On a Tuesday evening, a small, nondescript, white-walled cafe space near Williams is absolutely packed with people — families with strollers, groups of fashionable teens, couples on dates. K-Pop blasts on the speakers while customers line up to order from a tablet as tall as a seven-year-old. Occasionally, a staff member emerges from the cafe’s kitchen holding towering, domed desserts, precariously topped with a tall swirl of whipped cream. Some of the treats come studded with red bean and rice cakes; others wear shrouds of saucy diced mango or strawberries. They’re so colorfully coated in toppings, it’s hard to tell what hides beneath.
This is Snowy Village, the first Oregon location of an international self-described bingsu and French taiyaki cafe chain with a cult following. The cafe opened with a limited menu on March 4, but it has already attracted the attention of Portland-based influencers, posting Instagram reels of spoons diving into cookie-crumble-doused bingsu.
Bingsu, for those uninitiated, is a Korean shaved ice dessert, often served with sweetened dairy and red bean. Over the last few years, bingsu cafes have popped up around the country, offering elaborate versions topped with everything from ice cream to cheesecake pieces. Snowy Village, on the other hand, goes even further on a foundational level: Instead of saturating shaved ice with cream or condensed milk, the cafe shaves a blend of frozen milk and condensed milk, which gives the fluffy iced dessert a texture not unlike freshly shaved mozzarella or Parmesan.
At Snowy Village, this shaved cream — sometimes referred to as “snow cream” — comes topped with a wide range of topping combinations, split into “fruits” or “classic” categories. Fruits like mango, blueberry, or mango arrive on the shop’s bingsu, with a crown of whipped cream. The injeolmi is stacked with red bean, rice cakes, roasted soybean powder, and almonds, while the black sesame swaps the injeolmi powder for black sesame and vanilla ice cream. Other flavors include green tea, espresso, Oreo, taro, and cheesecake.
Like Snowy Village’s bingsu, its take on taiyaki, a filled pancake batter pastry shaped like a fish, is similarly nontraditional. The shop uses a croissant-like dough for its taiyaki, which are available with sweet or savory fillings; sweet fillings range from red bean to Nutella, while the savory versions of the dish include pesto-cheese, pepperoni, and bacon-cheese.
The menu will remain truncated until after March 10, when the cafe’s “soft opening” period ends. Snowy Village is located at 3912 N Vancouver Avenue, #105.