The very best of vegan Korea


The very best of vegan Korea

South Korea is a country notoriously difficult to be vegan in but, to be honest, it’s really not that bad, especially not for visitors.

As long as you have access to the country’s major metropolises, preferably Busan and Seoul, you can have a top-notch dining experience; you just have to remember you’re not in London or Los Angeles. You may have to go out of the way a little bit, but it’s well worth it.

Between the country’s small but rapidly growing vegan movement, and its naturally plant-based Buddhist temple food, you’re in business — that is if you’re in the business of eating yourself into sleepy-eyed food comas, and who isn’t, really?

Vegenarang – Busan

Temple food restaurant Vegenarang dishes up amazing food in a truly unbelievable setting.

Offering a menu of beautifully crafted salads and fusion dishes, alongside plant-based versions of traditional Korean cuisine, such as katsu, bibimbap and gimbap, you’re sure to find something you’ll love.

Among the most remarkable dishes on the menu are the Spicy Black Bean Chicken, Fried Mushrooms, and Lotus Blossom Soup. Yes, two of these options are fried, but you only live once, right?

Adding to an already amazing experience, the ninth floor restaurant features a jaw-dropping coastal view, and is so serene you’ll have forgotten about your drama with Brenda from work in no time. You shouldn’t be worrying about her while you’re on vacation, anyway. Passive aggressive emails and missing staplers are problems for future you.

Image source: Emily Court

Dajeon Café – Busan

Dajeon Café is equal parts charm, kittens (seriously), and stick to your ribs, nourishing, vegan Korean food.

This spot offers traditional dishes such as dumplings and bibimbap in the kind of ultra-cozy, warm setting that makes you feel like you’re a guest in someone’s home.

A standout item on the menu is the vegan bulgogi, a shaved meat substitute served up with crispy lettuce leaves for wrapping and warm, sticky rice.

Not only will the place leave you feeling the fuzzies that normally only come from Christmas lights and Sunday morning cartoons, it also happens to be one of the cheapest spots on this list. So you’ll have money to blow on massages and a soak at the nearby jimjilbang.

Image source: Maggie Way

Balwoo Gongyang – Seoul

Balwoo Gongyang is a Michelin Star restaurant where you can eat a multi-course meal for roughly $40. Enough said, really.

Also a temple food joint, this spot serves expertly crafted meals, elements of which can take months to prepare, in a traditional setting.

As a side note, Jogyesa Temple, which is just across the street, is a must-see after nightfall. With colorful lanterns and statues everywhere, it’s the perfect feast for your eyes after you’ve filled your stomach.

Image source: @neonicolas92/Instagram

Plant Café and Kitchen – Seoul

Plant Café and Kitchen in Seoul’s trendy, multi-ethnic Itaewon neighbourhood is a top-notch dining experience, serving up classic, fusion and diner-style dishes.

Offering menu items such as burgers, chili cheese fries, burrito bowls and some of the best cake you’ve ever had, the place is a sure win, especially for those with less adventurous palettes.

Among the best items on the menu are the Hummus and Roasted Squash Salad, Sesame Peanut Soba Bowl, and Mac N Cheese. Please be advised that the latter is only served after 5pm — just to avoid any midday noodle-related heartbreak.

The restaurant is also only one of the two on this list that serves alcohol, so if that’s your thing, this is your chance.

Image source: Emily Court

Huggers

Also situated in Itaewon, Huggers is a great spot to hit, especially after a big night out or at any other time you want to indulge.

A hole-in-the-wall restaurant, the spot offers a wide range of burgers, fries and a hot and spicy ramen sure to make you sweat, as well as over-the-top amazing chocolate chip pancakes.

All of the tips received at Huggers are donated to animal causes, meaning you can tack on one of the restaurants awesome dessertsfeel great about eating there. 

Huggers also serves craft beer, so you can blow off some steam if Brenda’s still on your mind.

Please note that Huggers is currently listed as temporarily closed, but we’re holding onto hope for a re-opening. Keep an eye on the restaurant  for updates.

Image source: Emily Court

Header image source: Emily Court/Pixabay/Living Vegan

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