When summertime rolls around, my heart, mind, and stomach turn toward frosty treats. Here in Queens we’re lucky to have so many to choose from. There’s everything from old school institutions like Eddie’s Sweet Shop and The Lemon Ice King of Corona to new fangled creations like Snow Days, plus shaved ice creations from all over the globe, including Mexico,Taiwan, the Dominican Republic, and Korea.
Pat bing soo, or Korean shaved ice typically consists of a small glacier of ice topped with red beans, fresh fruit, and condensed milk. Lately a newer version of the treat has appeared on the scene, a “well-being” variety that skips the red beans and condensed milk, favoring other ingredients like nuts and mochi. My favorite version of this pat bing soo subspecies can be had at Ye Dang, a shop on the further reaches of Queens’ vast K-tropolis.
Named for a rail station in Seoul, Ye Dang is more serene than most depots and shaved ice parlors. Classical music and warm woods evoke a Zen like atmosphere.
“You have a Korean friend?” the lady behind the counter asked as I handed over $8.99 for a cinnamon shaved ice, or soo jung kwa patbingsoo. While I waited for my order of edible air conditioning I perused the selection of rice cakes. Soon I was presented with a brass bowl. Dried persimmons, rice cake, jujubes, pine nuts, and cinnamon powder topped the not-so-permafrost.
I can’t speak for the health benefits, but Ye Dang’s cinnamon shaved ice, with its combination of fruit and nuts proved to be sweet, spicy, and above all refreshing. One of the best things about it, apart from the brass bowl that kept the whole affair ice cold, were the crunchy candied jujubes. I might just have to head out to Bayside for a bowl this week.
Ye Dang, 210-03 Northern Boulevard, Bayside, 718-631-0088