Regarding beating the summer heat in Seoul, nothing compares to indulging in the delightful icy treat called bingsu – a Korean shaved-ice dessert. As temperatures rise and the sun shines brightly, locals and visitors seek solace in this beloved Korean dessert’s cool and refreshing flavors. In this article, we embark on a mouthwatering expedition, delving into the top 10 bingsu spots in Seoul. Check it out!
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What is Bingsu?
Bingsu, or patbingsu (shaved ice with red bean), is a beloved Korean dessert that has gained worldwide popularity for its delightful combination of flavors and textures. This refreshing treat features a base of finely shaved ice, generously topped with various ingredients. The origins of bingsu can be traced back to the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910), where it was initially enjoyed as a simple dish of shaved ice topped with sweetened red beans, known as pat. Over time, bingsu has evolved to include a wide range of toppings and flavors, reflecting the creativity and innovation of contemporary dessert culture.
Bingsu has taken on a more contemporary persona today, embracing many creative and unconventional flavors. From vibrant and juicy fruits like mango, strawberry, and watermelon to decadent indulgences like chocolate, coffee, and matcha, bingsu has become a canvas for playful experimentation. Fresh fruit slices, flavored syrups, and even scoops of ice cream have become popular embellishments, allowing for endless flavor combinations that cater to individual preferences.
Optional toppings such as chewy rice cakes, crunchy nuts, and a drizzle of condensed milk enhance the overall experience, adding layers of texture and flavor. Here are the 10 best bingsu spots in Seoul you have to visit.
This is a popular bingsu chain that has gained widespread recognition for its high-quality desserts. With over 490 retail stores across the country as of 2014, Sulbing has become a go-to destination for bingsu enthusiasts. Their signature flavors include Red Bean Injeolmi, Injeolmi, Oreo Monster, Mango Cheese, Green Tea Chocolate, and Strawberry. Each bingsu creation is carefully crafted, ensuring a delightful combination of flavors and textures.
Moreover, Sulbing introduces seasonal menus, such as the refreshing Mango Cheese Sulbing or the delightful Melon sulbing, which are only available during specific times of the year. These seasonal treats add an element of anticipation and make the experience even more special. In addition to their bingsu offerings, Sulbing serves various delectable desserts, including cakes, pizzas, macarons, tarts, and various pastries.
Some famous branches in Seoul:
- Hongdae: 15 Hongik-ro 6-gil, Mapo-gu, Seoul
- Myeongdong: 27 Myeongdong 3-gil, Jung-gu, Seoul
- Jongno: 2 3 층, 74 종로, Jongno-gu, Seoul
Samcheong Bingsu (삼청 빙수)
Nestled in the heart of the charming neighborhood of Bukchon, Samcheong Bingsu is a delightful bingsu spot that captures the essence of traditional Korean charm with its hanok-style setting.
The bingsu here is characterized by its finely shaved ice, which gives it an incredibly light and fluffy texture. Topped with traditional ingredients like sweetened red beans, black sesame, fruit, and nuts, Samcheong Bingsu presents a delightful balance of flavors. But the flavor that we highly recommended is the “Grapefruit Bingsu.” Bursting with tangy and refreshing notes, this unique twist on the classic dessert is a delightful surprise for your palate. The finely shaved milk ice forms the foundation, generously adorned with juicy grapefruit segments, creating a perfect balance of sweetness and tartness.
- Address: 84-1 Samcheong-ro, 삼청동 Jongno-gu, Seoul
- Open hours: 12:00 – 19:00 from Monday to Thursday | 12:00 – 22:00 from Friday to Sunday
- Phone: +82 2-720-8233
Bukhae Bingsu (북해 빙수)
For a cozy and traditional bingsu experience, head over to Bukhae Bingsu. This charming café transports you to a bygone era with its nostalgic ambiance. They offer a variety of flavors, including original, coffee, Oreo, cheese, and strawberry, each priced at 8,000 Won (~6 USD). What sets Bukhae Bingsu apart is its unique presentation style. Instead of mixing the red bean with the shaved ice, they serve it on the side, allowing you to customize the balance of flavors according to your liking. We highly recommend trying their Oreo and cheese flavors. It’s like a unique twist to the traditional bingsu.
