I took a brief break in Los Angeles to visit a dear friend. L.A. for a food loving Korean is a giant candy store. I am particularly fond of a red bean iced treat called ppatbingsu. Koreans enjoy this concoction of shaved ice, red bean, milk and mochi in the heat of summer with friends and family. The serving size is such that one never eats a bowl by oneself and indeed I have never eaten ppatbingsu solo. You can enjoy the usual variations ranging from coffee to roast grain but I had a hankering for matcha this trip.
The version above is from Sul and Beans- a chain from Korea producing the most advanced bingsu I have enjoyed. They produce a special milk snow which is rich but so light in the mouth, it's magical. If you can try only one dessert in L.A., go for it. The generous dusting of matcha is good but nothing special- it's a nice food grade matcha. I preferred their injulmi bingsu more which had a unique nuttiness. Injulmi is a roasted grain rice cake and their house specialty.
The second matcha version I enjoyed is at Okrumong famous for their red beans which they roast in the old fashion way in giant cast iron pots. They mixed the matcha into the ice so the ice was quite green all the way through and was a tad bitter.
What Okrumong excel in is not ppatbingsu- the ice lumped in the usual way slushies do- but a red bean cake called chapsalltuk. If you are a kpop Big Bang fan, this is the cake they are singing about in Bae Bae. Their version is really the best I've ever enjoyed- it's a novel variation with a breaded cover. The chewiness was perfect and the above photo does not do justice to it's deliciousness. I could eat these all day long and kick myself for only buying 10 of these.