Essential Korean Veg*an Phrases

Essential Korean Veg*n Phrases

Being vegan in South Korea isn’t the easiest thing in the world. Unlike many western countries, who have embraced the shift towards ethical purchase decisions, Korea has fewer eateries and specialty items available. But once you learn a few phrases, a few delicious dishes and expand your network of vegetarian/ vegan friends, you’ll embrace your uniqueness and the opportunity to share your philosophy with others.

Essential Korean Veg*n Phrases

In Korean, a Vegan is described as a ‘strict vegetarian’. But the term is moot as very few people I’ve come across know what a vegetarian is. Here, as is found across Asia, people believe meat is correlated with wealth, strength and virility. I like to think my bulging muscles break this stereotype.

I carry a piece of paper in my wallet which reads;

I can’t eat animal products

저는 고기류가 포함된 음식을 먹지 않습니다.

I don’t eat meat including seafood or ham and I don’t eat dairy products like cheese or milk.

동물에게서 나오는 치즈나 우유 그리고 햄 종류도 먹지 않습니

I’m a vegetarian.
저는 채식 주의(고기나 생선을 먹지 않는) 입니다.

I can’t eat red meat (seafood and cheese are okay!)
저는고기를 먹지 않습니다. (생선 류와 치즈는 괜찮습니다.)

I can’t eat seafood
저는해산물을 먹지 않습니다.

I can’t eat fish
저는생선을 먹지 않습니다.

I can’t eat pork
저는 돼지 고기를 먹지 않습니다.

I can’t eat animal products (any kind of meat including seafood or ham and I don’t eat dairy products like cheese or milk.)
저는 고기류가 포함된 음식을 먹지 않습니다. ( 동물에게서 나오는 치즈나 우유 그리고 햄 종류도 먹지 않습니다.)

Can you please make me this or something on your menu but don’t include any animal products (including meat, seafood, eggs, milk or cheese).
이 음식에 들어가는 고기,생선,해산물, 계란, 우유 그리고 치즈를 제외하고 만들어 주실 수 있으십니까?

Can you make me a vegetarian pizza with no cheese?
치즈 없이 야채만으로 피자를 만들어 주실 수 있으십니까?

Can you make this soup without any meat, seafood or fish stock?
스프를 고기와 해산물 혹은 육수(생선, 고기의 육수)없이 만들어 주실 수 있으십니까?

If you’re looking for a comprehensive list of Korean food that vegetarians / vegans can eat  check out this detailed list.

Location of Vegetarian Restaurants in South Korea

Kenneth Holman has put together a map detailing the location of Vegetarian Restaurants around South Korea.  It wonderfully details hot spots, popular favourites and vegetarian friendly cafes. Another great source of information for those who can read Korean is Hanulvut.

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7 Responses to Essential Korean Veg*an Phrases

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  4. Alexa says:

    Is it possible to find vegan kimchi for sale in South Korea? At local grocers? can you buy it from like the buddhist temple stay? ect?

    • VeganUrbanite says:

      Hi Alexa,
      I’ve not seen vegan Kimchi on sale in supermarkets but I ask to privately buy some from my local buddhist buffet. Trying a temple, Loving Hut or buffet restaurant would be your best bet I think. Good luck.

  5. Hello vegan urbanite!

    I just came across your page today and I am so glad this page exists and has so much content.

    My girlfriend and I are strict vegan and looking to move to Busan in August 2013 to teach english.
    We have been searching for cities that are possibly to live as a vegan (on more than just rice and vegetables.)

    We were told that China would be very difficult and are now looking at South Korea.
    What are your thoughts on Seoul?
    We figured living in a bigger city would give us more opportunities at being vegan considering more people = more open minds/options. Is this true?

    Thanks for running this site!

    • VeganUrbanite says:

      Welcome, glad you like the site.

      I’ve been to China a few times and I found it very difficult to eat as a vegan, not to mention their stance on animal welfare. South Korea is definitely the better option when it comes to food.

      I live in Busan and I love the lifestyle and community here. There are beaches, mountains and a friendly community of ex-pats. I wouldn’t live in any other city in Korea. However, the food choices in Seoul are remarkably better. There are more specialist vegan cafes and restaurants, vegan potlucks and international food markets. You can get foodstuffs delivered to Busan but I must admit that my bags are full to the brim with condiments when I return from a trip to Seoul.It depends on you really. I have great friends here and cook a lot at home plus it’s easier to save money when there’s less temptation. You can visit Seoul very easily from Busan (~$55 & 3hours one way by train) and I often do for concerts or art shows. Both cities have something to offer.

      Hope that answers your question.
      Best, VU

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