Patbingsu or patbingsoo is a very popular snack/dessert in South Korea, especially during the sweltering and humid summer season.
This snack is composed of ice shavings and sweetened azuki beans (known as 팥, or pat). It initially began as a mixture of hand shaved ice and sweetened azuki beans. It was sold by street vendors. These days it has become a very elaborate summer dessert, often topped with ice cream or frozen yogurt, sweetened condensed milk, fruit syrups, various fruits such as strawberries, kiwifruit, and bananas, small pieces of tteok (rice cake), chewy jelly bits, and cereal flakes. Some vendors add cherry tomatoes as cherry tomatoes are generally considered a fruit in South Korea.
are available in different flavors. Green tea
are popular variates. For the summer 2007 season, Starbucks Korea released a frappuccino inspired by patbingsu
is a summer specialty item found on the menus of most fast food restaurants in South Korea. KFC
, and Burger King
usually carry patbingsu
on their menus from May to September. The ice cream/yogurt chains Pinkberry
and Red Mango
carry it year round.
Patbingsu is also a very popular dessert at cafés in Los Angeles' Koreatown.
Fans of patbingsu
have different methods of eating. Some are "mixers" and immediately mix all the toppings into the base of ice and pat before eating. photo
Others are serial eaters, eating each topping in succession. There is also a hybrid style where one starts as a serial eater and then after sampling each topping, the eater mixes the remaining toppings.
Making patbingsu at home
During summer many grocery stores in Korea offer ready made ingredients for making patbingsu at home.