11 Jan South Korea’s much-loved bingsu treats get their own place at Han Bingo
ITS NAME roughly translates as ice shed and newly opened dessert cafe Han Bingo is certainly living up to its chilly origins with scrumptious sweets of snowy shaved ice mixed with fresh imported fruits.
A tenant of EmQuartier’s Helix Dining zone for the last two months, the 50-seat cafe is owned and run by Mango Tree Adventure, a Chon Buri-based firm involved in water sports and restaurants.
Han Bingo, which also offers popular Korean quick meals, pastries and smoothies, comfortably surfs the hallyu wave, copying the tone and ambience common to South Korea’s most popular shopping venues.
Inspired by a snow town, the eatery has white walls with a snowflake motif and is furnished with natural wood tables and chairs covered with colourful cushions. A smart TV screens the latest Korean series and music videos while the floor-to-ceiling window and mini outdoor garden look out over a shady park and the dinosaur theme park.
“We have operated the watersports centre Wake A Lot in Chon Buri for many years and our bar-bistro there does very well. We decided to expand our business interests with Han Bingo. This is a new project targeting a younger age group and we are planning to have 10 branches by the end of this year. We offer free Wi-Fi, making it a great place for students to hang out while reading or doing homework,” says Natdahkith Kuntetikunatorn of Wake A Lot.
“Our design concept is to reflect Korean culture and modernity while focusing on great quality food. Our cafe resembles a food centre and offers a wide range of shaved ice desserts and easy-to-eat dishes. We worked with a veteran pastry chef in South Korea for six months in creating our own recipes and to ensure the flavour is authentic.”
Thanks to advanced shaved ice machines that turn fresh organic milk into ice flakes in just four seconds, sweet lovers can choose between 10 bingsu treats that are ready in a flash. They are mostly paired with such fresh imported fruits as sweet Japanese melons, kiwis from New Zealand, strawberries from Korea, the US and Australia as well as Nam Dok Mai mangoes from Chachoengsao province that are famous for their sweet flavour and unique aroma.
“Some 1,500 years ago, Korean people kept ice cubes in an ice shed and used them to make bingsu in summer and paired it with local fruits. We use fresh organic milk to guarantee our bingsu has a super smooth texture,” Natdahkith says.
Five different sauces ranging from sweetened condensed milk, matcha, mango, strawberry and chocolate are available to add flavour to the desserts. A popular order, Natdahkith says, is the Bibimbab Bingo (Bt370), which is inspired by the well-known dish of Korean mixed rice with meat and assorted vegetables.
Perfect for sharing, this sweet version of bibimbab is prepared with smooth, milk-based shaved ice and complemented with seven seasonal fruits – strawberries, blueberries, kiwis, bananas, Nam Dok Mai mangoes, grapes and watermelon. It is topped with an imitation fried egg – egg white made from gelatin and egg yolk from yuzu juice jelly – and served with condensed milk and strawberry sauce.
Refreshing Melon Bingo shaved ice (Bt300) is topped with bite-size pieces of Japanese melon, milk ice cream, sliced almonds and condensed milk, while the smaller Strawberry Bingo (Bt250) is filled with cereals for a crunchy texture and complemented with fresh strawberries and smooth milk ice cream in tangy strawberry sauce.
Mango Cheese Cake
Other best-sellers are Mango Cheese Cake (Bt270), creamy shaved ice layered with sliced Nam Dok Mai mangoes and milk ice cream, and Ice Black Burger (Bt120), which boasts a couple of charcoal buns filled with rich Hokkaido milk ice cream and sliced kiwis and strawberries.
Also on offer are soft fondues in chocolate, cheese and cream flavours, which can be paired with a Mango or Blueberry smoothie for Bt80.
Buldak Bokkeum and Bibim Myeon
For those fancying something savoury rather than sweet, Han Bingo has a range of imported Korean instant noodle dishes like spicy Buldak Bokkeum and Bibim Myeon – both served with boiled eggs for Bt45 and Bt50 – as well as Ja Jang Bibimbab (Bt170) with a full-flavoured black bean sauce over rice.
Ja Jang Bibimbab
“Our Ja Jang Bibimbab is adapted from Ja Jang Myeon, with the black bean sauce served with Korean rice rather than noodles. We use imported seasoning sauces made with vegetables and chilli from Korea and we guarantee our food has no monosodium glutamate,” Natdahkith says.
The cafe also offers coffee, homemade Korean-style sandwiches, brownie cheesecakes and crispy toast topped with chocolate, butter and honey cheese.
HAIL TO HALLYU
Han Bingo is on the seventh-floor Helix Dining zone of EmQuartier. It’s open daily from 10 to 10.
Find out more at the HanBingo.TH page on Facebook.