There were MANY, MANY things I knew I wanted to eat once I got to Seoul, South Korea and patbingsu was at the top of my list.
Patbingsu is a Korean shaved ice dessert topped with sweet red beans.
Pat = sweet red beans
Bingsu = shaved ice
I managed to get to six spots in Seoul that specializes in shaved ice and here they are, ranked, from best to eh. The ones I went to barely scratched the surface of all the patbingsu places in Seoul — more the reason to go back again soon!
With about 50 locations in South Korea, Okrumong leads the pack with their snowy soft shaved ice. I got the green tea one (₩9,000) which wasn’t green all the way through, but had layers of milky white shaved ice and more sweet red beans tucked inside. I especially liked the extra touches of brass to all their bowls and spoons. Simply delicious.
On the 5th floor of the Hyundai department store in Apgujeong is Mealtop, a cafe that is known for their shaved ice. Out of all the patbingsu, I liked their sweet red beans the most. The green tea version (₩8,000) was skimpy with the green tea, but the shaved ice was pure snow.
No green tea version at this chain shaved ice cafe so I opted for the black sesame (₩8,000) although the Injeolmi version is their most popular. Nice and fluffy, but I found it to be slightly dry with all the dry ingredients that sat on top of the milk based snow.
Located in Itaewon, this place was a little off the beaten path, but they served simple shaved ice that melted in my mouth. (₩6,000)
5/ Wicked Snow
The green tea shaved ice at this chain was disappointing since the low-grade matcha was just sprinkled over the shaved ice. The ice itself was very good though since it wasn’t just ice, but rather, tasted more like finely shaved milk. (₩7,000)
6/ Tea Story
A cafe, shop, and tea museum in one, I had high hopes for this lovely green tea art form in a bowl. The shaved ice was definitely not as smooth and fine as the others and inside the dome were sweet red beans and whole nuts. WHOLE NUTS = hard to eat. I like my patbingsu to melt with minimal chewing, but the whole nuts gave my jaw a workout. This was also the most expensive at ₩15,000. Total eh.