희소당 (Hee So Dang) Rare Sugar Dessert Cafe, Seoul

A new dessert cafe opened up right downstairs and I couldn’t help but notice the sign saying “Rare Sugar 0 kcal.” Since the weather has been heating up, we decided to go find out more about this rare sugar and try out their ice cream.

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Upon entering, we noticed that the place sells more than just ice cream. They also sell roll cakes, baked goods, coffee, and more. It’s a pretty tiny place but they’ve got a lot going on in the back. Besides the cashier, the other workers were meticulously working on the desserts. So the premise of the cafe is that they don’t use regular sugar, but a rare sugar called D-allulose (aka D-psicose). I was very interested because it just seemed like another marketing trick.

I ended up ordering the Tiramisu Ice Cream Cone (3500W) while Junhee got the Iced Macha Green Tea Latte  (4300W).

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Our instant reaction was: Wow, this is really sweet. Can this really have no sugar? This prompted me to look up what D-allulose was exactly. According to Wikipedia, a Japanese professor from Kagawa University discovered an enzyme that converted fructose into D-allulose in a tree called zuina.

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It had 70% of the sweetness of sugar but no calories. How could that be? D-allulose has a different chemical structure from fructose and glucose and that allows it to actually suppress blood sugar levels. It could end up being a miracle for diabetics. The body also does not metabolize D-allulose, which is why it is basically 0 calories, and the founders claim that it anti-oxidizing effects as well.

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Now if that is all true, why aren’t more people using it? Well it’s expensive to manufacture, but companies are starting to ramp up production. Bottled versions of the sugar can be seen above. The founders also claim that it makes cakes fluffier and improves the thickness and flavor of yogurt. I guess only time will tell if it really takes off.

Now back to the cafe. I thoroughly enjoyed my ice cream. It was sweet and creamy, but the creamy consistency really perplexed me. Was it a result of the sugar or just the process in which they made it? (This was before the fact I knew that the sugar could possibly improve the consistency). I could really taste the milk, so much so that I let the ice cream melt on my tongue to try and savor it as long as I could. I will definitely try it again, but maybe the green tea flavor next time.DSC02862

Junhee on the other hand, did not enjoy her drink. Ironically, she claimed that it was ‘too sweet’. I tried some of it, but I enjoyed the flavor of the matcha and the sweetness. I didn’t think it was overbearing, especially compared to the sugary drinks of other cafes like Starbucks. Would I get it on my own? Probably not, since I’m more of an ice cream man.

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Anyways, for those who are careful with your sugar consumption, it’s definitely worth a shot. I’ll probably stop by for some ice cream in the summer and when I’m feeling health conscious.

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DSC02864희소당
서울특별시 서초구 서초대로74길 23
Open: 10AM – Close: 8PM
Phone: 02-522-1511

Screenshot 2016-04-25 23.15.39

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