Cafe Crop is an outdoor cafe right next to Strathfield train station. If you're suffering with this extended summer heat they serve up the best antidote: bingsu or shaved ice. But their presentation is...well unlike any other shave ice!
"That used to be another cafe," says Laura who grew up in Strathfield and is having a nostalgic moment while we roam the streets of Strathfield. We've just had an enormous lunch and are walking it off shopping and browsing before settling our stomachs and slaking our thirst with a big jug of bingus.
Jug of bingsu? Yep that's right. At Cafe Crop they serve up a range of teas, coffees and juices but the thing that most people there are ordering are the bingsus that comes in enormous Pyrex measuring jugs. Bingsus are Korean shave ice where the ice is milk based (as opposed to water based ice). There are four sizes: mini $14.40 (for 1 person), small $25 (2-3 people), medium $45 (4-5 people) and large $65 (6-9 people). At first Laura and I ordered the mini bingsus.
The best selling flavour during summer is the mango bingsu because it is mango season followed by the melon and strawberry. But there's another one that intrigues us and that's the rice cake bingsu based on Injeolmi or Korean rice cakes rolled in roasted soybean powder. I really wanted strawberry as the second bingsu but we both really wanted to try the rice cake one so we go with that as our second choice. We can see them cutting up the mango fresh for the bingsus.
We take a seat in the undercover area decorated with colourful faux wisteria and roses. When they call our number we get up to fetch our bingsus and our faces fall. The mini bingsu is served in a takeaway container and not the pyrex jug which is what we really came for. The friendly guy behind the counter explains that only the small, medium and large ones come in the jugs so we ask if we can upgrade ours and he lets us do that which is nice of them.
The bingus come with a squeezy container of condensed milk that you can add on as much as you want. We start with the mango bingsu that has lots of tiny mochi pieces, fresh mango, mango jelly mango sauce, milk ice and soft serve. Laura adds some condensed milk and we dig in. It's delicious especially with the mango jelly and mango cubes and when you get a bit of everything (and oddly enough, I think there might be too much mochi in this, I know I never thought I'd say this). And when it melts in this heat it's even better. I think the two of us could conceivably share a small one especially after lunch.
We try the rice cake bingsu next. The guy behind the counter described it as this: people who grew up eating it love it but people that don't may not love it the first go and he's spot on with that description. While we liked the rice cake bingsu, the mango bingsu was definitely our favourite. This one was less sweet and the soy bean powder does make the texture a bit drier. It is very generous with the jelly and rice cakes and if you loved it, you'd be a big fan.
So tell me Dear Reader, do you like Injeolmi? Did you grow up eating it? Which bingsu would you choose?
This meal was independently paid for.
1 Strathfield Square, Strathfield NSW 2135
Monday to Friday 11 am–10 pm
Saturday & Sunday 12pm–10:30 pm
Phone: 0416 765 320