- Address: 28 Dasan-ro 47-gil, Heungin-dong, Jung-gu, Seoul
- Open hours: 12PM-8AM Sunday to Thursday | 12PM-9PM on Friday | Closed on Saturday
- Phone: +82 2-2235-1005
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Maison de la Catégorie
Maison de la Catégorie, a French-inspired café, is a hidden gem among Seoul’s bingsu spots. Despite its origins in French cuisine, Maison de la Catégorie has a reputation for serving exceptional bingsu desserts. With its charming cat-themed décor and cozy ambiance, this café offers a delightful escape from the bustling city.
Among the various flavors, two options stand out as crowd favorites: Corn Bingsu and Peach Bingsu. The Corn Bingsu boasts a unique twist, combining the sweetness of shaved ice with the natural flavors of corn. It’s a harmonious blend that creates a refreshing and satisfying treat. On the other hand, the Peach Bingsu showcases the juiciness and delicate aroma of ripe peaches. With every spoonful, you’ll taste the essence of summer, making it a highly recommended choice for fruit lovers.
- Address: 826 Seolleung-ro, Gangnam-gu, Seoul
- Open hours: 11:30 AM – 3 PM and 5:30 PM – 8:30 PM from Wednesday to Sunday | Closed on Monday
- Phone: +82 2-545-6640
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Korean Cooking Class in Seoul$65.00
Korean Cooking Class in Busan$64.30
Korean Traditional Dessert Cooking Class in Seoul$41.25
Korean Cooking Class with Local Market Tour in Seoul$47.55
Tokyo Bingsu (도쿄 빙수)
This cozy café offers a unique twist on the traditional Korean dessert, making it a must-visit for bingsu enthusiasts and Japanophiles alike. The décor is inspired by the vibrant streets of Tokyo, with colorful lanterns and Japanese artwork adorning the walls. The café’s attention to detail creates an immersive experience that transports you to the bustling metropolis of Tokyo.
Here, you can expect bingsu infused with Japanese ingredients like matcha, azuki beans, and mochi. However, there is a unique creation that you absolutely must try: Tomato Bingsu! Yes, you read that right. Tomatoes may not be the first ingredient that comes to mind when you think of bingsu, but Tokyo Bingsu has ingeniously incorporated this unexpected flavor into its menu. They take this unlikely pairing and transform it into a delightful dessert experience. The Tomato Bingsu combines the natural sweetness of tomatoes with a touch of sugar, resulting in a surprising and delicious treat that is both refreshing and intriguing. It’s an absolute must-try for those seeking a bingsu adventure.
- Address: 9 Poeun-ro 8-gil, Mangwon-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul
- Open hours: 12 PM – 10 PM Tuesday to Sunday | Closed on Monday
- Phone: +82 2-6409-5692
- Price range: 9,800 – 12,000 Won (7.5 – 9 USD)
Tucked away in a quiet neighborhood, Singil-areum is a hidden gem among Seoul’s bingsu spots. This cozy cafe offers a peaceful retreat from the bustling city. What sets Singil-areum apart is its commitment to using organic and natural ingredients in its bingsu. The use of high-quality components ensures a healthier and guilt-free indulgence.
At Singil-areum, you can expect to indulge in various bingsu flavors that cater to different tastes and preferences. Their menu boasts diverse bingsu options, ranging from traditional flavors like patbingsu (red bean bingsu) to innovative combinations that incorporate fresh fruits, chocolates, matcha, and more. Whether you’re a fan of classic bingsu or looking for a creative twist, Singil-areum offers something to satisfy every sweet tooth.
