Bingsu 빙수 is a popular dessert for Koreans during summer, and I suppose this works for Singapore because it is hot all year round.
The dessert comprises of ice or milk shavings, topped with ingredients such as nuts, cereal flakes, fruits, and drizzled with condensed milk or syrup. Sounds very much like Singapore’s ice kachang, but 5 times the price. Machine different.
While Daniel’s Food Diary did a Love Story of 10 Korean Bingsu In Singapore not too long ago, he is prepared to fall in love with 3 of the 5 here. Which 3 – he will not say – people may get jealous.
5 New Korean Bingsu Cafes In Singapore 빙수!
Serangoon NEX #02-04, 23 Serangoon Central Singapore 556083
Tel: +65 6634 4608
Opening Hours: 11:30am – 10:00pm
Two words: Melon Bingsu. Snowman Desserts uses a specially imported MILK snow bingsu machine that apparently cost a 5-figure sum. Rather than the typical method where ice blocks are blended, this machine churns out snowflake-like shavings which gently float down the box.
While Nunsongyee used to be the only bingsu shop which uses a similar machine, we are starting to see 4-5 Korean cafes relying on that technology. (If all cafes use the same machine, then it’s all about the ingredients now.)
The recommended-to-order is the Melon Bingsu ($12.50) where round balls of fresh sweetish rock melon fruit cover a mini-mountain of milk ice within a carved out fruit, topped with Korean soft serve drizzled with condensed milk. As the fruits are carved out on the spot, be prepared to wait for a while. (Read: Snowman Desserts NEX)
O’ma Spoon Korean Dessert Café
6 Raffles Boulevard #01-01/02/03 Marina Square Singapore 039594
313 @ Somerset Orchard Road #04-20/32 Singapore 238895 (Opening soon)
Opening Hours: 10am – 10pm Daily
This shop means ‘mother’s spoon’’ where Korean lady Joyce Chun helms the shop. (She was quite funny. I told her Nunsongyee and Banana Tree had pretty Korean owners – as a matter of fact, and she gave me a sad face.)
Prices vary. While the Patbingsu ($11.90) and Injoelmi ($11.90) are still reasonable in price, the Choco Brownie ($18.80), Mixed Berry ($18.80) to a rather steep Mango Berry Cheesecake ($22.80) may make customers think twice. (Is $22.80 the most expensive bingsu around here?)
We tried the Patbingsu ($11.90) and quite liked it. Ingredients such as the red bean ‘Korean pat’ and injeolmi are imported from Korea. The milk shaved ice was smooth and finely-shaved, had a soft yet instantaneous melt-in-your-mouth effect.
Note: Condensed milk given was weirdly super diluted. You can choose to avoid the typical instagram pouring shots. (Read: O’ma Spoon Marina Square)
Bing Go Jung Korean Dessert House
Bt Timah Plaza (next to taxi stand), 1 Jalan Anak Bukit, Singapore 588996
Opening Hours: 10am – 11pm
This is branch number 2. Also became more expensive.
The varieties sold here include the popular Milk & Red Bean ($11), Injeolmi ($11), Green Tea ($11) Coffee ($11) and an intriguing Tomato ($11).
The Green Tea Bingsu ($11) came in an off-gold bowl topped with crunchy corn flakes, slices of almonds, walnuts, cashew nuts and a scoop of green tea ice cream and sweetened red beans. The combination tasted sweet on its own, so go easy on the condensed milk.
Shaved ice was still smooth, but not as fine as what you would get the newer brands. (Read: Bing Go Jung Bt Timah Plaza)
Nunsaram Korean Dessert Café
181 Orchard Rd #05-51/52 Orchard Central Singapore 238896
3 Gateway Drive #04-37 Westgate Singapore 608532 (opening end May)
Opening Hours: 11am ~ 10 pm
This is interesting. ‘Nunsaram’ also means ‘snowman’ in Korean. The owner who also opened Korean BBQ restaurant K Cook, stressed that Nunsaram is a “real Korean dessert café”. (I hope that doesn’t imply some of the rest are fake.)
But anyway, the specialties are Injeolmi Bingsu (S$12.90), Black Sesami Bingsu (S$14.9) and Strawberry Bingsu (S$14.90). Nunsaram also uses one of those expensive bingsu machines, ensuring smooth shavings (though we felt it was still not as smooth as some of the rest). The Strawberry Bingsu was generous with ingredients (fruit + jam), but could be one-dimensionally sweet. (Read: Nunsamram Orchard Central)
Banana Tree’s Pot BingSoo ($12.50) would emerge champions for “Miss Bingsu Singapore” and “Miss Congeniality” if there is a beauty pageant for bingsu.
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 could be smoother. If you compare to the other shops which used those mean machines, this could pale in comparison.
More ingredients such as nuts to add crunch would be good too, because the pot tasted boring a quarter way through.