Who eats bingsoo, Korean shaved ice, first thing in the morning? Someone who has a plane to catch within three hours. Yeah, me. I'm currently stationed in NorCal and there is no Korean shaved ice as legit as the ones in Los Angeles (aside from Seoul). So as my last "meal" before heading back home, I happily get a brain freeze at 11am. My flight departs at 1:45pm. I take my sweet time, savoring each icy bite.
My bestie Yoonah accompanies me. She's a trooper. Bingsoo is typically eaten as a dessert, not as breakfast. We may get stomach aches and that's a risk I'm willing to take.
A handful of cafes in Koreatown LA offer bingsoo. We go to Okrumong (옥루몽), the location in the same plaza as the popular Korean BBQ joint Hae Jang Chon. Another Okrumong resides in Torrance about 25 miles south. Okrumong is a bingsoo chain created in South Korea and plans for world domination! I endorse.
While waiting for our "meal" to be prepared, we have Patbbang as an appetizer. Patbbang is bread filled with red bean paste.
Patbbang come in various shapes. Some do not have a hole in the middle. Others are sliced to resemble flowers. Some Patbbang contain very little red bean paste with thick white bread around it. Okrumong's Patbbang has the ideal bread-to-paste ratio. Their bread allows the red bean paste to show off its flavor.
The restaurant page buzzes. My heart tingles. Legit bingsoo, how I have missed you! The Green Tea Bingsoo with a hat of thick red bean paste arrives in its golden bowl. Mister and Misses Mochi sing a duet on the cushiony paste.
The moment your spoon scoops a bite out of that shaved ice, notice how smoothly this simple action occurs. I've had bingsoo where you have to break down the ice with your spoon, otherwise all the clumped ice spins around the bowl in circles. Okrumong bingsoo takes out that extra step and gives you princess treatment.
Enough talk of the looks. What about its flavor? The green tea shaved ice tastes like, well, matcha. Earthy. The white layer of ice underneath is bland. For sugary goodness, you can depend on the red bean paste. This bingsoo is suitable for those with a semi-sweethtooth.
I consume 80% of the bingsoo as Yoonah's teeth recover from the cold bites. With a smile, we have a chill ride to the airport. Sure, I may miss my flight if traffic awaits us on the 10 and 405, but having that Green Tea Bingsoo was worth every trouble.