[Updated Aug 2015] Best Korean Bingsu in Singapore? Not really. This describes our love story with 17 different bingsu found in Singapore.
We say “Saranghae” to Bingsu 빙수, which is a popular dessert in Korean comprising of ice shavings and various ingredients, usually sweetened condensed milk, fruits, Korean rice cake, cereal flakes and ice cream.
Of course, the Patbingsu 팥빙수 is our favourite, topped with sweetened azuki red beans, which you can let the smooth ice flakes slowly melt in your mouth, and your heart.
45 Burghley Drive #01-04, Singapore 559022 (15-20 min walk from Lorong Chuan MRT)
Opening Hours: 12am – 10pm (Tues-Thurs), 12pm – 11pm (Fri), 10am – 11pm (Sat), 10am – 10pm (Sun), Closed Mon
New outlet: 232 Tanjong Katong Road Singapore 437020
Nunsongyee, we would like to declare you “The Queen of Bingsu”.
You were hard to find, located at an ulu spot of Burghley. Even if we drive here, we need to travel big rounds. Your name “Nunsongyee 눈송이” (pronounced as noon-song-yi) means “Snowflake” in Korean. So delicate. Your signature desserts of Snow Flake Black Sesame, Strawberry, Coffee Bingsu ($18.90), are also one of the priciest around. There are many toppings of powdered soybean korean rice cakes, sesame powder and almond flakes.
So pure, white, soft and pillowy.
Nunsaram Korean Dessert Café
181 Orchard Rd #05-51/52 Orchard Central Singapore 238896
3 Gateway Drive #04-37 Westgate Singapore 608532
Opening Hours: 11am – 10 pm
‘Nunsaram’ means ‘snowman’ in Korean. We tried your milk shavings several times. Sometimes you were very good, on others you were just good.
So, your specialties are the Injeolmi Bingsu (S$12.90), Black Sesami Bingsu (S$14.9), Sweet Potato Bingsu ($14.90) and Strawberry Bingsu (S$14.90). The Injeolmi was definitely our favourite, lightly roasted with slight fragrance. Accompanying nuts were actually crunchy (we say this because some of your competitors use nuts which taste stale and ‘lao-hong’.
O’ma Spoon Korean Dessert Cafe
6 Raffles Boulevard #01-01/02/03 Marina Square Singapore 039594
313 @ Somerset Orchard Road #04-20/32 Singapore 238895
Opening Hours: 10am – 10pm Daily
Mother’s spoon. The smoothness of your milk shavings alone were Number 2 in our opinion – soft yet instantaneous melt-in-your-mouth effect.
The best tasting bingsu is definitely the Mango Berry Cheesecake ($18.80). You know, mango cheesecake plus ice cream plus shaved milk makes us all happy people.
But some of your bingsu such as the Injoelmi ($11.90) was rather flat-tasting, and the ice cream scoops on the others can be rather inconsistent and well, small in portion. Just saying.
We were here for Ssiksin Korean Fried Chicken, and you were at the same place too.
Wah, we spotted a specially imported MILK snow bingsu machine that apparently cost a 5-figure sum. While Nunsongyee used to be the only bingsu shop which uses a similar machine, we are starting to see more Korean cafes relying on that technology.
The Melon Bingsu ($12.50) and Mango Bingsu ($12.50) are our favourites – fresh and cooling. Yes, we had to wait quite a while, until the tempting smells of the Korean BBQ came over…
Twins Korean Restaurant
7 Craig Road Singapore 089667
Tel: +65 6221 5205
Opening Hours: 11am – 3:00pm, 5:00pm – 12am (Mon-Sat), 5pm – 12am (Sun)
Many of our female friends cannot decide if they like the Korean fried chicken, bingsu, or the cute Korean twins chefs best. Maybe all 3. Hearts may melt before the bingsu.
Anyway, the bingsoo has become bigger with a larger variety (they used to sell a mini size). The Mango Snow Bingsoo ($12) had a fluffy fine texture, though we thought that more ingredients could help pump up the taste level.
Bing Jo Gung Dessert House
102 Guillemard Road #01-01 Singapore 399719 (Mountbatten MRT)
Opening Hours: 12pm – 11pm
Bt Timah Plaza (next to taxi stand), 1 Jalan Anak Bukit, Singapore 588996
Opening Hours: 10am – 11pm
Bing Jo Gung, we love you too. You are the probably the first bingsu café to arrive in Singapore, it was so hard to decide between you and Miss Nun. (Oh yes, we couldn’t find you initially, until we saw g.spa.)
Your Injeolmi (Korean rice cake), and Milk & Red Bean Bingsu ($10) were filled with so much love. The ice was quite fine (though not as smooth as the newer places), topped with crunchy ingredients of as corn flakes, sliced almonds, walnuts, cashew nuts.
Container cafes are common place in Korea, where shops are set up in cargo-converted containers. We were surprised to find a container café in Singapore, though you were quite hard to locate.
The Chocoreo Bingsu ($13.90) aesthetically photogenic with OREO crumbs and Pepero sticks, was smooth, but gravely lacking in flavours. My friend quipped, “Without the cookies and ice cream… no taste.” But at least the shavings were still smooth.
50, Smith Street, Singapore 058958 (5 min walk from Chinatown MRT)
Opening Hours: 12pm – 10pm (Tue-Thu), 12pm – 11pm (Fri), 10am – 11pm (Sat), 10am – 10pm (Sun), Closed Mon
We got tricked. This is not a bibimbap, but a BiBim ($18) remodelled like a real bibimbap (Korean mixed rice) using fruits of various colours as toppings instead. The egg yolk was created using a slice of mango whereas the egg white was made from yogurt. Sp pretty yah? Didn’t feel like stirring everything together (and mess things up).
