Shaved ice goes by many names and faces throughout Asia: baobing in China, kakigōri in Japan, bingsu in Korea, ais kacang in Malaysia, and nam khaeng sai in Thailand. William Shakespeare famously said, “Shaved ice by any other name would smell as sweet” (ok, we might have twisted it a bit), but whatever you call it, an icy treat is always a favorite remedy for summer heat.
The shaved ice at Elmar Offwhite is slightly different from your typical Thai-style nam khaeng sai: it has a much smoother, fluffier, and more powdery ice consistency—sort of like freshly fallen snow. Flavor-wise, the level of sweetness is also milder, so you are able to enjoy this icy treat without going on a mad sugar rush.
Its signature melon bingsu isn’t named Smoky Melon for nothing. If you’ve never experienced love at first sight, you probably will now. Visually, think of the heavenly and juicy taste of fresh melon balls coyly peeking out from a curtain of white smoke, its icy mist bringing a feeling of refreshing coolness to your skin. In your mouth, the delicate sweetness of melon contrasts with the crunchiness of the cornflakes, while the tender ice flakes provide a cool and fluffy sensation. You just can’t get enough of it, which is not a problem, because it comes in a noodle-bowl-sized pot that is big enough to satiate your sweet tooth. The serving size is probably big enough to be shared among a few people, but the reality is that each customer usually orders one for themselves. And finishes it. And orders more. Alternatively, you can always level up and go for the larger size (Smoky Melon is available in small for 225 THB and medium for 395 THB).
Not a fan of melon? No problem. There are dozens of treats at your disposal here. The newest addition to this addictive list of desserts is the Banoffee Bingsu (available in S for 215 THB and M for 325 THB), which tempts you with aromatic caramel and crunchy Oreo powder. Other fruity bingsu variations are also available: mango, strawberry, Oreo (as cocoa beans grow on trees, chocolate is fruit, sort of); you name it, they probably got it.
Apart from bingsu, the café also has mango and sticky rice, chunky Japanese-style toast, and decadently delicious drinks to help you cool down on a hot afternoon, enjoy with friends, drown out your sorrow, heal a heartbreak, calm down your PMS, or suit whatever mood you are in.
Elmar Offwhite is located at Tha Maharaj, Maharaj Road. It is open daily from 10:30am to 9pm. Find out more at facebook.com/elmarcoffee.