15 of the Best Bingsu in Seoul
If you’re into all things sweet, you have to try Bingsu. The Korean answer to shaved ice comes in a variety of flavors – ranging from the traditional Pat Bingsu (팥빙수) with red bean topping to modern variations with ice-cream, macarons, chocolate and all sorts of fresh fruit. Here are 15 of the best Bingsu in Seoul.
Also check out my popular article 25 Free Things to do in Seoul.
The History of Bingsu
Shaved ice desserts have been extremely popular in many Asian countries for hundreds of years. The oldest mention of a version of “bingsu” is recorded in China around 3,000 BC. This version was prepared with snow or ice mixed with honey and fruit juice.
Medieval world explorer Marco Polo also mentioned a recipe for “frozen milk” back from Beijing, China, in his “Oriental Book.”
In Korea, records from the Joseon Dynasty (1392–1897) mention officials eating crushed ice mixed with fruit to cope with the heat.
“Patbingsu,” aka red bean bingsu, became the summer dessert after the Korean War, with many families preparing the dessert in their homes and was also sold as street food. Traditional toppings may include chopped fruit, condensed milk, fruit syrup, and red beans.
Today, there are really no limits when it comes to bingsu, and you will find a wide variety of bingsu in cafés around Korea and all of Asia today.
Café Bora (Bora from the Korean word for purple) offers super Instagrammable and super delicious desserts made from purple sweet potatoes – definitely one of the best bingsu in Seoul.
Their desserts have become so popular that they opened several locations around Korea and even in Canada.
75-3 Yulgok-ro 3-gil, Sogyeok-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul
Sulbing (설빙) is one of the largest dessert cafe chains in South Korea specializing in bingsu. With a regular menu and continuously changing seasonal bingsu varieties, Sulbing has established itself to be one of the leading bingsu cafés in Korea with more than 500 stores.
Sulbing has also opened overseas locations in China, Thailand, Japan and Cambodia.
Find the nearest Sulbing Café on their website.
Hailing all the way from Japan, Tokyo Bingsu is notorious for its one-of-a-kind flavor options. The two signature flavors Mt. Fuji Matcha and Tomato are popular among locals and visitors alike.
414-56, Mangwon-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul
Another Japanese inspired dessert place in Seoul’s Hapjeong district is Dangojib. Dango refers to soft rice cakes covered in a sweet sauce.
My favorite is their special cherry blossom dango, which they serve all year around. Even if you’re not up for dango or shaved ice, you can opt for one of their other Japanese foods, such as rice balls. This makes Dangojib definitely one of the best bingsu in Seoul.
356-9 Hapjeong-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul
This cute little café in Noksapyeong became a hot topic after the airing of Olive’s entertainment program “Yeogi Go” where TV personalities introduce great places to eat.
They serve shiltarae bingsu, inspired by a Korean noodle dish. When you eat this bingsu, you are supposed to cut the layered threads of bingsu with a knife. It’s incredible soft and melts in your mouth like butter.
77-6 Noksapyeong-daero 26-gil, Itaewon 1(il)-dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul
If you are looking for the traditional version of Bingsu, Homilbat is a great place to visit. They make their own homemade red bean paste with less sugar creating a healthier version of the popular Korean dessert.
43 Sinchonnyeok-ro, Seodaemun-gu, Seoul, South Korea
One of the best bingsu in Seoul is served at Sobok Cafe. Using healthy ingredients such as nuts, dried persimmons and sweet pumpkin, this is a very unique type of bingsu you won’t find anywhere else.
58 Eoulmadang-ro, Mapo-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Korea’s leading green tea brand, O’sulloc doesn’t only offer delicious hot and cold beverages but also some of the best green tea flavored bingsu you can find. All of their green tea is grown and produced on Jeju Island.
12 Myeongdong 7-gil, Myeongdong 1(il)-ga, Jung-gu, Seoul
Using traditional methods only, Okrumong serves some of the best bingsu in Seoul. The traditional red bean bingsu is served with sweetened milk, warm red-bean syrup, and two chewy pieces of Korean rice cake.
Dongdaemun Design Plaza, Eulji-ro, Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Nestled in Seoul’s popular Ikseon-dong neighborhood, Café Oyaskkot is housed in a beautiful old Korean hanok house. If you are looking for delicious cheesecakes, scones and a refreshing grapefruit bingsu, you’re in the right place.
15 Donhwamun-ro 11da-gil, Donui-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul
You can undoubtedly say that Maman Gateau is the undisputed master of the caramel bingsu. If you’re into a unique bingsu topped with toasted almonds, pecans and a good amount of homemade caramel ice cream with a piece of almond caramel brittle, all drizzled in the homemade signature caramel sauce – you need to try this!
812-8, Yeoksam-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul
Even though Jiyugaoka Hatchome is known as a specialty cake shop, it also serves a killer bingsu.
33 Jong-ro, Cheongjin-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul
Mostly known to be a premier bakery and pastry shop in Garosugil, Deux Amis also has a fantastic bingsu option. The most popular is the red bean sherbet with green tea. Just looking at the picture makes my mouth water – definitely deserves to be on the list of the best bingsu in Seoul.
28 Dosan-daero 11-gil, Sinsa-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul
Colline Café is a gorgeous green space where the owner grows their own fruits, veggies and herbs. Besides delicious coffee and drinks, their fruit bingsu is especially popular. It resembles a rainbow in a bowl and tastes exactly as good as it looks!
45-1 Eoulmadang-ro, Seogyo-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul
Maison De La Catégorie
Maison de la Catégorie is a casual but elegant bistro with chic Art Deco-style interior. You can not only find some of the most delicious French-style cuisine in Seoul right here, but also an interesting fusion variety of bingsu. The peach shaved ice is especially popular and makes for a fun Instagram post, too!
85 Cheongdam-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul
Best Vegan Bingsu Options in Seoul
Café Turtle is a vegan dessert cafe established in 2020. They serve a selection of cakes and bingsu plus beverages like coffee, tea, smoothie, beer, and wine.
48, Bangbaecheon-ro 4an-gil, Seoul
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This is an excellent vegan bakery. They use rice flour, no refined sugar and also have two kinds of bingsu in the summer.
240-34, Yeonnam-dong, Mapo-Gu, Seoul
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Suyeon Sanbang is a traditional Korean tea house nestled deep in a quiet neighborhood. What’s more, this quaint hanok house was originally the house where the late Korean writer Lee Tae-Jun penned many contemporary literary works.
8 Seongbuk-ro 26-gil, Seongbuk-dong, Seongbuk-gu, Seoul
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This downloadable checklist for Seoul contains insider information on what to see, do, eat and where to shop and party in Seoul, South Korea.