Can Vegetarians/Vegans Survive in Korea?

If you heard about Korean foods, you definitely know that Koreans love eating meats. From K-barbecue to Korean fried chicken, there are hundreds of different meat dishes.

And you might start thinking…

but I’m vegetarian. Can I survive in Korea? ????
Let’s find out!

How much do Koreans love meat?

Korean barbecue????????

Koreans love meat and rice.

Koreans love meat. Period. ???? Even Fish (물고기) literally means ‘water meat’ in Korean. ???? There are 39 beef parts that people normally eat worldwide, but Koreans are just a bit more detailed and precise: Koreans divide beef into 120 parts. You also can’t forget about Korean fried chicken and pork belly (sam-gyeop-sal). They are almost like a national dish and just everywhere when you walk on the streets.

As you can see in the chart above, the rice consumption is decreasing while the meat consumption is increasing. In 2022, the meat comsumption will overpass that of the rice. It seems like Koreans’ love towards meat won’t cease for a while.

???? Here’s one random interesting story related to meat consumption in Korea.

In 1965, Seoul Metropolitan Government passed a strange policy: No meat on every Wednesday. People were encouraged not to eat beef, chicken and pork and not to buy or sell any meats at restaurants and butcher shops. It was because the supply of meat, especially beef, became scarce during the farming season (May-June). Cows were the main “tool” for farming back then, resulting in lack of beef. People couldn’t slaughter cows because they had to work. In other words, demand was greater than supply. The government had tried to solve the problem by reducing the consumption. It’s one of the great examples of bureaucracy.

But, Koreans also love vegetables. 40% of vegetables that Koreans eat is Kimchi.

Endive Salad

A lot of Korean side dishes are made of vegetables. Garlic, onion, white radish are the vegetables that Koreans eat most often. But most of all, Kimchi is the most popular vegetables in Korea. 40% of vegetables that Koreans eat is kimchi. ????

After all, Koreans also like to eat meat and vegetables together.

Ssam (Korean Lettuce Wraps)

A great example is ‘Ssam’ (쌈). It is a lettuce leaf wrapped with a piece of meat and other fillings, such as kimchi, garlic, or green pepper. You can easily find people eating Ssam at the Korean BBQ restaurents.

Okay… Now we know that Koreans love to eat meat. So can Vegetarians/Vegans survive in Korea?

The answer is YES. There are more Koreans going Vegetarian these days. More and more Koreans want to maintain a healthy eating habit and seek out information related to vegetarianism. As a result, many people across generations are becoming vegetarian/vegan. Recently, many vegetarian/vegan restaurants are opening up in big cities. There are even startups that produce vegetarian/vegan related products, such as meal kits.

But we must say that Korea is still in a beginner’s level of vegetarianism.

According to a report released by the Korean Agricultural and Fishery Food Distribution Corporation, 2 out of 1000 Koreans are vegetarian. So if you are planning to visit Korea, we recommend you to double-check your dish when you are eating at a non-vegan restaurant.

Here are some of the popular restaurents that vegans love to go in Seoul, Korea.

1. chick peace (칙피스)

A vegan salad place that sells Mediterranean salads and shakshuka.

  • Instagram:
  • There are 2 branches!
    (1) 69, Gangnam-daero 152-gil, Gangnam-gu, Seoul
    (2) 9-16, Yeonmujang 5-gil, Seongdong-gu, Seoul

2. plat ȧ [o:] (플랫 오)

Natural food and wine cafe that sells vegan cuisines.

  • Instagram: @plat.o_natural
  • Location: 103-1, Yangjaechoen-ro, Seocho-gu, Seoul

3. local EAT (로컬릿)

A vegan Italian cuisine made from local seasonal ingredients.

  • Instagram: @the_local_eater
  • Location: 33, Hallimmal-gil, Seongdong-gu, Seoul

4. Balwoogongyang (발우공양)

Korean temple food restaurant run exclusively by the Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism.

  • Instagram: @balwoogongyang_official
  • Location: 56, Ujeongguk-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul

5. Cafe SIVA (카페시바)

Vegan restaurent and cafe that supports international vegan awareness.

  • Instagram: @cafe.siva
  • Location: 276-1, Hangang-daero, Yongsan-gu, Seoul, Korea

Here are some of the dessert cafes that vegans love to go in Korea.

1. Vegan Mama Bakery (비건마마베이커리)

Vegan yogurt bowl

Every desserts including granola, vegan bread, vegan yogurt balls are made of organic, eco-friendly, non-GMO.

  • Instagram : @veganmamabakery
  • Location: 457-1, Bongcheon-ro, Gwanak-gu, Seoul, Korea

2. Pyeong Sang Shi (평상시)

Vegan cakes

Coffee & Vegan Sweets. Dairy-free, egg-free, refined sugar-free sweets.

  • Instagram : @pyeongsangshi
  • Location: 26, Godeok-ro 20-gil, Gangdong-gu, Seoul, Korea

3. Overte (오베흐트)

Vegan Donuts

Plant-based vegan donuts & coffee.

  • Instagram : @overte_donuts
  • Location: 34, Toegye-ro 10-gil, Jung-gu, Seoul, Korea

???? Discussion for Today’s Topic :

What do vegetarians/vegans eat in your country? Do they eat out a lot? Is your country vegan-friendly nation?

Feel free to share your opinion with us. ????

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