The craze for Korean food culture has been an enduring trend over the years, with fans all across the globe indulging in Korean fried chicken, kimchi and desserts like bingsu.
Originally known as Patbingsu, this sweet and icy treats was first eaten during the Joseon Dynasty and has persisted through centuries to become a favourite summertime indulgence for Koreans. Early versions of this dessert combined pat (red bean paste) with bingsu (shaved ice), but it has since evolved to encompass an array of mouth-watering varieties.
You may notice some resemblance to our local ice kachang, but the Korean version is quite different in terms of taste and texture. Read on to find out where to savour halal takes on this Korean dessert in Singapore.
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Oriental Ice Bistro
Having observed the rising demand for bingsu in Singapore, Mohamed Mustaffa Shah Jehan seized the opportunity to open the first halal bingsu café in Singapore. Located on Rangoon Road, Oriental Ice Bistro is a convenient five-minute walk from Farrer Park MRT station.
Besides a training stint in South Korea to master the techniques of bingsu-making, Mustaffa invested in a machine that produces the fluffy, snow-like ice his café is known for.
Diehard sweet tooths should not miss decadent options such as Oreo Cookie Pleasure and Triple Chocolate Fantasy. Those feeling more adventurous should try locally inspired creations like Chendol Pak’ Dol, which comes with fresh jackfruit and gula melaka (palm sugar), and Duri Durian which features real durian paste and coconut ice cream.
In addition to bingsu, this cosy alfresco hangout also offers a selection of milkshakes, coffee and savoury Western fare.
Oriental Ice Bistro. 89 Rangoon Rd #01-02, Singapore 218375. +65 6635 7426. Mon-Wed, Fri-Sun 5-10pm.
Nunsaram Korean Dessert Café
When it comes to cold and refreshing desserts, more is never enough here in sunny Singapore. So, here’s another bingsu specialty café you should add to your must-visit list.
Aptly named Nunsaram, meaning ‘snowman’ in Korean, this cafe is popular for its powdery soft snowflake-like bingsu. Indulge in delightful fruity flavours such as mango, strawberry and acai berry.
Nunsaram also happens to be one of the few places in the city where you can sample hotteok—a traditional sweet pancake well-loved for its chewy texture. Wash it down with thick creamy smoothies in tantalising flavours like Citron Yuzu Lime or Hanrabong Jeju Island Orange.
Balance out all that sugar with gimbap, a seaweed rice roll filled with grilled beef, pickled radish and egg. Alternatively, you can’t go wrong with tteokbokki (spicy rice cakes), one of the most sought-after street foods in Korea.
Nunsaram Korean Dessert Café at Westgate. 3 Gateway Dr #04-37/K4, Singapore 608532. +65 96642574. Daily 11am-10.30pm.
Move over cappuccino, how about a cup of sweet Dalgona coffee?
Named after old-school toffee candies sold by street vendors in Korea, this milk-based beverage—which comes with a distinctive dollop of velvety whipped coffee— has taken social media by storm. Contemporary café O’ma Spoon serves up a delicious version topped with cookie chunks.
Another must-try is the Caramel Honey Butter Bread. This Korean-style thick toast is not your average sandwich—expect generous amount of whipped cream and caramel sauce.
Of course, bingsu is still the main draw here for Korean dessert fans. The café’s latest creation, Milo Queen, pays homage to Singaporeans’ favourite drink, and comes with toppings like chocolate wafers and sliced bananas. If you prefer something more classic, go for the Signature Injeolmi, which consists of glutinous rice cakes, roasted soybean powder and almonds atop a mountain of finely shaved milk ice.
O’ma Spoon at 313 @ Somerset. 313 Orchard Rd #04-20/32, Singapore 238895. +65 6634 2998. Mon-Thu & Sun 11.15am-10.30pm; Fri-Sat 11.15am-11pm.
Muk-bang Korean Restaurant
If you’re keen on tasting more of Korean cuisine, Halal-certified Muk-bang Korean Restaurant boasts a comprehensive menu of classic dishes including japchae (sweet potato noodles) and pajeon (scallion pancakes). Hungry and craving hearty comfort food? Ask for the signature army stew. Chock full of tasty ingredients and packing a spicy punch, it is perfect for sharing with friends.
Don’t forget to complete your meal with Muk-bang’s mango bingsu. Highly raved for its silky-smooth ice shavings and generous fruit toppings, you’ll be saying ‘Daebak!’ in between mouthfuls.
Muk-bang Korean Restaurant at ESR BizPark @ Chai Chee. 750 Chai Chee Road #01-02, Singapore 469000. +65 9155 9088. Daily 11am-10pm.