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Bingsu Blitz: Cool Down with Korean Shaved Ice

Bingsu Blitz: Cool Down with Korean Shaved Ice

Bingsu Blitz: Cool Down with Korean Shaved Ice

A Refreshing Journey to the Land of Icy Delights

As the sweltering summer sun beats down on the bustling streets of Boston, there’s one Korean dessert that promises to provide a delightful respite – bingsu. Imagine a towering mound of fluffy, milk-based shaved ice, adorned with an array of toppings that dance across your palate, from sweet red beans to vibrant fruits and creamy ice cream. It’s a symphony of flavors and textures that transports you straight to the heart of Korea, where this icy delight has been a beloved summertime tradition for centuries.

A Brief History of Bingsu

The origins of bingsu can be traced back to the Joseon dynasty in Korea, which began in 1392 [1]. During this time, a specialized ice storage facility called “seokbinggo” was used to preserve ice for the royal family, ensuring they had access to this precious commodity even in the midst of scorching summers. The officials in charge of the royal icebox would then painstakingly crush the ice to create the earliest version of bingsu, often adding sweet red bean paste to enhance the flavor [1].

As the years passed, bingsu evolved from a simple icy treat to a culinary art form. The invention of the milk-based shaved ice, with its fluffy, snow-like texture, set bingsu apart from other Asian shaved ice desserts, such as Filipino halo-halo and Japanese kakigori [1]. Today, bingsu variations have become increasingly imaginative, with toppings ranging from macarons and soft-serve ice cream to cheesecake and boba pearls [1].

Bingsu: The Art of Fluffy Perfection

The key to a truly exceptional bingsu lies in the foundation – the shaved ice itself. As Stephanie Loo from Epicurious explains, “Good bingsu starts with the ice: A foundation of soft, snowy, flavorful ice is of utmost importance” [1]. To achieve this, a combination of milk and sweetened condensed milk is frozen and then blitzed in a blender or food processor, resulting in a texture that is less crystallized and more akin to fluffy snow [1].

For those who are serious about their bingsu-making endeavors, a countertop electric ice shaver can be a game-changer, as it effortlessly creates the desired “snow” that melts deliciously in your mouth [1]. But even without such specialized equipment, the homemade method of freezing the milk mixture and then blending it can yield impressive results.

Toppings Galore: Customizing Your Bingsu Experience

Once the fluffy ice foundation is set, the real fun begins – the toppings. As Catherine Zhang, a food blogger and bingsu enthusiast, notes, “The best thing about bingsu is that you can customize it however you like” [2]. From the traditional patbingsu (red bean shaved ice) to more modern interpretations like strawberry bingsu or matcha bingsu, the possibilities are endless.

Some of the most popular bingsu toppings include:

Topping Description
Red Bean Paste The classic choice, adding a delightful sweetness and creamy texture [2]
Mochi Chewy, bite-sized Japanese rice cakes that provide a pleasant contrast [2]
Fresh Fruit Vibrant and refreshing, fruits like strawberries, mangoes, and peaches are a perfect complement [2]
Ice Cream Scoops of vanilla or other flavors add an extra creamy indulgence [2]
Sweetened Condensed Milk Drizzled over the top, it enhances the overall sweetness and creaminess [1]

The key to a truly memorable bingsu experience is to layer these toppings in a way that creates a harmonious balance of flavors and textures. As Catherine suggests, “Mix everything up with a spoon before eating, to make sure you get a little bit of everything in one bite” [2].

Chilling Out: Bingsu in Boston

While bingsu may have originated in Korea, its refreshing allure has captivated taste buds around the world, including here in Boston. Korean cuisine in the city has been steadily gaining popularity, with a growing number of authentic restaurants and cafes offering their own unique interpretations of this icy delight.

One such spot, Cafe Momo, has become a beloved destination for bingsu enthusiasts. As a Facebook review raves, “The bingsu at Cafe Momo is absolutely amazing! The shaved ice is so light and fluffy, and the toppings are perfectly balanced” [3]. Another local favorite, Sohyang, also boasts a menu brimming with bingsu variations, from the traditional patbingsu to more innovative flavors like matcha and chocolate [4].

Whether you’re a lifelong bingsu devotee or a newcomer to this icy sensation, Boston’s Korean culinary scene offers a delightful opportunity to indulge in this refreshing treat. So, the next time the summer heat starts to take its toll, take a “Bingsu Blitz” and let the icy, creamy goodness of this Korean dessert transport you to a world of delicious tranquility.


[1] Loo, Stephanie. “How to Make Bingsu, the Shaved Ice of Your Dreams.” Epicurious, 2 June 2023,

[2] Zhang, Catherine. “Strawberry Bingsu.” Catherine Zhang, 4 June 2023,

[3] Thermomix SG. Facebook, 3 June 2023,

[4] Tou’s Garden. “Recipes.” Tou’s Garden, 2023,

[5] Chaipanukiat, Kittianant. “Add an International Twist to Vanilla Ice Cream with Bingsu Recipe.” The Economic Times, 26 May 2023,

[6] “Fed Up of Chinese? Try Korean Instead.”, 17 August 2020,

[7] Yelp. “Bingsu in Atlanta, GA.” Yelp, 2023,

[8] “How to Make Bingsu (Korean Shaved Ice Cream).” YouTube, uploaded by Maangchi, 16 June 2018,