I can still remember the yummiest Patbingsu I’ve ever had. It was in Korea. The year was 1998. I was 20 years old, in college, liked to wear overalls (because that was cool at the time) had blue streaks in my hair (because that was so cool at the time too), and the world was my oyster. This was my last visit to Korea. Another visit is way past due! My mom sent me to a summer program for Korean cultural/language education that they had at Handong University In Pohang.
Back to the Patbingsu! It was beautiful…so colorful, constructed almost a foot high, and with so many different mediums, each bite was a delightful discovery. My aunt took me out to town and we went to some trendy café where all the young foreigners hung out. I guess she was going out of her way to make me feel “at home” or something lol. I can’t even remember everything that was in the Patbingsu, but all I know is that it was one that stuck in my mind. I don’t think I have seen one made as creative here in the states. I wish I had pictures of it to share. But guess what happened to all my pictures that I had taken while I was there? I took two disposable cameras worth of pictures, but my DRUNK cousin lost them when we were out drinking. I was quite pissed about that. All the pictures I had taken during my anticlimactic trip were lost! Nothing to show for my memories! Oh well.
Some call Patbingsu the “frozen bibimbap dessert”. It’s so funny because the way it is eaten is so much in fact, like a bibimbap. There are so many colorful components, nicely arranged, each bringing its unique flavor to the dish. And everything is bibyuh-ed (mixed) together and eaten.
I was at Handong the first three weeks of my visit. I was having a miserable time, especially with the food! The program was run like a military camp. They even had that annoying military alarm wake-up announcement each morning at 7a.m. OMG that was the most annoying sound that I still have nightmares about. I stayed at a dorm, sharing the floor with a billion other girls. Using the bathroom was a nightmare. Each morning, there would be a long line for the communal shower. I’ve had things stolen, including shoes! I don’t’ understand why people would steal someone else’s worn shoes. That’s just gross. I can’t believe my mom sent me to a place like that. Maybe she was trying to punish me for something I did lol. But seriously, I don’t think any of the visitors really had any idea of how the program was going to be conducted since it was their first year. Handong is located in Pohang, which is near Pusan…totally boonies