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During the summer, what is your favorite sweet treat to beat the heat? Is it ice cream? Popsicles? Maybe cold beer, wine, or a cocktail? In South Korea, people eat bingsu to fight the hottest months of the year.
Here, I share how to make a basic recipe for mango bingsu. While you can buy mango bingsu with lots of different added ingredients, we prefer a plain and simple recipe when making bingsu at home.
Below, we will learn all about bingsu. Then, I list the ingredients needed to make mango bingsu as well as give tips & tricks on how to make this treat. Finally, I answer some potential questions you may have about this milky shaved ice treat. Let’s get started!
What Is Bingsu?
Bingsu (빙수), also spelled as bingsoo in English, is a Korean shaved ice dessert topped with a variety of sweet flavorings. Typically, people make the shaved ice base using milk, condensed milk, and water. Then, they top the shaved milk ice with a variety of ingredients. Toppings include condensed milk, ice cream, fruits, nuts, red beans, fruit syrups, purees, and more!
Traditionally, during the Joseon Dynasty, people would mix honey and fruit with ice from the seokbinggo (석빙고), otherwise known as the ‘stone ice storage’ or ‘ice house.’ During the Joseon Dynasty, people built this structure into an earth mound, much like a cellar.
After the Korean War, sweet ingredients such as condensed milk, syrup, and chocolate were introduced to the Korean peninsula via soldiers from the United States. From this point, modern variations of traditional Korean shaved ice were invented. Nowadays, you can easily find bingsu in dessert shops and cafes all across South Korea.
The most traditional style of the modern-day bingsu is ‘pat-bingsu’ (팥빙수), otherwise known as red bean shaved ice.
More modern bingsu inventions include mango bingsu, strawberry bingsu, honeycomb bingsu, and more!
History of Mango Bingsu:
The mango bingsu popularity dates back to 2007 when the Jeju branch of the Shilla Hotel created a variation using locally sourced Irwin mangos, otherwise commonly called ‘apple mangos.’ The hotel claimed that these local mangoes tasted sweeter and richer than other varieties available and listed their mango bingsu at a premium price. Right away, the bingsu became a trendy hit across the nation. In 2011, Shilla made this special bingsu available at their Seoul branch.
During the summer, when this specialty bingsu is available, people line up for hours to eat it at the Shilla hotel. If you look on the website, you must call to inquire about the price. In 2022, the Shilla Hotel raised the price of this premium bingsu once again. It now costs 83,000 won (approximately $64). This is a 30% increase from last year.
Now that we learned all about bingsu, let’s learn how to make this mango bingsu recipe! Below, we list the main ingredients, some tips & tricks, and answer some frequently asked questions.
Mango Bingsu Ingredients:
As I stated above, below, we list the ingredients we use to make this dish. While certain ingredients are necessary to make this mango bingsu, we also list optional ingredients you can add to heighten this dessert.
- Whole Milk
- Sweet Condensed Milk
- Fresh Mango; And
- Vanilla Ice Cream
Optional ingredients can include:
- Mango Preserves; And
- Mango Puree
Mango Bingsu Tips & Tricks:
Before we get to the recipe, we wanted to give some tips & tricks to help you make this delicious Korean dessert! Let us know if these tips help you prepare this recipe at home! If you have any questions, leave a comment below or email us at [email protected].
How to Make Sweetened Shaved Ice:
- To make the snow-like shaved ice, combine sweetened condensed milk and milk in an airtight container such as a freezer-safe plastic bag. Freeze at least 4 hours or overnight.
- Once frozen, you can use different methods to make the fluffy texture.
- Method 1: Using a fork, scrape the frozen mixture to make a fluffy texture.
- Method 2: If you placed the mixture into a freezer-safe Ziploc bag, you can use a rolling pin to break apart the icy clump. To do this, you can roll over and hit the outside of the bag. I prefer this method. Further, this seems to be the preferred method on many Korean cooking sites. Once you created the fluffy texture, spoon the edible ‘snow’ into a bowl.
- Method 3: Place the frozen mixture into a blender and quickly pulse into coarse shavings. This method can be tricky. Blenders heat up once turned on. As the machine runs and heats up, it also heats the ingredients inside the blender. If you use this method, pulse quickly to not melt your mixture.
