‘Patbingsu’ (팥빙수): South Korea’s Dessert and Guilty Pleasure

Posted on 31. Jul, 2015 by in Cuisine, Uncategorized

With the monsoon season finishing, and as South Korea reaches high temperatures, the way most choose to cool down with a dessert is by sharing a bowl of patbingsu (팥빙수).  In it’s primitive form, patbingsu is red beans with shaved ice.  Pat (팟) was once a luxurious snack item, and as South Korea moved from developing to it’s modern economic position, pat become inexpensive but the stigma behind the dessert, which dates back as far as the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910), kept a special place in the culture as a crafty dessert.

Patbingsu is the go-to summer dessert in South Korea.  (Photo courtesy of http://40.media.tumblr.com)

Patbingsu is the go-to summer dessert in South Korea. (Photo courtesy of http://40.media.tumblr.com)

Now inexpensive (about 5,000 won), it can be found almost everywhere.  There are many variations, but essentially it consists of ice cream, fresh fruit, ddeok (떡, or rice cakes), syrup, red beans, condensed milk, syrup, and nut powder on a mound of shaved ice.  This modern day version started with the increase of cold read beans during the Japanese annexation (1910-1945) and evolved during the Korean war with the introduction of western products like cereal, fruit cocktail, and syrups.

But the dessert is truly Korean: rice cakes, a common street food snack, added with red beans (also known as adzuki beans, hence the Japanese introduction), makes a unique Korean take on dessert that has grown internationally.  In North Korea, Kim Jong-il introduced patbingsu in 2011, which has grown a demand for more shaved ice and fruit juice.  In the U.S., patbingsu has moved from Los Angeles to Boise (Idaho) to Jacksonville (Florida), where celebrity chef Alton Brown posted his dessert on Instagram.  It’s a summertime combination of sweet, crunchy, smooth, and for many Koreans on dates, as romantic as the nostalgic milkshake with two straws.

The key to the crunchy part, rather than a slow evolution to mush over time, is the cereal.  Some American versions use Fruity Pebbles, which seems more funky and hipster than elegant.  L.A. is full of Korean influence and churns out all different types, including the green tea version, also popular in Korea.  But this too can get mushy.  A stronger cereal is the key.  The best versions, like this one in L.A., are the ones that are Fruity Pebbles free.

With summer heading towards the final stretch, and your city without patbingsu, there is a way to make it at home.  If your kitchen is like most others, you probably don’t have an ice shaver.  So, frozen milk is an option as well.  See the video below for how to make patbingsu like a Korean hanging out on the Han River in Seoul.

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Learn Korean Indirect Quotation #4

Posted on 29. Jul, 2015 by in Uncategorized

You will learn the last part of the indirect quotation which is “자고” suggestion. This is also useful and common phrase you need to know. The grammar point is “v.s. + 자고+(verb)”. Let’s read some example to understand: Susan said, “Let’s meet tomorrow morning/수잔이 내일 만나자고 했어요/susane nae il man na ja go hae sseo yo.” So, the 만나다/to meet + 자고 become 만나자고.

To eat              먹다 – 먹자고

To sleep           자다 – 자자고

To see              보다 – 보자고

To wear           입다 – 입자고

To listen          듣자 – 듣자고

To drive          운전하다 – 운전하자고

To play            놀다 – 놀자고

To go               가자 – 가자고

Is it clear to see how to change it? Now, it is your time to make another one and read sentence long examples below using the examples above.

Bob said, “Let’s eat lobster for dinner”/ 밥이 저녁에 랍스타 먹자고 했어요.

Mom said, “Let’s go to the store”/엄마가 가게에 가자고 했어요.

Can you make your own now? Please watch the video below for more information. In next week, you will learn how to abbreviate the indirect quotation. So, you will learn how to say simple just like native Korean. Stay tuned!

Learn Korean Indirect Quotation #3

Posted on 22. Jul, 2015 by in Uncategorized

Today, you will learn how to use third indirect quotation which is question/ask ‘냐고’ “V.S. + 냐고”. The best way to learn is reading lots of examples. For instance, he asked that I am a doctor/그는 제가 의사냐고 했어요/gu nun nae ga eui sa nya go haec eo yo. She asked that I am from D.C./ 그녀는 내가 디씨 출신이냐고 했어요/gu neo nun nae ga D.C. chul shin e nya go haec eo yo. Let’s make your own examples whatever you want to say and please read more examples below.

Jules: Is that Bob’s car? 저것이 밥의 차예요?

Steven: She asked if it is Bob’s car. (그녀는 or 줄스는) 저것이 밥의 차냐고 했어요.


Steven: Is the computer black color? 그 컴퓨터가 까만 색이에요?

Amy: He asked if the computer is black color. (그는 or 스티븐은) 그 컴퓨터가 까만 색이냐고 했어요.


Juliana: Is it church building?  그 빌딩이 교회예요?

Kathy: She asked if that building is a church. (그녀는 or 줄리아나는) 그 빌딩이 교회냐고 했어요.

To ask is 물어봤어요, but you can still use 했어요 in Korean. As you may know, Korean is one of super hard language, but it is valuable language if you learn it. Watch the same video last week from 2:50 and review it for fourty second please. You can leave a message if you have any question!

“Photo from by parhessiastes on flickr.com”