What could be better on a hot afternoon than a bowl of green tea pingsu – green tea flavoured shaved ice, sweet aduki bean paste, and rice cakes? It’s still pretty hot – 27 degrees today – even though we are supposed to be in autumn. So we went to a cafe that specialises in pingsu to enjoy the cold dessert before the weather gets cold.
Although it still feels hotter than a British summer, I know that winter will be here soon so this could be my last pingsu of the year!
The plastic display in the window of the cafe (below) presents what seem to be the two signature desserts of the cafe: green tea pingsu and original pingsu (served with condensed milk). The three bowls underneath are filled with raw aduki beans.
There are all kinds of bingsu available these days. Some are served with ice cream and fruit and cream and look like a fruit sundae. Anything can be added really – chocolate chips, marsh mallows … the list is endless.
Pingsu type desserts – shaved ice with fruit – have been available since the Joseon period (1392-1910). (Japanese kakigori is a very similar dessert.) Our pingsu was served in a traditional brass dish which made it feel more authentic.
We also ordered a kind of 떡 deok rice cake dessert which we were warned would take ‘8 minutes’ to prepare. (the time given was very specific but I didn’t check if it actually did take exactly 8 minutes) Anyway, we agreed to wait the 8 minutes and were served this warm rice cake called injeolmi 인절미 made from glutinous rice and coated in bean flour topped with pin nuts, walnuts, almonds, jujube, and aduki. As always the dessert for two came on one plate with two forks. The warm and soft chewy rice was comforting and the toasted nuts on top gave a festive touch. Made me think it will soon be time to get the Christmas tree out!