Shaved ice is a hugely popular dessert during the Summer in Seoul. From June to August or September, almost every coffee shop offers a choice of iced desserts. Shaved ice is a large bowl or ice-cream coupe filled with crushed or finely powdered ice, with a variety of toppings. The most popular is red bean shaved ice, known as patbingsu. The joy of shaved ice is mixing and matching the different toppings. Our favourite includes a little of each of the six flavours below!
Red bean shaved ice at a tea house in Seoul, with green tea ice-cream topping
Six of the Best Korean Shaved Ice Toppings
- Red beans - soaked overnight, and then simmered for an hour before stirring with sugar and oil, and leave to cool. The oil helps keep the bean paste slightly more liquid when cold.
- Green tea ice cream - often 'soft serve' from a Mr Whippy-style dispenser.
- Mochi - glutinous rice mochi cakes shaped into 2cm cubes. They are easy to make with glutinous rice flour, sugar and water.
- Kinako soybean powder - a powder made from ground dried soy beans, then toasted. The powder is often mixed with a little sugar, and then sprinkled over the top of the shaved ice
- Sliced Jujube dates - bring a sweet cinnamon warmth to the dessert. Sometimes the jujube dates are dehydrated and lightly caramelised to make them crispy.
- Powdered Black Sesame - finely ground black sesame seeds give a similar earthy richness to the dessert. Our favourite!
Shaved ice in Seoul, topped with ground sesame, red bean, kinako soybean flour and mochi rice cakes