- OR, you can use a bingsu ice machine to form the shaved ice texture. Professional kitchens use these machines. You can buy smaller versions for your house as well! You can buy hand crank machines or electric powered on amazon!
How to Build the Mango Bingsu:
- Once you make the shaved ice, pack it into a large bowl.
- Then, drizzle more sweetened condensed milk over the shaved ice. I like to add a tablespoon or two.
- Next, prepare cubes of mango. Once you slice up the mango, place it all around the sides of the shaved ice. While preparing the mango, I keep the bowl of shaved ice in the freezer.
- Finally, top the shaved ice with a heaping scoop of vanilla ice cream.
- This is the most basic recipe for mango bingsu. For a more heightened flavor, you can also add a mango puree, mango preserves, and/or mint!
- I always serve this recipe with iced americanos. In Korea, iced americanos are the most ordered drinks at coffee shops. The Korean population loves it so much that songs have even come out about the drink. The bitterness of ice americanos goes perfectly with sweet, milky bingsu.
- This is a shared dessert so always prepare multiple spoons. This recipe makes two large servings of bingsu or 4 small servings.
Mango Bingsu Frequently Asked Questions:
Now that we learned some tips & tricks for making this recipe, we want to answer some questions you may have as well! If we do not answer your question, feel free to leave a comment in the section below or email us at [email protected].
Does This Recipe Contain Major Allergens? (Gluten, Soy, Etc.)
Excitingly, this recipe does not contain 7 of the 8 major allergens. It does not contain soy, wheat, (gluten), eggs, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, or peanuts.
Unfortunately, for those with a dairy allergy or lactose intolerance, this recipe contains milk and sweetened condensed milk.
Excitingly, for those with lactose intolerance, you can make this recipe with lactose-free milk and sweetened condensed milk options.
That being said, those with milk allergies should completely avoid bingsu unless you are making a dairy-free version at home.
Is This Recipe Vegetarian or Vegan?
This recipe is naturally vegetarian! It does not contain any animal meat products.
Unfortunately, this recipe is not vegan. It contains milk and sweetened condensed milk which are both animal by-products.
How Should I Store the Leftovers?
Unfortunately, it is almost impossible to store the leftovers of this delicious Korean dessert. Once you start to consume this treat, all the ingredients blend into a bit of a mush. If you don’t mind everything mixed, you can store the leftovers in an airtight container in the freezer.
Once you do, just note that the mango will come out frozen as well next time you plan to eat it.
Where Do You Buy the Ingredients?
You can easily buy all the ingredients necessary for this recipe at a well-stocked grocery store.
That being said, if you want to use ‘apple mango’ which tastes sweeter, you may need to shop at your local Korean grocery during the summer months. I used your typical ‘mango’ found in most grocery stores in the United States, and it still tastes sweet and delicious!
What Else Can I Add to This Recipe?
As I stated above, I kept this recipe as simple as possible. While mango bingsu tastes delicious with just the shaved ice, sweetened condensed milk, mangos, and vanilla ice cream, you can also add other ingredients to make it sweeter or fancier.
Sometimes, I also add a sweetened mango puree, mango preserves, or mint to this dish. All taste wonderful when added!
We Hope You Enjoyed Learning How to Make This Korean Mango Bingsu Recipe!
In the end, we hope you enjoyed learning about this Korean mango bingsu recipe! If so, let us know in the comment section!
If you would like to read more about cooking, you can find further recipes on our blog. We listed some of our favorite Carving A Journey Korean recipes below! For reference, many recipes are influenced by our blended Korean and Southern heritage.
Further Carving A Journey Recipes:
- Peach Sweet Tea and Bourbon Cocktail
- Strawberry Matcha Latte
- Korean Banana Milk
- Korean Strawberry Milk
- Soju Cocktail: Soju Caipirinha
- Iced Burnt Brown Sugar Latte
- Classic Southern Lemonade
If you have any questions or comments, you can also email us at [email protected]. And, finally, we would love to hear from you through our social media as well! You can follow us at @carvingajourney on Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest. I also started a vlog Youtube channel! Or, if you would like more articles like these, you can subscribe to our blog by joining our mailing list. Let us know if you try making mango bingsu! Thank you so much for stopping by!
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