Korean Shaved Ice at Cafe Milan


There aren’t many places to get bingsoo (Korean shaved ice) around Koreatown San Jose. But when I do, I resort to Cafe Milan. Other cafes, including Tous Les Jours, serve bingsoo during warmer months. Cafe Milan sells this icy dessert all year long. They dub it as “snow ice.”

Next to the popular Korean restaurant Jang Su Jang—featured in Kingdom Koreatown episode 5—is the Lawrence Plaza Food Court. And that is where Cafe Milan resides with its amusingly ghetto chairs. The fairest of them all? The VIP couch with slashes. Looks like some dude who ate one too many beans and sat here. He laid a very loud rip.

The famous VIP couch.

The famous VIP couch.

The VIP couch exudes “fancy antique.” The kind commonly seen in Korean dramas. My grandmother used to have a couch like that. In sentimental thought, I ignore the eye sore and have a seat.

There are diverse types of furnishing. Feeling outdoorsy? Black metal patio chairs are here for you. Craving Mies Van Der Rohe? Yup. They’ve got a knock-off version of the knock-off of his design. If you prefer simple, go for the cushioned cubes. So many options! Your rear will never get bored.

How did they gather this random mix of chairs? I’ll leave it to your imagination. Something to think about while your bingsoo is being prepared.

Mommy Oh and I order the Black Sesame Bingsoo for $10. When I was in elementary school, bingsoo used to cost $5! It’s certainly cheaper to make it at home, but does your home provide an antique couch with an epic rip in it? Nopers! If so, I cordially invite you to invite me over to sit on your VIP seat.

Black Sesame Korean Shaved Ice.

Black Sesame Korean Shaved Ice.

The Black Sesame Bingsoo doesn’t taste much of black sesame. The ingredient that takes the spotlight: sweet red bean paste. The bowl also comes with sliced almonds and mochi. A delightful combo of ingredients. Their ratio could use some tampering. More black sesame seed powder, please! On the menu, the Black Sesame Bingsoo is depicted with a pile of that magical black powder. The bingsoo served in reality had only sprinkles of it. Don’t be shy. Pour on that magic, baby!

Cafe Milan serves 15 types of bingsoo. For larger groups, challenge yourself with the Titanic. It comes with handfuls of various fruit and serves five to ten people. Eat Your Green is ironic. It sounds like a nutritious spin on shaved ice using strictly fruits and vegetables. Naw, it received its name due to the ingredients’ color: green. Eat Your Green contains green tea ice, honeydew, mochi, chocolate syrup, green tea and ice cream. Not healthy, but sounds yummy.

For those needing to warm up after the icy dessert, order coffee and tea. Or get some organic ice cream. They sell Italian sodas as well.

Looking towards Cafe Milan from the Lawrence Plaza Food Court.

Looking towards Cafe Milan from the Lawrence Plaza Food Court.

In previous visits, the workers consisted of young boys and girls in their early twenties. When filming the latest Kingdom Koreatown, there was only one middle-aged man. He appeared to be of Middle Eastern descent. Initially my mother and I thought Cafe Milan was closed. As we walked up to the counter, we saw the man sitting behind its corner. Peekaboo! He must like to play hide-and-seek.

I continue my search to find the best bingsoo in Koreatown San Jose. Having been spoiled by drool-worthy bingsoo in Seoul, perhaps I won’t be able to fulfill my craving until my next trip to South Korea. Bingsoo chains have been flocking over to Koreatown LA. Maybe that’s where I’m heading for the next episode of Kingdom Koreatown. Hint hint. Catch ya next Wednesday!

Cafe Milan
(408) 261-1151
3561 El Camino Real Ste 99
Santa Clara, CA 95051


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