Mealtop (Santa Clara, CA)

7:30:00 AM

Simple, Delicious Patbingsoo in a Mall

How did a 30 year old Korean shaved ice shop end up in the first floor of Valleyfair Mall surrounded by a children’s play corner, Macy’s and a Lego’s store?

That’s what I like to know.

From the second time I visited. Very messy. 
When I first heard about Mealtop opening from my friend, YL, my first thoughts were: “if this shaved ice place is so well known in South Korea, why didn’t I see it when I was there?” Now that I think about it, I was so busy trying to soak in the scenes in the few days I was in Korea that searching for patbingsoo was one of the last things on my mind…

Mealtop is a 30 year old Korean Patbingsoo establishment in Seoul, Korea. Instead of the “everything-but-the-kitchen-sink” approach that other Korean shaved ice places adhere to, Mealtop stick to the basics (but done with perfection) and that’s why it works so wellless is more! Case in point: In-N-Out.

My friends and I made a visit some time last August to try out the new place and have since then been there again one more time. The interior is minimalist, but inviting with a few tables and chairs for people to sit, but not nearly enough if you have a huge group of friends or family.

Simple menu. 
The menu is also short and straight to the point. When we first visited, they only offered four variations of shaved ice: original (milk), green tea, coffee and fruit (strawberry). When I paid a visit last month though, I saw that they added two more flavors: cereal grain and yogurt.

Much nicer presentation the first time around. 
They only come in one size and costs $4.95 regardless of the flavor you choose. Strawberry seems to be a popular choice with kids while original, green tea and coffee are more tailored for adults.

Beyond that, they sell coffee, bottled water and soda, but that’s it. A super simple menu, but it works. The shaved ice is good, but I feel like the service could be better. Both times, they forgot to give me a number or my receipt so when it comes down to grabbing your order, you either have to keep a close eye on it from your seat or just hover around the front to wait for it. You could also take your shaved ice to-go, but I feel like they don’t give you as much because the lid obstructs the height.

The first time I visited, we ordered the Green Tea and Original to share because we weren’t sure how large the cups were going to be. Both the Green Tea and Original came with a small side of red bean paste (pat) and two pieces of sweet rice cake (tteok).

The shaved ice is extremely fine-milled to the point that it’s practically powdery. Because of such a fine texture, it melts instantly in your mouth without needing to crunch on any ice bitssnow cone memories, anybody?

Flavor wise, I enjoyed the Original milk flavor more than the Green Tea. The milk flavor was subtle and sweet, but just at the right level so that you can enjoy the entire cup without feeling too indulgent. The Green Tea had a slight bitterness from the matcha and it was also sweet, but it wasn’t distributed well, so some parts had more flavor than others.

The red bean and rice cake paired well with the shaved ice and you have the option of leaving it on the side or pouring it over the shaved ice. Substantially sweeter than the shaved ice, the red bean works well to compliment the shaved ice. Some may choose to forgo the red bean altogether, but I like mixing the two together for a difference in texture. I especially like the rice cake, but they only give you two…

Working the magic.
Since this is a mall, don’t expect any ambiance unless you enjoy the sound of kids running and jumping about because Mealtop is practically in front of the children’s playground. In a way, it’s a smart business move on their end. After all, when kids get hot, tired and thirsty… what’s a better way to cool off than having some tasty Korean shaved ice?

Has anybody tried the new flavors yogurt and cereal? If so, how do they taste? And if any of you have tried Mealtop in Korea, are they about the same?

2855 Stevens Creek Blvd
Ste 1315
Santa Clara, CA 95050

You Might Also Like