Ice cream, Ice cream, we all scream for Ice cream. Are you in need of something cold and sweet that’s delicious during this hot summer in Seoul, South Korea? Well, I have the best ice cream places for you around the Seoul area, but first I want to tell you the history of Bingsu, gelato, traditional ice cream, and vegan ice cream. After spilling some knowledge about the history of these various versions of ice cream I am going to tell you about these ice cream places I visited. The ice cream shops are AcheMi, Sulbing Myeongdong, Fell + Cole Hongdae Main Branch, and Aratto. My first stop was Sulbing Myeongdong.
Sulbing Myeongdong opened in the summer of 2021. Sulbing is a very popular dessert café chain that is known for their traditional Korean dessert Bingsu. Bingsu is a shaved ice dessert with different toppings. Bingsu came about in the Joseon Dynasty through trading with China. People started to mix ice and fruit together to lower their body temperature during those extremely hot days of summer. The government would have crushed ice with red bean paste as a topping. Now the ice is much finer and looks like snow instead of crushed ice. Eventually the dessert became known to everyone in South Korea and around the world. When you order Bingsu it always comes in a large bowl because it is meant to be shared with your friends or family. There are so many choices for bingsu at Sulbing like Chocolate Browny Snow Ice, Tiramisu Snow Ice, Green Tea Chocolate Sulbing, and their new bingsu for the summer Strawberry Cheese Melon Snow Ice. If you have never tried any bingsu I highly recommend that you try it at least once or twice. Now that you know about a delicious cold traditional Korean dessert, let’s get into how gelato became a big thing in South Korea.
27 Myeongdong 3-gil, Jung-gu, Seoul
서울특별시 중구 명동3길 27
How to get there:
Euljiro 1 (il)-ga Station (line 2, exit 6). 4 minute walk
Now, before we get into how gelato came to South Korea; we have to talk about the history of how gelato came to be. Gelato means frozen in Italian. If you do not know, gelato is from Italy. No one knows exactly where it came from but from historians it was said that modern day gelato was created by a man named Bernardo Buontalenti who lived in Florence, Italy. The court of Catherina dei Medici took a liking to his frozen sweet treat that it ended up becoming known all over Italy and all around Europe. Soon everyone started opening their own version of shops and passed on their recipes to generations to come.
Then at some point in the 1770s gelato made its way to the United States but because traditional ice cream it did not become popular till the 1900s. South Korea really did not get into gelato until the late 2000s when people would come back from their international travels and tell everyone about this random frozen treat they encountered. They would try to find similar desserts in their own country but then decided to try to make their own. That is when stores started to pop up everywhere especially in Seoul and Busan. Since you know a little history about gelato, let’s talk about my next stop, Aratto.
The gelato shop I visited first was Aratto. They opened their doors in the winter of 2021. They had several different flavors to choose from such as coconut, Oreo, strawberry, and rice milk. I would highly recommend you try their rice milk flavor. It is a cute small shop in Hongdae that have little seats outside that are ice cream cones and they also have seating inside facing the Bob Marley mural. It is surrounded by fun little shops and restaurants.
When you get your gelato, they make sure that it has style by adding a little cookie or a little ice cream cone so that you will want to post images of your ice cream on your social media to get others to visit. Also, this place is pet friendly so you can get your gelato and sit outside with your pet. For the journey of ice cream, I would have to say it was pretty good gelato. If you are in Hongdae you should give it a try. The next ice cream shop is another gelato ice cream shop but they also sell traditional ice cream called Fell and Cole, so I will give you a brief introduction on the history of traditional ice cream.
Wausan-ro 29bar-gil, Mapo-gu, Seoul
(Room 103 on the first floor of the Siseong Building)
서울특별시 마포구 와우산로29바길 (시성빌딩1층 103호)
How to get there:
Hongik Univ. Station (line 2, exit 7). 9 minute walk
You can find some sort of information on traditional ice cream all the way back to ancient times. The Chinese are the ones believed to have made the first form of an ice cream treat using rice and milk which was packed into snow to freeze it. During Medieval times in Europe, they started to create ice cream that was basically like sherbet. They would use fruit juices, honey and snow or ice to create their sherbet. In the 17th century, people started to have recipes of “cream ice” in English cookbooks. They would have mixing cream, sugar and various flavorings and then they would freeze it to create their version of ice cream. Over time ice cream has evolved into all of these different sweet treats for everyone to enjoy. Now that you know some history on traditional ice cream let me tell you about this awesome ice cream shop, Fell and Cole.