Sadly, the shaved ice turned out to be pretty bland like snow, without using similar shaved milk found in other Korean bingsu cafes.
Tom and Toms
12 Gopeng Street #01-12 Icon Village Singapore 078877
Tel: +65 6225 6313
You are one of Korean’s biggest café chain, and during my uni days not too long ago *cough cough*, I would study at your quiet vicinity at Tanjong Pagar Icon Village. (Free WIFI mah)
Your bingsu was as authentic as it could get, with flavours of Green Tea and Red Bean ($11.90), Mango ($10.90), Taro ($9.90), Yogurt Cheesecake ($12.90) and Milk Tea ($10.90). Good, affordable, thirst-quenching, and we liked your red bean. Where did you get them from?
279 South Bridge Road Singapore 058828 (Chinatown MRT)
Tel: +65 8533 2003
Opening Hours: 12pm – 9pm (Tues, Wed, Thurs), 12pm-10pm (Fri-Sat), 2pm-8pm (Sun), Closed Mon
Hello Café Insadong, your female standee at the door looked scary at night. But anyway, we also liked your Patbingsu Ice (‘pat’ means ‘red bean’), in flavours of Red Bean, Sweet Potato, Oreo, Mango, Green Tea ($8.50 – $9.00). We hear that you are a local start-up, with staff trained by a Korean dessert chef.
For your price, we were surprised by the generosity of the ingredients – a full scoop of ice cream, a glob of red bean on the side, some crunchy almond slices, sliced red dates, and as you dig in further… sweet sticky Korean chapssaltteok (rice cake). Quite dae bak!
If there is a beauty pageant for Korean bingsu, Banana Tree’s Pot BingSoo ($12.50) would emerge champions for “Miss Bingsu Singapore” and “Miss Congeniality”. Trust us.
Coming in a flower pot with a big round scoop of Häagen-Dazs ice cream, we loved the sweet red bean, but thought that the iced shavings were rough. Yes, rough.
But, we just heard you are getting a new bingsu machine. When would that be?
Insadong Korea Town
Resorts World Sentosa, 26 Sentosa, Gateway #01-30/31/32/33, Singapore 098138
(Near Trickeye Museum)
Opening Hours: 11.30am – 10pm Daily
Tel No: +65 6238 8221
We ventured to Resorts World Sentosa for your sake. Insadong Korea Town, your self-ordering concept is very different. I got slightly lost the first time, but much better the second round.
Your Mango Shaved Iced with Ice Cream ($10) is topped with many ingredients and fruits, a little sweet for us, but we figured kids would like it.
One Ice Café
2 Jurong East Central 1, JCube #02-67 Singapore 609731
Opening Hours: 12pm – 10pm
One of the most affordable Korean Patbingsu around, you make several mummies (and daddies) plus children happy. For $6.80 and a huge portion, we cannot complain much lah.
One Thing Coffee Kids Café
170 Upper Bukit Timah Road, Bukit Timah Shopping Centre #B2-17
Tel: +65 97881276
Talking about children, so many of them playing around in your café. I see, you are a Korean kids cafe located in Bukit Timah Shopping Centre. Hot-sellers include Patbingsu (Red bean shaved ice), Raspberry Bingsu (Korean raspberry shaved ice) and Korean style waffles (Ice cream, fruits and plain).
Your Matcha Patbingsu ($8) in a huge pyrex apparatus was cute.
435 Orchard Road, #02-48 to 53 Wisma Atria, Singapore 239977 (Orchard MRT),
Tel:+ 65 6836 2010, +65 6836 3010
Opening Hours: 10am – 10pm
Paris Baguette, the first time we tried your shaved iced, there was no Korean rice cake on top. Then we went to the Raffles Place branch, and there wasn’t this dessert item. Aiyah.
We were determined, so went back Wisma again. Ah, we liked the first few mouthfuls. The ice quite fine, and red bean sweet and satisfying. Then we couldn’t help but give up after a while because there were just red bean, red bean and red bean.
Chick and Ken
21 Lorong Telok, Raffles Park, Singapore 049033 (Raffles Place MRT)
Tel: +65 91507257
Opening Hours: 12pmm – 10pm (Mon-Sat), Closed Sun
Chick and Ken, you win! Syringes with your bingsu? Is a doctor around? Thai inspired Cha-Yen Bingsu ($12.90)? Annyeong Sawadee?
Ok okay, we admit – your Bingsu fared somewhere in the middle – not the best, not our worst. We had fun squeezing the condensed milk and syrups out of the syringes, but can you (I mean your ice) be finer? Don’t be so rough. The Korean (bingsu) are not that rough.
3151 Commonwealth Avenue West #01-13, City Vibe, Singapore 129581 (5 min walk from Clementi MRT)
Opening Hours: 11am – 10pm (Mon-Sun)
Your bingsu left us frozen. The Elsa Blueberry Cheesecake ice flakes ($17.90… wait, why so expensive?) looked pretty, coming in a slice of cheesecake and milky ice cream on top.
The shaved ice could be rough, and might make a young Princess Anna cry if she would sink her teeth into it. We just had to say “Let it go, let it go… Can’t hold it back anymore…”
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*Written by Daniel Ang, some photos from Nicholas Tan @stormscape