In the Philippines, to cool off, we have halo-halo (or mix-mix). Since I could only get halo-halo at the Pinoy market in Hyehwha-dong on Sundays, or at my friends' homes during summer, I resort to the Korean version of halo-halo, bingsu, a concoction of ice shavings, milk and a couple more ingredients, the most popular of which is sweetened red beans, or pat. And the most common bingsu is patbingsu.
(My friend Rio's halo-halo ingredients at her home in Seoul)
When my good friend Justin mentioned a patbingsu place as a comment to my Facebook post about my favorite patpingsu café in Hannam-dong, I thought he was talking about that area near Itaewon and Bogwang-dong.
Dongbinggo-dong is a small neighborhood in Yongsan-gu, and Dongbinggo is the name of the most popular patpingsu place in the whole of Yongsan-gu! But this café is not in Dongbinggo-dong as I thought it was. It’s in Ichon-dong!
I only discovered the actual location of Dongbinggo when I was browsing the pages of http://english.visitkorea.or.kr featuring the best patpingsu places in Seoul. And when I learned that it’s just a quick bus ride away, I decided to visit the place!(Ichon-dong's rubberized sidewalks!
So comfortable to walk on!)
So, one very hot lunch time, I tried to venture out to Ichon-dong, which is just a quick bus ride from my office. Before having patpingsu as a dessert, I decided to grab a real meal before that. A couple of years ago, I discovered a good hamburger joint near the Ichon Station. This time, while I was walking towards that arcade, I stumbled upon another hamburger joint and decided to try it.(A good lunch)
(The view from the arcade's second floor)
Smokey Saloon is on the second floor of a low-rise arcade in front of residential apartment buildings. It’s actually just right on a bus stop and has a variety of hamburger choices, depending on the ingredients. I chose the easiest one, right on top of the menu. After all, they are all hamburgers to me. The only difference is the name the restaurants come up with. After munching down my Ambulance Burger (not sure if I remember it right), complete with a fried egg on top, I was now on my quest for the best patpingsu in the neighbourhood! It was a good lunch, by the way.
Since walking down from the Smokey Saloon arcade in this scorching summer day was out of the question, I took the bus again and got off in front of the Geumkang Hospital, and just across the street is my destination of the day.
(My take-out number)
When I got there, the place was already full of patrons enjoying their shaved-ice delights and more were even waiting in line as Dongbinggo only had a few tables. So, when I got in, expecting to get a number, I settled for the other option: take-out! I couldn’t afford to wait for a table and within three minutes, I got my take-out! I ordered a patpingsu, although they have other bingsu varieties. My take-out was put in a plastic bowl and sealed inside a pack with dry ice! As they say, 'Have dry ice, will travel'!(Dongbinggo menu and prices)
For only KRW6,500, my patpingsu from the famed Dongbinggo was now travelling with me back to the office ready to be enjoyed without having to wait for a table. But as I stood there at the bus stop waiting for the Blue Bus 100, I was surprised another patpingsu place was just across the street, Bukchon Patpingsu. Hmm. Perhaps, another patpingsu place to try next time?
(Bukchon Patpingsu across Dongbinggo)
And for the rest of Dongbinggo patbingsu story, I'd rather show you the pictures. Or what's left of my take-out. :-)
(Leaving Dongbinggo in a pack)
(Take-out in a foil pack with plastic spoons)
(It was definitely worth the trip!)