South Korea

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

For more Korean phrases click here.

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.

7 Responses to South Korea

  1. Michael Bielawski says:

    Hi Frances,

    I’m a fellow writer for Gwangju News, I have to run now so this will be breif. I saw your most recent article and I used to be real big on the whole stop the carbon dioxide thing myself. Then I started learning about these carbon taxes. See these carbon taxes are paid I believe largely to the big central banks like the IMF, World Bank etc, which incidently own large portions of the major energy producers like BP for example. I used to see BP commercails promoting green energy and thinking “oh, what a nice big oil company, maybe the world has some hope” …knowing deep down ofcourse there must be a catch. I don’t have the numbers off the top of my head, but with some research I think you would find there is a lot of conflict of interest in carbon taxes. And on top of that they are selectively enforced, like GE power plants don’t have to pay them. The thing is, if you can tax carbon you can literally tax all human activity, even just being alive (breathing) makes carbon. I’m not saying there isn’t real polution, just the whole carbon thing is kind of suspicious. I’m not trying to start an argument or anything, after all we share a publication that we publish for. Well I gotta run, please let me know what you think of all this, cheers,

    • Hey Michael,

      Thanks for seeking me out to share your opinion. I think that you and I agree more than you know. When writing that piece for the Gwangju News I was restricted to 500 words so I had to cut a lot of my points out including some of my criticisms. On top of which, I hold the opinion that it’s better it be positive and do something, anything, rather than nothing. And being pessimistic can be counter-productive; although I am not accusing you of this either. If you care to, please read my first draft here (before I was forced to edit it). Again, nice to hear from other GN writers.


  2. Good issue i will return to your page again thank you.

  3. Liz says:

    Hello !

    I have a question.. I want to make an exchange year in South Korea but I got rejected by all organisations because I’m vegan. Now I try to organise everything myself but do YOU know where I could find host families in Korea who take vegans?

    Thanks in advance,

    • VeganUrbanite says:

      Oh Liz that’s terrible!
      I’m so sorry to hear that. South Korea is still very new to Vegetarian and Veganism.
      I have some questions to ask, so I may better understand your situation, so I’ll email you privately.
      Talk soon.

  4. น๊อต says:

    New year stay safe

  5. YS Hong says:

    Hi, came to this page through vegan korea of facebook. Good, objective and interesting articles. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. Will visit again. :)

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