South Korea

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South Korea is a country in Asia, close to North Korea, China, Russia and Japan. Typical South Korean food is based on animal products, such as meat or fish, therefore eating out might be challenging for vegans. However, bigger cities have many vegan friendly places to choose from. In addition to them, there are many street markets selling fruits and vegetables, and supermarkets that have the most basic vegan groceries.

South Korea

{{#ask:In country::South Korea}}

add a new place in South Korea?


Eating out

The window of Loving Hug restaurant in Jonju
Vegan bibimbap in Seoul
Vegan ice cream found in Seoul

Vegans should have no problems in Seoul, the capital of South Korea, as there many vegan restaurants scattered all over the city. Most smaller towns have at least one vegan friendly place.

Loving Hut is the most popular chain of vegan restaurants in South Korea. Most of these places serve vegan versions of the most popular Korean dishes, and are good places for those who want to experience Korean cuisine.

Tips and things to keep in mind

  • Eating out can be challenging because main dishes are usually meat/fish based, and soups or noodles are made with meat stock or fish sauce. The same goes with buying food in shops. Majority of snacks, instant noodles, etc. have animal products in them.
  • Bibimbap is one of the most popular dishes in South Korea. It is a combination of rice and many different additional ingredients. Bibimbap can be easily ordered without animal products if one specifies in advance what ingredients should be left aside.
  • Traditional Korean desserts made out of rice, sesame seeds and sweet red bean paste are mostly vegan.
  • Asking for dishes without meat, fish, eggs and milk does not always lead to ordering vegan food. In South Korea word "meat" usually means big pieces of meat and does not include meat stock. The same is with fish, eggs or diary.
  • Kimchi (Korean pickled cabbage) is the most popular condiment that is served with almost all main dishes, but unfortunately most of it is made with fish or shrimp paste. There are several vegan versions that one can buy in supermarkets, and vegan restaurants usually have their own vegan kimchi.

Language

Koreans speak Korean and use their own unique alphabet called hangul. It is relatively simple to learn (it takes maybe a week to be able to read things written in hangul). Once you can read it, you can recognize many words that are borrowed from English language because they sound very similar to their original pronunciation. Also, if you learn just a few native Korean words, you can easily recognize the most common non-vegan ingredients written on food packages.

Some common non-vegan ingredients in Korean (and their pronunciation):

  • 고기 (gogi) – meat, 돈피 (donpi) – pig, 젤라틴 (gelatin) – gelatine, 쇠고기 (suigogi) – beef;
  • 생선 (sengson) – fish, 멸치 (myolji) – anchovy, 전복 (chonbok) – abalone, 굴 (gul) – oyster, 갈치 (galji) – hairtail, 가쓰오 (katsuo) or 가다랑어 (gadarango) – skipjack/katsuo, 고등어 (godungo) – mackerel, 새우 (seu) – shrimp;
  • 달걀 (dalgyol) - egg;
  • 우유 (uyu) or 밀크 (milku) – milk, 분유 (bunyu) or 낙우밀 (nakumil) – milk powder, 크림 (kurim) – cream, 유청 (yujong) – whey, 유당 (yudang) – lactose, 버터 (bata) – butter, 쇼트닝 (syotning) – shortening;
  • 벌꿀 (bolgot) or 꿀 (got) – honey.

Links

See also