Conventional wisdom says we should enjoy hot meals and beverages in the winter and eat frozen treats when the weather is hot. But I suggest not waiting until summer to visit East Lansing’s Snowflake Tea & Dessert Café to taste its specialty, an icy Korean dessert called patbingsu.

Patbingsu, also known as bingsu or bingsoo, is a shaved ice treat. Softer than the crunchy snow cones you get at the ballpark but more powdery than ice cream, patbingsu has the texture of a fresh, pure snowfall. It's traditionally flavored with sweet azuki beans or condensed milk. Snowflake offers several varieties, as well as occasional specials.

The strawberry bingsoo is topped with fruit, mochi (a marshmallow-like gum my made from a rice paste), strawberry syrup and a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Once you dig through the delicious toppings, the patbingsu itself light and sweet.

Halfway through the dessert, another layer of strawberry syrup awaits for you to mix up with the remaining milky ice, keeping things from getting too plain. A single cup serving was enough for myself and a friend, but Snowflake also serves its patbingsu in large bowl servings, making it an easy dish to share with your buddies.

Snowflake also offers bubble tea and other seasonal East Asian snacks like injeolmi, a Korean rice cake. Thanks to its cozy atmosphere and tasty desserts, I'd be happy dropping by this shop in any season.


Snowflake Tea & Dessert Café
Noon-10 p.m. Monday- Saturday; Noon-9 p.m. Sunday
245 Ann St., East Lansing
(517) 220-2988, facebook. com/snowflakedessertcafe

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