Sunday, June 02, 2013

Summer Desserts - Patbingsu and Ice Kacang

For country like Singapore where we do not have 4 distinctive seasons, we have perhaps missed out the fun of enjoying things that others living in seasonal countries do.  Besides the change in fashion or experiencing seasonal activities such skiing, cherry blossoms, we also missed out the fun of enjoying food that are in season as the weather changes.

As the temperature rises from sub-zero to now hitting a high of almost 30 degrees in Korea, summer dessert patbingsu (팥빙수), a shaved ice dessert topped up with generous serving of red beans, fruits, ice cream and rice cake, is a common dessert that runs from June to perhaps mid October.  It could come with different variety such as even green tea or coffee flavours.

While in Jeonju last year, I tried this delicious bingsu.  What made this bingsu memorable was the black sesame paste that was drenched onto the shaved ice.  The white pieces are plain rice cakes while the green centre piece was green tea rice cake.  The sweet taste for this dessert was mainly from the generous portion of the sweetened red beans that topped over the shaved ice.

Oh well, in Singapore.  While there are now many Korean restaurants serving steamboats, BBQ and many other dishes, I can hardly find any Korean dessert shops. The solely existing cafe that serves bingsu is Seoul Yummy.  The tall ice cream attracts all the attention away from patbingsu, didn't it?

In any case, Singapore do have our own version of shaved ice dessert, Ice Kacang.  With our historical connection with Malaysia, kacang is a Malay word for red beans.  If you wonder where the red beans are, they are covered by the ice.  In fact, other than red beans, the other hidden ingredients include sweet corns, attap seeds (palm seeds) and jelly.  There are different varieties too for the Singapore shaved ice.  How about one that's topped off with Hershey's Chocolate Syrup like what you see in this picture?  ^^

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