It seems like every country has its own spin on shaved ice.
In Korea, Sulbing, is an enormous dessert cafe chain that focuses on various flavoured and beautifully presented shaved ice. Sulbing means ‘snow ice’ in Korean; hence, its signature treat is shaved ice. I think a key distinction is that the shaved ice in Korea are milk based, so there is a slight creamy texture when the shaved ice melts and mixes with the toppings.
Most of the Sulbings that I have been to are on the second floor. Restaurants and cafes in Korea are packed on top of each other, I guess space is limited in the popular touristy areas. Depending on the location, some Sulbings can be quite packed. They are very popular places for couples and friends to hang out, and also for people to chill alone if they want to indulge themselves in a frozen treat. Who doesn’t love a good dessert?
There is a bit of self-service involved. You find your own seats in the cafe and you order up at the counter. They have the picture menu on the counter, so you can always point if you don’t know how to say it in Korean.
Then the server will give you a buzzer which buzzes when your order is ready.
Me and my cheesy smile, ready to dig in🤤. I ordered the real green tea snowflakes. The bowl is usually filled with shaved ice, which literally has the texture of powdery milky snowflakes. This choice is topped with red bean mochi pieces, green tea powder, and green tea ice cream. There is also some green tea syrup on the side for you to pour onto your shaved ice, as you please. The bowl is actually quite moutainous. It only appears small in the picture because my big head is in there for comparison😑.
We visited another Sulbing during our stay at Jeju Island and ordered strawberry snowflakes.
This option is covered with frozen strawberry chunks, garnished with a red bean mochi on the top and dusted with some powdered sugar. There is a little cup of sweetened condensed milk for an added delightfulness.
So, I think these shaved ice are really made to share. Four years ago, when I came with a friend to Sulbing, we ordered one for each of us. Once we got our order, we saw this group of six people with only 3 shaved ice to share amongst them. 😓 Obviously neither of us finished our bowl, lol. If I remember correctly, we got the coffee one and maybe red bean? My memory fails me, but I have picture proof!
Anyways, I love these icy creations!😍
Locations across Korea
Real green tea snowflakes 9,500 kwon
Strawberry snowflakes 9,900 Kwon