As the summer begins to roll in, there’s nothing more refreshing than a bowl of bingsu – Korean shaved ice. 

Picture it like this: a mound of delicately shaven shard of cool ice, topped with almost any flavour you would like. Patbingsu is a treat that is, in essence, very simple but it packs a punch in terms of both flavour and texture. 

This is a treat that provides a satisfying crunch and then melts on your tongue. Bingsu means shaved ice. One of the most popular and traditional toppings is sweet red bean (making the ‘pat’ in patbingsu) although what’s so attractive for this dish is that the opportunities really are endless. 

Patbingsu has been around for a long time in Korean cuisine, dating back to the early Joseon era (medieval times from a Western perspective) where crushed ice was topped with fruits. In recent years, the treat has been making a global expansion. Bingsu stores are popping up all over, so it’s likely that you can get yourself a bowl even if you don’t have an ice shaving machine!

A lot of modern bingsu recipes stray from tradition, with no red bean paste to be seen.

To make your own crushed ice: 

  • Shave ice with an ice shaver or very carefully use one of the following method: crush ice cubes in a bag with something heavy like a rolling pin, or place ice cubes in a blender and pulse three-to-five times to get the desired crushed consistency 

You can top your bingsu with: 

  • Sweet red beans  
  • Sliced or cubed fruits 
  • Ice cream 
  • Condensed milk 
  • Whipped cream 
  • Nuts 
  • Sweet tea 
  • Mochi 
  • Chocolate shards 
  • Any other dessert toppings you can think of 

Bask in this summer treat that can be tailored to your tastes exactly, there are not many desserts that can do what bingsu can!


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