice cream and chunks of melon, topped with fragrant tea powder.
A RICE CAKE BINGSU FUSION
As a particularly popular Korean food, Tokbokki is widely used in many dishes, including Bingsu. When it comes to trying this sweetened snack, patbingsu-tteok is always a must. No Bingsu tour would be complete without savouring the smooth shaved ice and soft chewy rice cakes served with soya bean powder, almond and milk. Patbingsu-tteok may not be as sweet as the traditional red-bean Bingsu or not as refreshing as fruit shaved ice, but the diced rice cakes buried in the white ice shavings topped with soya bean powder offer an exhilarating culinary experience in summer.
If you are an avid fan of cheese, you will have the opportunity to enjoy its savoury tasty in a very different way – cheese Bingsu. This cool shaved ice dish is covered with a layer of grated cheese served with almonds and condensed milk to create a popular Korean dessert. If you have tried all kinds of basic shaved ice, cheese Bingsu will be a treat for the tastebuds.
In addition to an amazing variety of famous Bingsu flavours around the world, there are lots of exotic variations and customisations available for this cool and refreshing dessert. Many people have fallen head over heels with its healthy sweetness, icy coolness and eye-catching decoration. You will be surprised to see a vast array of unique ice shavings, for instance, ice shaped into puppies, beaches or melons. As summer ramps up in July, treat yourself to a bowl of ice shavings with your friends and enjoy the sweetness and coolness of different flavours whilst beating the heat and making plans for your next trip.
Le Ha | Wanderlust Tips