Bingsu is a Korean dessert made from red beans and milk flakes, and this lakeside cafe serves it in a variety of flavours including mango, matcha, cookies and cream, and strawberry.
The cafe was opened in 2016 by Dong Myoung Yang and his partner Kim H Seok. Mr Yang moved to Vietnam from Korea and had prior experience in the restaurant business. He started Cafe BingGo with the intention of popularising bingsu in Vietnam and he is proud of his most recent venture. Once he had settled on a good location, a colonial-style house overlooking West Lake, Mr Yang set to work creating the menu and made the bingsu selection its main attraction.
There’s the traditional bingsu, which is layered with snow-like vanilla flakes and syrupy red beans. It’s rich but manageable as the milk flakes are light. A bingsu starts at around VND70,000 for a small and VND100,000 for a large depending on the flavour. Even the smaller size is more than enough for one person with an average appetite. The cafe also offers a selection of cakes and other desserts like tiramisu and red velvet cake if milk flakes don’t sound appealing.
The menu also has a small selection of Korean savoury dishes and other finger foods like hash browns and French fries if you aren’t a dessert person. Cafe BingGo’s coffee selection is also on point, offering both Vietnamese coffee and the usual lattes and Americanos made with locally sourced beans.
The fresh juices and coffees are presented beautifully in jugs and mason jars. The watermelon juice and latte set off the sweetness of the milk flake dessert nicely, and make for some Instagram-worthy beverages. Juices are priced between VND30,000 and VND60,000.
Mixing Business & Pleasure
The cafe has three floors and two terraces. It’s a great space for a quiet meeting and for dessert-loving business professionals to tuck themselves away in one of the many rooms to work in peace. As Mr Yang says: “The second floor with a terrace overlooking the lake is great for lovers and a popular date spot in the evenings with the perfect lake view.”
The decor, handpicked by Mr Yang, is slightly mismatched and eclectic. There is a modern European feel to the cafe with its intricate black-and-white tiled floors and white wooden bay windows. Cityscapes line the walls alongside some cartoon-like illustrations of characters I don’t recognise.
Although Cafe BingGo serves some excellent sweet treats, Mr Yang feels that the cafe hasn’t yet quite fulfilled its potential. The savoury menu is set for a revamp and there’s a lot more to be done with the space. Regardless, Cafe BingGo is a good place for a date, a quiet work space or just a novel dessert experience with a great view of West Lake.
Cafe BingGo is located at 11 Nguyen Dinh Thi, Tay Ho, Hanoi and is open every day from 7am to 11pm. For more information, go to facebook.com/Cafebinggovn
Photos by Julie Vola