From the refreshing taste of bingsu to the warm bites of hotteok, let your taste buds experience the tastiest Korean desserts made right in our backyard by these seven local establishments. (L-R: @oldhands.cafe | @hanbingkoreandessertcafe)
From McD’s sold-out-within-literal-seconds BTS meal sets to vividly-hued minimalist Korean cakes, no one can doubt the influence of the K-wave when it comes to trends that have hit our local food scene. However, we should also pay closer attention to the more authentic Korean desserts that’ve been a favourite for generations in the far East.
Apart from the well-received import of bingsu (shaved ice), there are many more treats to explore and sink your teeth into. Whether they stick to tradition without any deviation, or have been experimented on with a more modern twist, these delights certainly have the Korean touch. With the help of seven Malaysian cafes and restaurants, we’ve rounded up some of the best Korean desserts you just can’t miss:
Hanbing Korean Dessert Cafe
With a daring declaration as the ‘Best Bingsu In Town’ under their label, it would be tough to resist checking out the delectable soft snow ice creations at the Hanbing Korean Dessert Cafe. From everybody’s favourite Blueberry Cheesecake to the extravagant toasted S’mores Nutella, expect bold flavours and big portions to be shared all around. Got a birthday around the corner? Go for their Insta-worthy, three-tiered birthday ‘cake’ bingsu with a funfetti milk flavour profile.
Namoo Korean Dessert Cafe n Bistro On The Park
If you’re on the lookout for an assortment of traditional and modern Korean desserts to go K-razy for, look no further than the Namoo Korean Dessert Cafe n Bistro On The Park. Or just Namoo. Apart from their best-selling Sweet Potato Cake, dive into the natural sweetness of mattang, which consists of sweet potato, rice cake, honey, brown sugar, nuts, and yuzu. For an unconventional fusion dessert that’s still delish, try out their deep-fried rice cake churros topped with cinnamon, brown sugar, and warm chocolate sauce. Yum!
Previously known as Beans N Beans, Mdm Beans is another must-visit spot to satiate your intense bingsu cravings. Playing around with over 20 delectable flavours, you’ll be spoilt for choice when you indulge in locally-inspired ones such as durian, cendol and teh tarik, or Korean classics like konggi and patgi. Finally, finish off with slices of injeolmi honey toast (Korean rice cakes coated in soybean powder and stacked between milk bread with some honey glaze) for a warm, nutty finish!
Old Hands Cafeteria
We know what you’re thinking: Isn’t this known as taiyaki, a fish shape-moulded pastry invented by the Japanese? Turns out, bungeoppang is the Korean version of it. If you’d like to taste this crispy-edged and chewy-centred goodness that’s traditionally stuffed with a red bean filling, head on over to Old Hands Cafeteria. Although they go by the original Japanese term as it’s a Muslim-friendly Japanese bakery, this may be the closest you can possibly get to the real deal in South Korea.
Hana & Thyme Florist Cafe
No, your eyes do not deceive you. These raw-appearing purple sweet potatoes are actually baked buns generously filled with the obvious flavour profile it resembles. Trending in South Korea, we’re glad the Hana & Thyme Florist Cafe brought these crusted yet chewy, mochi-textured whimsical buns to our shores. As they’re only available for pre-order, remember to book yours in advance!
Ever tried the Korean version of a stuffed pancake? At the Sweetree Restaurant, feast on the traditional delicacy of hotteok that’s typically enveloped with a sweet filling of brown sugar, cinnamon, and walnuts. Explains why it’s such a popular treat during the harsh winter months – it’s a tummy warmer for sure! As ssiat hotteok became highly popular in Busan, we definitely recommend sampling their seed hotteok with ice cream added on for an extra touch of indulgence.
Doma Modern Korean Restaurant
The Doma Modern Korean Restaurant’s Sticky Rice Pancake served with ice cream is a must-have. Consider it an innovative cultural-fusion dessert that visually resembles the hotteok, but possesses the texture of a mochi (as it’s made with glutinous rice flour). Dig into their black sesame, soybean, and green tea flavours to keep in line with the more nature-inspired sweetness often favoured at the home of K-pop.
Armed with a penchant for balancing eloquence and heartfelt informality, Monisha tries to imbue any story that comes her way with a pocketful of candor. Also, she takes a rather quick liking to those that can appreciate the humourous gem that is Arrested Development and vilify the unspeakable abomination that is mint chocolate.
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