Bingsuya is a place that seems to be a rundown bingsu cafe in a neighborhood called Gireum, Seoul. My friend and I both heard rumors about this place, and finally decided to go… and it was an eye-opening experience.
1. The store looks like someone’s old garage, but it always has a line outside.
Anyone passing by would wonder why such a shady looking place could be so popular that there is a wait. Only 15 people can fit in this tiny space, so we waited in line for 30 minutes (Saturday night at 6:30). We were the second to last one that was able to sit down before the food ran out.
2. The prices seem too cheap!!!
They range from 500 KRW to 4,000 KRW (50 cents ~ 4 USD). It seems like their goal is to feed poor and hungry students. They serve odeng (fish cakes), hotteok (cinnamon sugar filling pancakes), corndogs (hotdog in Korean), fried dumplings, soondae, mini kimpabs, rice balls, udon noodles, tteokbokki, tater tots, strawberry bingsu, and oreo bingsu.
3. The owner has a great personality.
His sense of humor and the way he interacted with all the customers made me giggle often. My friend and I were motivated to learn more Korean, so we can understand more of his jokes.
He kept on talking to all of the customers in the store and referred to the students as daughter, son, or friends (딸, 아들, 친구들) and adults as president, brother, sister, teacher, etc. (사장님, 형, 누나, 선생님). We were referred to as 선생님 because we said we were English teachers.
Here are some silly things that he said and wrote.
- (When we were finally the first one in line.) Tell your friend that the food is not delicious enough to wait in line for.
- Customer: How long would it take if I order the food to go? Owner: More than two hours. I’m so busy now.
- Owner: I don’t want to serve this soondae to you because it’s a day old.
Customer: It’s okay, I don’t mind.
Owner: Really? It’s not fresh enough in my opinion.
- Oh you’re going to get the food to-go? You better eat it all and take a photo as proof and show it to me tomorrow.
- (When we were like “ooooh~ wow~~” when we saw our food, he said this to the boys.) See? It’s so much better to give food to girls because they appreciate it more. Why can’t you guys show more appreciation?
- Customer: Could I get the assorted fried food to-go?
Owner: Please don’t order that now, it’s gonna take forever.
- There was this customer from Australia once and she would never touch the odeng (fish cakes)… I guess she didn’t like the texture of it… But I’m glad you seem to like it!
- If you come to this store as a couple, the man must pay.
- If you click on the “dislike” button on facebook, you’ll get one serving for free!
- Please don’t come to this store from somewhere faraway. It’s not as delicious as you think it may be. And it’s dangerous for women at night!
- Girls can get the food to-go but if boys ask for that, they get a slap on their face.
- Groups of more than three men are not allowed to enter.
- Corndog: The size is different everyday.
- If I’m feel like being nice that day, I will give some tater tots to the guys.
- Outside food welcome.
- Oreo Bingsu- I make this everyday, but I still can’t proudly recommend this one.
- Strawberry Bingsu- I can highly recommend this one.
- Green tea Bingsu- I sometimes make it. (My Korean is not good enough to fully understand this one.)
4. You will get random extra food that you didn’t order, but you still would only pay for the food that you said you wanted to buy.
As soon as we sat down, we just got a bowl of udon noodles. We started eating with our chopsticks and paper cup. After we started eating we finally made our order: tteokpokki and tater tots(called 동그리 at this store).
We were asked if we want mayonnaise or parmesan cheese powder with our tteokpokki. You can add more as you eat.
While we were waiting for our tater tots, we got some strawberry bingsu that we didn’t order. SO DELICIOUS
After reminding us to eat slowly a few times, and giving us some extra dried seaweed on top of our tteokpokki, we finally got our tater tots. And along with that we got a bingsu re-fill with Oreo toppings and more ice cream.
We were already full at this point and thought that was the end to the extra-food-service, but it was not. We got a second bowl of udon.
After a few bites after this we just couldn’t push ourselves to eat anymore, so we asked him to make it to-go. He put a lid on the tater tot bowl, and then took the bingsu to the back…… and made it into a smoothie for us to take home hahaha
We were extremely full from all this food, but we only paid 2,000 KRW per person…! (Because the tteokpokki was 2,000 KRW and the tater tots were 2,000 KRW.) He won’t accept it if we try to pay him more.
Gireum Bingsuya (길음 빙수야)
Located outside Line 4’s Gireum Station, exit 10. You can see the end of the line from the exit. July 2017 update: Location moved to 16 38-gil Jongam-ro Seongbuk-gu, Seoul (서울 성북구 종암로38길 16). From Line 4’s Gireum Station, exit 10, walk straight, and turn right. Continue walking straight until you see Bing수야~ on your left.
Closed Sundays and some random days when the owner is busy.
Hours: 12pm to whenever food runs out.
Make sure to get there before 7pm for a safe bet.