As the summer season sets in, there's nothing quite like the simple pleasure of savoring fresh fruit under the warm sun.
Whether you are immersing yourself in vibrant city life, hopping to festivals and cultural events, or simply enjoying a relaxing time at the beach, fruit can quench your thirst and save you from reaching for sugary snacks between meals.
Not only are summer fruits tasty delights, they also provide essential nutrients, such as vitamins, minerals and powerful antioxidants.
The other benefit of fruit is their portability. Whether enjoyed as a bottled juice or carried conveniently in a picnic basket, fruit is lightweight and makes for an ideal and nutritious travel companion.
Today, fresh fruit also offers endless possibilities for culinary creativity.
Euljiro Mundeok Coffee
Situated in a narrow alley near Euljiro 3-ga Station Exit No. 11, Euljiro Mundeok Coffee is a hidden gem tucked away on the second floor of an old building. Opened as a coffee shop in early 2022, it has gained popularity as a unique fruit bingsu cafe, often attracting long lines on weekends.
The cafe uses seasonal fruits to make their bingsu, with pineapple bingsu and apple watermelon bingsu currently on offer. Both are presented in a unique fashion, featuring marble-like fruit shapes delicately arranged atop a bed of shaved ice made with fruit juice extract. Since the bingsu does not contain any milk, the flavors of the shaved ice are more refreshing, as if biting into a piece of freshly chilled fruit.
MJ Kim, the owner of Euljiro Mundeok Coffee, told The Korea Herald how the cafe selects its fruit. "Even though a pineapple may look appealing on the outside, we try our best to avoid both overly ripe and underripe ones," Kim said. As for the apples and watermelons, Kim sources them from a farm in Nonsan, South Chungcheong Province, every week. Kim hinted that a new peach bingsu edition is set to debut in late July, also sourced directly from a farm in Jochiwon, South Chungcheong Province.
Another dessert in which Kim takes pride is his strawberry pavlova, which he recommends pairing with the bingsu -- an ideal portion for two guests to enjoy.
Euljiro Mundeok Coffee's pineapple bingsu costs 19,000 won, and the apple watermelon bingsu is 28,000 won.
If planning a visit to Gyeongbokgung Palace, include a stop at U-Dally, a cafe specializing in fresh juices, in your itinerary. Located just a minute's walk from Gyeongbokgung Station, U-Dally boasts an extensive menu of over 30 different types of juice combinations and a pleasant view from the second floor.
"We refrain from using syrups in our juices and instead focus on adding a higher quantity of fruits rather than diluting them with excessive water," said Choi Jun-young, head manager of U-Dally's Gyeongbokgung store.
During the summer season, the plum juice and watermelon juice stand out as the two most popular options, offering a familiar and refreshing taste. However, for those seeking a unique Korean fruit juice experience, Choi highly recommends the hongsi (persimmon) juice.
U-Dally offers free recyclable juice bottles that showcase different designs each season. Those who bring their own bottle receive a 500 won discount.
All juices are priced at 6,000 won
For a delectable dessert that offers a fruity twist without being overly sweet, try Hongmandang's rice cakes.
Located in Myeong-dong, this small takeout-only shop stands out with its distinctive signage shaped like chapssal tteok, or sticky rice cake, with a strawberry in its center.
Positioning themselves as a "fruit salon," the shop showcases a well-organized selection of approximately 10 varieties of chapssal tteok, featuring fruit like strawberries, bananas, kiwis, grapes, pineapples, oranges and more.
Each treat comprises three layers of deliciousness: a rice cake base, a delicate layer of red bean paste and a generous chunk of fresh fruit.
If you are lucky, you may be able to see how each piece is made.
Once purchased, the pieces can be stored in a cool place and kept for 60 hours. Prices range from 2,800 won to 3,800 won a piece.