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The delicious and weird world of novelty ice cream in Korea

I’m not going to lie, this post only started because I wanted to eat a lot of ice cream with an excuse (it’s for an entry!). But in all reality the novelty ice cream scene in Korea is amazing. For between ₩300-₩2500 (~30 cents to 2.50 usd) you can get a delicious treat from any of the grocery or convenience stores dotted on every corner. Most freezers will have the same basic bars, cones and tubes I’m mentioning here but if you see something different grab it! Newer bar tend to be short lived and unique. If you are abroad, check out your local Korean / Asian grocery store. You might have to buy a box rather than a single bar but it will be worth it. Here is a list of the many bars you’ll see around and how they rate:

The Best

메가톤 Megaton –  It looks like nothing special, just a big square of ice cream. But if I could export only one of these back home it would be this. Megaton has a decadent toasty caramel flavor and the ice cream has chewy texture that makes it similar to milk caramels. Extremely unique to any other ice cream, must try!

누가바 Nougat Bar – Classic and always cheap, the nougat bar has been around since 1974. It has a rich tasting vanilla ice cream and a super chocolate-y outer shell. It’s not listed as actually having any nougat in it, but there is definitely a nice nutty flavor. Reminds me of a soft dilly bar from Dairy Queen.

메로나 Melona – You should be able to find these! Every Asian grocery store I’ve been to has them. It’s a nice creamy fruit bar that comes in 4 flavors: Honeydew melon, Banana, Mango, and Strawberry. Super refreshing without being a popsicle.

설레임 Milkshake – Milkshakes in a pouch! These has a very intense vanilla flavor. They are usually rock hard straight out of the freezer so you spend about 5 – 10 minutes mixing it to your favorite consistency. These are great for the peak of summer when you watch something that won’t melt all over your hand.

 

 

The Good

옥동자 Okdongja Strawberry –  A soft and creamy strawberry flavor that isn’t overpowering. This bar has three layers: an outer creamy ‘ice’ strawberry shell, a thick white chocolate layer, and a cookie and cheesecake ice cream center. The only drawback is the chocolate & cream center only go half way down the bar.

왕수박 Watermelon bar – A cute and refreshing popsicle. The pink section is watermelon flavored with chocolate ‘seeds’ and the rind is lime. Delicious and cute!

돼지바 Pig bar – Another classic bar in Korea and no, it’s not pork flavored.  Similar to a lot of novelty ice cream bars around the world, this bar has a chocolate outer shell covered in crunchy cookie crumbs, vanilla ice cream, and a strawberry jam center.

와일드바디 Wild Body – This is a fun bar that I recently finally tried. It’s a strong sweet coffee-flavored ice cream with swirls of chocolate. The chocolate is solid and makes for a crunchy contrast to the creamy coffee. The ice cream is a less creamy than I’d like but overall it’s a solid option.

 

 

The Meh

옥동자 Okdongja Cookies and cream – This is the same as the strawberry bar above but in the cookies and cream flavour. Unlike the strawberry, the cookies and cream is lacking. The outer shell is more like a flavored ice so when you finish the section of milk chocolate and a cookies and cream you are left with only a sugary vanilla ice (ice baby).

스크류 Screw bar – If you are a popsicle fan you might like this! It’s an apple and strawberry blend with a hint of lemon in a corkscrew bar. You’ll see these these in all ice cream bins but it’s just a too simple for me.

빵또아 Pangtoa – I love a good ice cream sandwich so my expectations are usually pretty high for them. This one has a tasty cookies and cream filling; however instead of a soft cookie outside, it’s a soft white bread (think wonderbread). It’s a literal ice cream sandwich. Not bad, just not what I look for in an ice cream sandwich.

죠스 Jaws – Another simple popsicle. This one is layered in two parts: an outer orange shell and strawberry center. They get extra points for the shark shape!

 

 

The Weird

Note: Weird does not mean bad

인절미 통통 Injeolmi Bar – To understand this bar first I’ll explain Injeolmi, it’s a popular traditional pounded rice cake covered in cooked powdered soybeans. The bar has a thin soybean flavored chocolate coating, vanilla ice cream, and actual rice cake inside. This bar is delicious and definitely worth a try!

빙빙바Bing Bing Bar – If you are unfamiliar with Asian desserts this bar might be a little scary to you because of the sweet red beans. The bar has a red bean ice cream outer shell, sweet red bean mix, and condensed milk filling. It’s like an intense patbingsu in a bar!

수수바 Sweet Corn – Give me red beans and rice cakes but corn ice cream? This version is a sweet corn ice cream with real kernels. Sweet corn is a pretty popular common with other varieties even shaped like a corn cob.

싸만코 Samanco – A classic ice cream treat shaped like a fish. The outside is a wafer exterior and the inside has a red bean filling with vanilla ice cream. It’s a simple treat in another fun shape. if you like red beans, you’ll like this!

 

While I’ve mentioned quite a lot here, this is just the start of some of the treats in Korea. I haven’t even touched on the cones, other sandwiches, and tubes (similar to the milkshake bag). Sounds like a future excuse for a part two!

Tried anything interesting that I should know about? Let me know in the comments!

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