Dating back to the Joseon Dynasty, bingsu (빙수) has long been a favorite summer treat in Korea. Bingsu is shaved ice that is topped with a variety of ingredients. The classic patbingsu, reminiscent of what court officials ate during the Joseon era, consists of a shaved ice base topped with ingredients such as adzuki beans, rice cakes, and ground nut powder. When visiting South Korea, trying many Bingsu places in Seoul would be best. They are not expensive and are an affordable activity to do in Seoul for those on a budget.
Today, bingsu is a site for creativity and has endless flavors. You can find bingsu flavors ranging from fruity to chocolatey to tomato-y (stay tuned for more information on the tomato bingsu). The variety of flavors makes bingsu a treat that anyone can enjoy. Here are 8 bingsu places in Seoul to try:
On a hot day, you can expect a line of people waiting outside for one of the few seats available at the small bingsu shop in Bukchon, Bubing. While Bubing piles its bingsu up high, you’ll find that the mound quickly disappears as you devour powdery, milky shaved ice. Bubing has the classic patbingsu flavor and corn and black sesame, two trendy flavors in South Korea. If the Bukchon location is too busy, try visiting their Buam-dong location.
Tokyo Bingsu (도쿄빙수)
If you’re an adventurous foodie, Tokyo Bingsu has plenty of unique bingsu flavors to try. While they have more tame flavors like matcha, strawberry mascarpone, and apple mango, they also have tomato bingsu. Tomato is a trendy flavor in South Korea! If you’re brave enough to try, Tokyo Bingsu has multiple locations throughout Seoul that you can easily stop by.
DDAMCOT is a Korean dessert brand that focuses on desserts new and old, according to their Instagram. Among those desserts, of course, is bingsu. At DAMCCOT’s two store locations in Insadong and Seocho-gu, you’ll find bingsu that embraces well-loved flavors in South Korea, such as jujube, green tea, and Jeju tangerines. If you can’t get enough of DAMCCOT’s bingsu, they are currently collaborating with ice cream brand Nàtuur to offer “Snow Flower with Red Bean” ice cream pints.
If you need a fruit fix, Binghagi is the place to go. One of their most popular bingsu flavors is fruit bingsu, which uses a mix of seasonally available fruit. Binghagi, aptly translates to “ice age,” has other flavors such as Oreo, Cheese, and Peach. Binghagi is a great option for those who want to spend a day cafe-hopping as it’s located in the trendy and artsy Mangwon neighborhood.
Bing Bing Bing (빙빙빙)
One of the best things to do in Seoul is to go to Bing Bing Bing, which is perfect for those flying solo because they offer single servings for all their bingsu flavors. Located in Gangnam, this bingsu shop is a great place to recharge during a shopping spree. They even have an espresso flavor bingsu if you need a kick of caffeine to continue your shopping adventures.
Don’t be confused when you order bingsu at Tiravento and receive what looks like a skein of thread with beans and ice cream on the side. The Itaewon cafe’s bingsu is known for resembling Kkultarae (꿀타래), commonly called Dragon’s beard candy in English. The visual illusion of the bingsu adds another layer of fun to the icy treat.
Samcheong Bingsu (삼청빙수)
Housed in a hanok-style building in Bukchon, Samcheong Bingsu offers a variety of bingsu flavors to try. They have classic patbingsu and fruit flavors like mango and strawberry. Served in Korean brassware, the bingsu at Samcheong Bingsu is perfect for those with a sweet tooth because their shaved ice is sweet, like condensed milk. Our recommendation is to try the grapefruit bingsu. It’s gorgeous and refreshing and delicious on a hot day.
Just outside of Seoul’s city center is Suyeonsanbang, a tea house famous for its sweet pumpkin bingsu. Not only is it famous for the bingsu, Suyeonsanbang has a special place in Korean literary history. The house was formerly the home of the famous Korean writer Lee Tae-jun (이태준) from 1933 to 1946 and is a designated Seoul City Folk Material. Suyeonsanbang has been a tea house since 1998. Here you can eat bingsu and drink a selection of teas while enjoying tranquility at the foot of Bukhansan (북한산).