- Address: 1 2층, 39-gil Singil-ro, Singil-dong, Yeongdeungpo-gu, Seoul
- Open hours: 11:00 – 22:00 daily
- Phone: +82 70-4120-1234
Located in the vibrant Insadong neighborhood of Seoul, Okrumong has become a go-to spot for locals and tourists alike, with their most renowned creation being the classic red bean bingsu.
At Okrumong, their red bean bingsu takes center stage, captivating the hearts and palates of dessert enthusiasts. This iconic dessert begins with a foundation of finely shaved ice with an irresistibly light and fluffy texture. The ice serves as a canvas for a generous topping of sweet red bean paste, which adds a delightful sweetness and depth of flavor to every spoonful. The combination of the chilly ice and the velvety red bean paste creates a refreshing and comforting experience that is adored by many.
- Address: 18 Yeondaedongmun-gil, Seodaemun-gu, Seoul
- Open hours: 11:30 – 21:30 daily
- Phone: +82 2-312-0012
Situated in a quaint corner of the city, Homilbat offers a cozy and inviting atmosphere. One standout feature of Homilbat is their commitment to serving every bingsu with a generous portion of red beans. Regardless of the flavor you choose, be it Coffee, Milk, Strawberry, Mango, or any other enticing option, you can expect a delightful serving of red beans adorning the finely shaved ice. The addition of these velvety and slightly sweet red beans adds a delightful texture and a touch of natural sweetness to each spoonful, elevating the bingsu experience to new heights.
Among the array of flavors offered at Homilbat, their Matcha Bingsu steals the spotlight as a best-seller and a beloved choice among patrons. This masterpiece features finely shaved ice infused with premium matcha powder, creating a smooth and creamy base. It’s absolutely worth a try!
- Address: 4-77 Changcheon-dong, Seodaemun-gu, Seoul
- Open hours: 12:00 – 22:00 daily
- Phone: +82 2-392-5345
- Price range: 7,500 – 10,000 Won (5.7 – 7.6 USD)
If you’re seeking a unique bingsu adventure that goes beyond the ordinary, this café in Noksapyeong is the place to be. This delightful café has introduced a one-of-a-kind bingsu experience with its signature creation—the Shiltarae Bingsu, inspired by a beloved Korean noodle dish. Imagine delicate, finely shaved ice that effortlessly melts in your mouth, akin to the smoothness of butter. The flavors are simply divine—a harmonious blend of sweetness and creaminess that will have you craving each and every spoonful.
- Address: 77-6 Noksapyeong-daero 26-gil, Yongsan-gu, Seoul
- Open hours: 12:00 – 19:00 on Monday, Saturday and Sunday | Closed on the remain days
- Phone: +82 2-790-8194
Dang-Go House (당고집)
At Dangojib, their specialty is Dango—soft rice cakes generously coated in a delightful sweet sauce. The perfect balance of chewiness and sweetness will leave your taste buds dancing with joy. But that’s not all! Don’t miss the opportunity to indulge in their special cherry blossom bingsu, a refreshing and visually stunning treat available all year round. It’s a true embodiment of the delicate flavors of the iconic sakura.
If dango or shaved ice isn’t your preference, fear not! Dangojib offers a diverse selection of other Japanese delights, including tempting rice balls and an array of mouthwatering dishes. Whether you’re seeking sweet or savory, Dangojib has something to satiate your cravings.
- Address: 356-9 Hapjeong-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul
- Open hours: 11:00 – 21:00 Tuesday to Sunday | Closed on Monday
- Phone: +82 70-7573-3164
Seoul is a haven for bingsu lovers, with an abundance of bingsu spots offering diverse flavors, innovative creations, and unique atmospheres. Whether you prefer traditional flavors or want to explore creative combinations, these 10 bingsu spots in Seoul are sure to satisfy your cravings. So check out these spots and get ready to indulge in a frozen treat that will leave you feeling delightfully refreshed.