Sulbing (설빙) – The Korean Dessert Cafe With Aggressive Globalization Plans

Just across the road from Haeundae Market along Gunam-ro (구남로), is Sulbing (설빙) – a Korean dessert cafe that started in 2013. My Korean friend had told me that Sulbing is one of the most popular dessert chains in Korea serving Bingsu (빙수), a Korean shaved ice dessert with sweet toppings such as chopped fruit, condensed milk, fruit syrup, and Azuki beans. Thus when I spotted the cafe across the road on the way to the market, I already made up my mind to leave some room for the dessert later. 😛

Although Sulbing only opened its 1st dessert shop in April 2013, within 8 months, by the end of 2013, it had expanded its operations to 41 cafes. By the end of the following year (2014), its total number of cafes had grown to 490, spread all over South Korea. Really wonder what did the owner do to sustain the popularity & make the brand a huge success? In fact, it has also expanded overseas since 2015, starting from China. Currently, they are planning to set up cafes in other countries as well. The Bingsu popularity has spread to so many countries all over the world, it’s kind of become a regional, if not global phenomenon!

Sulbing Busan 1

Sulbing’s Haeundae outlet

The Haeundae outlet that I visited is located on level 2 of a building with other restaurants, near exit 5 of Haeundae Station. Not sure was it because of the time I arrived at the cafe (12 to 1 pm on a Monday), or was it because it wasn’t exactly a sunny or warm day, I was their only customer! It was only when I started eating, that a few other customers walked in. The cafe is tastefully decorated with a cosy & relaxing feel. It was quite a spacious cafe, think at least can sit 50 customers at any 1 time? I was a little overwhelmed by the variety of items on the menu & took quite some time to look through & decide. But the counter staff was very friendly, she didn’t look impatient or hurry me at all.

I decided to play safe & order the best-selling item on the menu – Injeolmi Sulbing (인절미설빙) since everyone seems to be raving about this online.

Injeolmi Sulbing at KRW7,000 (S$8.40)

Injeolmi Sulbing at KRW7,000 (S$8.40)

When I went to collect my bowl of shaved ice dessert topped with generous heapings of injeolmi (인절미), I went “wow” silently in my heart as it was a big bowl. Glad I didn’t eat excessively at Haeundae Market earlier haha. In case you don’t know what injeolmi is, it is a type of nutritious rice cake made by steaming & pounding glutinous rice flour which are shaped into small pieces & covered with steamed dried sweet bean powder.

Just like the name “Sulbing” – which means “Snow Ice” or 雪冰 in Chinese, the shaved ice was so smooth, it melted quickly in my mouth. The injeolmi was so fine, it glided down my throat easily too. Very delectable bowl of dessert I must say, no wonder it’s so hugely popular! Personally, I don’t think I can find a Korean cafe in Singapore that serves Injeolmi Bingsu as wonderful as this. Probably the closest would be Nunsongyee (눈송이), but the price is almost double that of Sulbing… Before I realised, I had finished the big bowl of yummy dessert, oops… 😛

Just a little more information about Sulbing Korean dessert cafe, it opened its 1st cafe in Busan. The original cafe is located between Nampo Station & Jagalchi Station in the vibrant Nampo-dong shopping district. If you wish to visit the flagship store, from Nampo Station (남포역, Busan Subway Line 2) exit 7, turn left & go straight. Keep left at the 3-way intersection until you see Sulbing above a Lacoste shop on the 2nd floor. Although I didn’t visit this flagship store, I still feel great that I had my 1st taste of the awesome dessert in its birth city. 🙂

If you haven’t tried this Korean dessert cafe with aggressive globalization plans yet, don’t hesitate anymore! Enjoy~

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