With Korean summers being extremely hot and humid, children and adults alike often reach towards ice cream bars to cool down. Found in essentially every grocery store and convenience store in the country, ice cream bars have been a traditional summer snack since the mid 1900s!! So if you’re ever stuck at a Korean/Asian grocery store, trying to choose a icy treat, here are some of the most classic choices, listed in order of year released!
누가바 (Nougat Bar) - From 1974
Taste: Vanilla ice cream surrounded by a milk chocolate shell.
The oldest ice cream bar listed here, Nougat bar does not actually contain nuts like the candy Nougat, although the vanilla ice cream in the Nougat bar does have a slight Nougat flavour. The milk chocolate outer shell adds some extra flavor for chocolate lovers!
비비빅 (B.B.Big) - From 1975
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Taste: Red bean ice cream bar
It’s easy to see why my mom and aunt chose this ice cream bar as my introduction to popsicles. B.B.Big, a summer favorite among many adults, is sweet and creamy, but lacks the artificial taste that is common for many popsicles. Made with cream and red beans, this ice cream bar is perfect for those who would prefer something less sweet.
바밤바 (Babam Bar) - From 1976
Taste: Chestnut flavoured ice cream bar
Korean roasted chestnuts are often sold in the wintertime at night markets. Babam Bar transforms this common Korean snack into a ~cooler~ version (literally!) perfect for summer. If you like nutty and sweet flavours, this ice cream bar is perfect for you!
돼지바 (Dwe Ji Bar)- From 1983
Taste: Vanilla ice cream filled with strawberry jam on the inside, with a crunchy chocolate outside
Translated literally into Pig bar - hence the pig on the wrapper - Dwe Jee Bar has a rich strawberry flavouring on the inside, which mixes with the vanilla ice cream surrounding it. The outside gives the bar its “crispy” and “crunch”, due to the cookie crumb chocolate layer.
캔디바 - From 1985
Taste: Vanilla ice bar with soda flavoured coating on the outside
As seen from its name, 캔디바 (Candy Bar), this ice bar has a sweeter taste, geared towards younger kids. The bar coating is soda flavoured, which makes for a very refreshing treat during the summer!
월드콘 - From 1986
Taste: Vanilla ice cream cone with a layer of chocolate coating, all surrounded by a waffle cone.
If you like ice cream cones, the 월드콘 (World Cone) would be perfect for you! A classic vanilla ice cream cone, World Cone adds flavour and crunch with the chocolate layer surrounding the ice cream, and its waffle cone. For convenience and cleanliness, there is also a lot more chocolate at the bottom of the cone to prevent the ice cream from dripping everywhere! World Cone is so popular in Korea that its sales still increase every year, so be sure to check it out!
싸만코 (Samanco) - From 1991
Taste: Vanilla ice cream with a layer of red bean on top, all inside a thin batter crust
One of the most commonly found Korean ice creams outside of Korea, Samanco is a fish-shaped ice cream sandwich. Unlike its exterior appearance, the ‘fish’ is not fishy at all, with its vanilla ice cream + red bean mix inside. The layer of red bean is thin yet rich, so this ice cream sandwich is perfect for any red bean lovers!
Melona - From 1992
Taste: Honeydew Melon Ice Cream Bar
An easy treat to find at any Korean grocery store in the US, anyone who wants to ~indulge in refreshing~ (their official slogan) should grab a Melona bar! With a refreshing, creamy yet fruity taste, it’s easy to see why 26 years after its release, Melona still holds a special place in many people’s hearts (myself included) as the representation of Korean summers. Due to its popularity, Melona now comes in 4 more different flavors aside from the original honeydew melon - Banana, Mango, Strawberry, and Coconut.