Bingsu is a dessert made with shaved ice and condensed milk. With red beans, the dish is known as “patbingsu.” Both variations are some of the most popular Korean desserts in the summer, because of their varied flavors and abilities to cool you down from the summer heat.
There are many versions of this treat, and with tastes becoming more evolved over the years, bingsu has grown into some highly diverse forms, with additional ingredients such as fruits, chocolate, caramel and more being added. So, grab a spoon as we dig into Busan’s bingsu!
Dynamic Busan magazine offers three places around the city to get your bingsu fix.
Yonghodong Halme Patbingsu
To begin with, we take a trip to Yongho-dong (neighborhood) for a traditional experience. Yonghodong Halme Patbingsu has been home to the more conventional approach to patbingsu since 1983. Shaved ice, red beans and condensed milk are the way to go here. This simple combination is all that’s needed to bring out the natural sweetness of the bean, which is why it is a combination that has endured for so long. The cafe is also located in a lovely part of town, so why not enjoy a pleasant stroll around Igidae once you’re done?
Address: 24 Yongho-ro 90beon-gil, Yongho 1(il)-dong, Nam-gu, Busan
How to get there: Kyungsung Univ. & Pukyong Nat’l Univ. Station (Metro line 2), exit 5. Take buses 20, 22, 24, 27 or 131. Get off at Igidae (이기대입구) stop.
Hours: 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. (summer) and 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. (winter)
Bosung Green Tea Patbingsu
Bosung Green Tea Patbingsu is famous for its design, in addition to its flavors. Walking along a small road clustered with charming homes and shops, you’ll know you’ve stumbled onto Bosung Green Tea Patbingsu when you see a small dessert cafe teeming with vines and plants. Rattan and bamboo provide a cool atmosphere to this outdoor venue in order to accompany the cold ice of the establishment’s shaved-ice dessert.
Bosung Green Tea Patbingsu serves customers with more traditional patbingsu, complete with red beans and green tea powder. What makes the green tea powder special is that it is brought over from Boseong itself, the most famous producer of green tea in the country. One bowl of the dessert costs 3,000 won. You can choose between patbingsu and danpatju, a sweet red bean porridge topped with cinnamon powder
Address: 28, Suyeong-ro 394beon-gil, Suyeong-gu, Busan
How to get there: Namcheon Station (Metro line 2), exit 3. Turn around and take the second right. Go straight for five minutes.
Hours: 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Yeon-Undang is a dessert cafe located in Seomyeon, and it is where you can enjoy a really unique kind of bingsu. The bestsellers on the menu are a tomato bingsu and a matcha (Japanese-style green tea) patbingsu. The tomato bingsu is made with the typical shaved ice, but it is also covered with fresh tomato puree. You are welcome to dress your dessert with more puree if you wish. Matcha patbingsu replaces the tomato puree with rich matcha, whole red beans and fresh cream. The tomato bingsu costs 9,5000 won, and the matcha patbingsu will run you 9,800 won.
Watermelon bingsu, a limited summer item, is also recommended. A small rind of the fruit is used as the bowl, complete with red ice from the watermelon and mouth-watering chocolate, which is designed to imitate the look of the fruit’s seeds. Being a summer choice, don’t be afraid to take a straw to the ice should it melt. Additional fruity summer choices are peach and grape bingsu. Depending on your love for bingsu and on how hungry you are, one order could be big enough for two people.
Address: 62-8, Seojeon-ro 46beon-gil, Busanjin-gu, Busan
How to get there: Jeonpo Station (Metro line 1), exit 7. Take the first left, first right, first left and first right once more.
Hours: Noon to 10 p.m.