BEING VEGAN IN SOUTH KOREA

04:58

As we speak I am sitting in a little alcove that is my bed in my hostel here in Tokyo. Yes I am now in Tokyo and way behind on my blog posts, but luckily there is time even after my trips to share all my little stories and tips for travelling in South Korea, and now Japan as well. It is pretty obvious what this blog post is going to be about, so if you have any nasty things to say about vegans and the vegan lifestyle in general, I am going to kindly as you to keep it to yourself. This is a safe place, a happy place, and no bullshit place, so just move along. Otherwise, enjoy this post and I hope that any vegans travelling to Seoul find what I am about to share at least a little bit helpful.

THE REALITY...

Now I am not going to lie, being vegan in Seoul is tough...if you don't have a kitchen. For the first four weeks I spent in Seoul, I was living in a dorm with no access to a kitchen so I was at the mercy of the cafeteria food and a constant customer at a restaurant near my school (I was slightly obsessed with the place) that served amazing bibimbap. Though I was lucky in the sense that my dorm room
did have a fridge, which meant I was able to still store fruits, veggies, soy milk and humus that I hoarded from a local vegan restaurant (Plant Cafe). But without a kitchen, meals could be a struggle, so for anyone going to Seoul...if you are staying in a hostel you will be alright because all hostels have a kitchen you have access to, and if you are staying in a hotel, best of luck finding a room with at least a kitchenette.

Now with a kitchen, it is easy to be vegan because you can just make the foods you make back home. Maybe some ingredients will be hard to come by, or be really expensive (I have wept many-a-time over the cost of a single avocado) but if you are prepared to pay a bit more for fruits and veggies (because you will) I don't see being a vegan much of an issue.

Hostel cooking : rice and veggie bowl/pesto salad/pasta with side of grilled tofu
Now when it comes to eating out, you will be limited when it comes to traditional Korean meals because let me tell you, they love their meat. It's actually nauseating how much they love it, with meat slabs hanging from windows and sometimes you will pass bins in the street by these restaurants just packed with well...dead animal parts. Its even better when its a steaming hot day and you can smell it a mile away. So yes, traditional Korea foods can be hard to find. Luckily bibimbap is a safe choice and if you are lucky you could find kimchi mandu without meat in the dumplings.

But never fear...there are amazing vegan restaurants and juice shops to get you by when you are sick of cooking for yourself and just want to eat out. I am going to give you my top two in both categories:

NOM NOMS

PLANT CAFE ( @plantcafe ): ITAEWON

Coconut Curry Bowl
This is the first vegan restaurant I went to in Seoul, its a bakery/restaurant that changes up there menu every week and serves amazing deserts and pastries. I had been following them before even going to Seoul with the intent of going there and gorging on all the food. The atmosphere is really chill and the owners are pretty much always there, as the space is a bit small sometimes there could be a tad of a wait but trust me...the wait is worth it.

While I was there I tried the "Lentil Burrito Bowl" and the "Coconut Curry Bowl", both of which
were just amazing. Who knew you could miss lentils so much? Seriously?! I think I pretty much constantly made orgasmic eating sounds when I had the burrito bowl.

When it comes to prices, it is more "expensive" compared to the prices in Seoul to regular Korean food (Bibimbap could vary from 4500 won to 6500 won, which the prices for food in vegan restaurants in general are about 9000 won to 13,000 won) but honestly in the end, the prices are pretty much comparable to eating out back home in Canada, for myself.

So if you are dying for some vegan food and want something filling that makes you feel awesome afterwards...go to Plant Cafe...and pick up a slice of cake after your meal because you will regret it if you don't.

HUGGERS ( @huggers ): ITAEWON

I discovered Hugger in my last week in Seoul, which surprises me since I had been stalking Happy Cow for awhile. Huggers is an all vegan burger joint with honestly the best burgers I have ever had, and I personally make a mighty fine burger. Like Plant Cafe the atmosphere is really chill and the decor is minimaslistic which I really dug. It is a little bit bigger of a space with a great set menu with burgers like "Avocado and Pesto Burger", "Double Cheese Burger", "BBQ Burger" and a few others. I personally had the last two and I am drooling just thinking about them. If you are one of those people who liked (or likes) "Big Macs" from McDonalds...the "Double Cheese Burger" tastes like that...except 100x better since its not processed to hell, is made fresh daily, and you know...didn't come from the suffering of a beautiful animal (just saying).

BBQ Burger // Double Cheese Burger
On top of that they have delicious homemade orange-ade, lime-ade, and lemon-ade, (I had the orange one...get that one).

I highly, highly, highly recommend checking this place out, whether you are vegan or not you will love how the burgers taste because it is obvious that the owners really thought about how to build up the taste combinations so that when you have it, you never have a single bad bite.

BEVIES

JUICY ( @juicyfreshjuicebar ): ALL OVER SEOUL

A lovely friend of mine took me to this juice shop after I complained and whined about how much I just wanted a damn juice. I assume because he was sick of me he took me to Juicy and there I discovered an unhealthy addiction...especially since it was also a five minute walk from my dorm. When you have juices here, you can literally taste that it is real fruits and veggies.

There are a lot of juice places back home that claim to be "all fresh", but you can still taste the puree and added juices, but that is not the case with Juicy. And might I add the prices are insane, as in insanely good! A large juice is about 3,500 won...and the large is literally massive. Bigger then my head. Which means it is amazing.

So if you are dying for a juice, check out Juicy, it is a franchise so it is easy to stumble upon one in any area you go to because it is a really popular shop.

MY JUICE ( @myjuice ): HONGDAE

I stumbled upon "My Juice" through their Instagram and the next day (since I was leaving in a couple of days) I decided to check them out. Like their social media feed suggested, they had quite the variety of juices and what was cool is that you have the option of having a juice made from 1-3 different ingredients, either fruits or veggies or both. Personally I only got the watermelon juice because it was a blazing hot day and nothing is more refreshing on a hot day then watermelon juice.

It was very delicious and it was obvious there was no added sugar to the juice which was a plus. Even though asking for a drink without sugar is not hard, it is nice to know that it is not even an option in a juice shop. Come on, fruits are delicious as is!

My only warning is that the juices are a little more expensive, with a medium single ingredient juice starting at 4,000 won but if you are not getting it everyday it is a nice treat. What is cool is that they do sell their own water bottles, and yes I got one because I am a weak willed woman.

VEGAN LIFE

So I hope some of you have found this post helpful. If I could I would list all the vegan places located in Seoul, but some are really just not worth the money going to...because you can tell they are not really trying (the food isn't worth the money is basically what I am saying) so I wanted to list places that is worth the time and money going to, so you can enjoy your meal and no regret it!



For any vegans going to South Korea, you can do this! You got this! You got this so good!

Keep your eyes peeled for a future post!

Till next time...

Nicola

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