Baskin-Robbins always takes me back to childhood. I have so many memories of going to Baskin-Robbins with my family, whether it be a post-dinner treat or a pick-me-up after a sad event. When I first moved from Seoul to Dubai, I was shocked to learn that the ice cream flavours differed between the two countries. In Dubai, there was no Shooting Star flavour, Strawberry In Love flavour, Mom Is A Alien flavour or any of the other flavours I grew up eating in Seoul. Moreover, imagine my devastation when I moved from Dubai to Calgary and discovered that there is no Baskin-Robbins anywhere in Calgary. Nope, not a single store. Since then, I’ve always made sure to get my fill of Baskin-Robbins when I visit my family in Seoul every summer.
Now, I hinted at this earlier, but Korean Baskin-Robbins is different from any other place in the world. It is simply extraordinary. There are so many more different flavours, many of which are tailored to Korean people’s taste buds. If you go to Cheongdam-dong, which is one of the more bougie areas in Seoul, there is even an exclusive Baskin-Robbins store that sells 100 different flavours of ice cream. Not only that, but they also sell ice cream cakes, ice cream pizza, and ice cream mochi. There is even a display case filled with plastic spoons signed by Korean celebrities who have visited the Cheongdam-dong Baskin-Robbins.
The official name for the 100 flavour Baskin-Robbins store in Cheongdam-dong is Baskin-Robbins Brown. It is unique and one-of-a-kind, only to be found in Korea. As an avid Baskin-Robbins lover, visiting this store was on my summer bucket list. Luckily, I had the chance to visit it with my dad a few days ago. When we arrived at the store, I was shocked by how huge it was. There were four long display cases filled with every imaginable flavour of ice cream, as well as coolers stacked with different ice cream-incorporated treats.
While there still were your typical Baskin-Robbins 31 flavours, there were also flavours unique to Korea and the store itself. Some flavours that stood out to me were the Ssal Tteok flavour, Sweet Potato Cheese flavour, and the Green Tea Cookie flavour. The Ssal Tteok flavour is a twist on the traditional Korean rice cake, injeolmi. It consists of rice and sweet roasted bean ice cream base with chewy rice cake bits and crunchy roasted soybean clumps. I love Korean-fusion-style food, and this flavour seemed very interesting to me. The Sweet Potato Cheese flavour is also sort of Korean-fusion. Korean sweet potatoes differ from Western ones in that they are smaller, more yellow, and much, much sweeter. They are a staple food in Korea and are a beloved wintertime snack. This ice cream flavour takes the more traditional sweet potato and blends it with cheese. Although it might sound strange, this combination leads to a creamy, delicious flavour. The Green Tea Cookie flavour consists of a green tea base with chocolate cookie chunks. The slight bitterness of the green tea helps balance out the sweetness of the chocolate cookie. In Korea, it is very common to see sweet tastes balanced out with other tastes such as savoury, bitter, or sour. This may be because traditional Korean foods and desserts are not too sweet, so people have a lower sweetness tolerance.
Another flavour that caught my eye was the monthly special, Ice Chodang Oksusu (Sweet Corn Cheese) flavour. This flavour has a sweet corn and cheese base, with crunchy corn chip pieces inside. The corn-cheese combo is loved by many people across the globe. However, did you know that this combo was first created in Korea? In Korea, it was first enjoyed as a side dish or with alcohol such as Soju. Nowadays though, you can find lots of corn-cheese things from corn-cheese cake to corn-cheese tteokbokki. Monthly special flavours in Korea are usually inspired by the trendiest thing at the time, such as a cartoon character or a movie. This month’s flavour was inspired by the new Minions movie and took on a yellow theme. Past monthly specials drew inspiration from other hot things such as Kkobuk chips, and Squid Game.
For indecisive people like me, the Baskin-Robbins Brown store had a special tasting menu option, where you can try ten different flavours for a relatively low price. As I was still to full from my lunch, I didn’t end up trying the tasting menu, but I will if I get the chance to visit again. If you are visiting Korea, this store is a MUST GO. Some flavours I recommend are the Strawberry In Love flavour (cheesecake base with strawberry and chocolate chunks), Shooting Star flavour (cherry and soda base with popping candy), and Chaltteok Congtteok flavour (roasted soybean base with mochi and black sesame crunch bits). Even if you are already familiar with Baskin-Robbins, I promise you, Korea’s Baskin-Robbins will blow you away.