Fell and Cole
Fell and Cole have some delicious ice cream as well. Their shop is pretty spacious compared to other places. They are also pet friendly like Aratto. When I visited, I had their Butter Caramel with Smoked Sea Salt, and Fleury de Lait which is made of milk, cream, and egg yolk. I really enjoyed both scoops of their ice cream. They even let you taste the ice cream before you order, which I think is wonderful. The owner of Fell and Cole creates all of their flavors. They also had Roasted Pistachio, Blueberry Banana, Fresh Lemon Sorbet, and Honey Chestnut. There are just so many choices that it is so hard to just choose one. For my next and final stop on this frozen train, I am headed to AcheMi and the history of vegan ice cream.
12:00-21:00 Sunday – Thursday
12:00-22:00 Friday – Saturday
310-11 Sangsu-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul
서울특별시 마포구 상수동 310-11
How to get there:
Sangsu Station (Line 6, Exit 1). 3 minute walk
I want to tell you a brief history lesson on vegan ice cream. Vegan ice cream was created around 1899 by Almeda Lambert from Battle Creek, Michigan. She released her vegetarian cookbook “Guide for Nut Cookery” and it had recipes that showcased ice cream with no dairy and using nuts, sugar, and vanilla. After Almeda Lambert, someone by the name of Arao Itano was the first person to create a soy-based ice cream in 1918. Then in 1922 Lee Len Thuey from Indiana was the first person ever to file a patent for soy ice cream. Most vegan ice creams are made of almond milk, soy milk, coconut milk, oat milk, and cashew milk. After learning the history of vegan ice cream, let's move on to the AcheMi where you can find vegan ice cream.
AcheMi has been open since the summer of 2019. They recently had their fourth anniversary of being open. All of their ice creams contain soy milk. Just in case you have a wheat allergy there are some ice creams that also contain wheat but it tells you under each name of the ice creams. What I thought was really cute about their shop is that they had all these drawings created by kids to celebrate their fourth anniversary. It really made the place feel special and cute. I think this is great for everyone who cannot have gelato or your traditional ice cream. This place will take you on a different journey with their ice cream than like any other. They have so many different flavors such as blueberry lavender, watermelon punch, and cranberry orange cheesecake. When I went, I got the watermelon punch on a cone and it was very good. The watermelon punch tasted just like watermelon. They also sell two different types of bingsu that are vegan right now. The bingsus are Snowflake Peach and Plum Bingsu, and Snowflake Bingsu Injeolmi Bingsu.
12:00-21:00 Tuesday – Sunday
Closed Every Monday
Changgyeonggung-ro 318, Seongbuk-gu, Seoul (First Floor)
서울시 성북구 창경궁로 318 1층
How to get there:
Hansung Univ. Station (line 4, exit 4). 2 minute walk
It is something special when you can find all these different types of ice cream shops throughout Seoul, South Korea. There is something out there for every single person to enjoy from kids to a couple of adults just wanting something cold and sweet. I really love that I was able to learn about all of these places. I am sure everyone out there has a favorite flavor of ice cream; for me it would probably have to be strawberry. I feel like you can never go wrong with strawberry ice cream no matter if it is a bingsu, gelato, vegan ice cream, or just that good old traditional ice cream. The strawberry flavor is always very delicious. When it comes to these ice cream shops, I cannot say which is my favorite because they were all really good in their own ways. If you are in Seoul or even if you are across the world somewhere you should go out when you have time and try a new ice cream shop and see if there is something you enjoyed about it. Go with a group of friends or your family and scream for ice cream. I hope that you enjoyed this blog and maybe found a new ice cream spot for you to try.