Best Vegan Korean Food

Best Vegan Korean Food

Korean cuisine - it’s interesting, it’s flavorful, and it’s sometimes animals.


But it doesn’t have to be. 


Many cities, including Seoul, Paju, and Jeju, are quite vegan-friendly, and offer lots of plant-based traditional Korean dishes, often made with mock meats like chicken, ham, beef, and shrimp. 


This is my curated collection of common Korean eats that are mostly vegan or can be made vegan.


Sweet, salty, sour, bitter, and umami - It’s all here.





mixed vegetable rice

Korean bibimbap


Bibimbap is one of the most famous iconic Korean dishes.


Its a huge, colorful assortment of side dishes of fresh, sautéed, and pickled vegetables.


You mix it all together in a huge bowl with rice and top it with spicy gochujang red chili sauce.






Chive pancake

Korean chive pancake


The first of the savory pancakes, buchujeon is a vegetable pancake made with Korean garlic chives.


It’s delicious anytime, as a side dish, snack, or the perfect bar food.


All jeons (Korean pancakes) pair great with makgeolli, the sparkling rice beverage that's also a health elixir!






Korean bbq

Vegan korean bbq BULGOGI


Maybe the most famous dish of all, Korean BBQ, is a staple of a Korean culture.


Bulgogi means fire meat, and is literally beef cooked with fire at the table.


Find bulgogi at a vegan restaurant for plant-based beef.




불고기 전골

BULGOGI jeongol


Vegan korean beef stew


Bulgogi jeongol is bulgogi meat in a spicy hot pot stew with tons of mushrooms, various fresh veggies and dangmyeon glass noodles.


It’s fiery hot and delicious.


Must get bulgogi jeongol at a vegan restaurant for vegetable stock and mock beef.






Fish-shaped red bean Pastry

Korean red bean waffle bread


Bungeoppang, a common street food, is a fish-shaped pastry filled with sweet red bean paste, and grilled like a waffle.


It’s warm, crispy, with sweet and savory goodness inside.






sugar cookie

Korean sugar cookie


Dalgona is a a traditional sugar candy cookie.


Often made right on the street with only sugar and baking soda, it’s fun to watch them be made into different shapes.





Dan Pat Bbang

red bean bUn

Korean red bean bread


This pastry is stuffed with a sweet red bean paste and topped with sesame seeds.






Marinated deodeok root


Deodeok roots, high in vitamins and minerals and with many medicinal uses, are grilled and marinated in spicy gochujang sauce.





Dubu kimchi

tofu and kimchi

Korean tofu kimchi


Dubu Kimchi is a classic Korean dish.


It’s boiled or fried tofu slices served with stir-fried tangy kimchi, which you eat together.


Usually served with pork, so ask for no meat. 





Dongji patjuk

red bean porridge

Korean red bean porridge


Patjuk is a thick porridge made from nutrient-rich adzuki beans.


It has a taste similar to Mexican refried beans, with a hint of sweetness and chewy glutinous rice mixed in.


Traditionally called dongji-patjuk and eaten on winter solstice, when red beans were thought to chase away evil spirits.


This one will only chase away your appetite.





Dotirimuk Muchim

acorn jelly

Korean acorn jelly


Dotirimuk muchim is a big salad of fresh vegetables, seaweed, and seeds, dressed in sesame oil, served with chunks of gelatinous seasoned acorn jelly. 






stir-fried Pork belly

Vegan pork belly


A popular traditional Korean dish, but made from actual pork belly, so must get duruchigi at a vegan restaurant for mock pork meat.






potato pancake

Korean potato pancake


Gamjajeon is a huge tasty potato pancake made from onions and potatoes, seasoned and pan-fried in oil.


Pull it apart with chopsticks and go to town.






sushi roll

Vegan korean gimbap


Gimbap is the Korean version of sushi, but the rice is seasoned with sesame oil instead of vinegar.


The rice is rolled in nori seaweed with veggies and meats like steak or spam.


Widely available made with veggies only and also made with vegan ham






Fried seaweed noodle rolls

Korean Tteokbokki spicy rice cakes


Often served along with tteokbokki, gimmari is a crispy and chewy snack made from glass noodles wrapped in seaweed and then deep fried. (On the right.)




고구마 찹쌀 도너츠

goguma chapssal donuts

sweet potato rice donuts

Korean sweet potato rice donuts


Find these tasty sweet treats in street stalls in cold weather.


Made of sweet potato and rice flour rolled into balls and then deep fried, it’s the perfect doughy, chewy snack.





Hobak Juk

pumpkin porridge

Korean pumpkin porridge


Hobak juk is a porridge made from pumpkin, with glutinous rice balls and red beans mixed in.


The taste is sweet, creamy, velvety perfection. 






sweet stuffed pancakes

Korean sweet stuffed pancakes


Hodduk (or hotteok) is a classic pastry that can be found freshly cooked in street stalls or sold in any store.


It’s a simple pancake stuffed with a sweet syrup filling. 





Jangguk juk

mushroom porridge

Korean mushroom soup


Jangguk-juk, soy sauce porridge, is made with rice and mushrooms.


Usually made with beef stock, so head for a vegan version from a restaurant or store.






Glass noodles

Korean japchae


Japchae is a dish of glass noodles made of sweet potato starch, served stir-fried with veggies.


Delicious, slippery, and chewy, these veggie noods are a healthy snack.






black bean noodles

Korean black bean noodles


Jjajangmyeon is a Chinese style noodle dish topped with a dark savory sauce made of black beans, and chunjang, a black soybean paste, with various vegetables.


It’s usually served with pork, so omit the meat or get it at a vegan restaurant for mock pork.






chili pickled cabbage

Korean cabbage kimchi


Kimchi is everywhere in Korea.


It’s usually made with Napa cabbage, but can be made with many vegetables like radish, perilla leaves, and other greens.


Seasoned with chili, garlic, ginger and onion, and fermented so it’s full of flavor and gut-healthy probiotics.


Fish sauce is often used for salt, so get it vegan at a store or veg restaurant.






kimchi pancake

Korean kimchi pancake


Kimchijeon is a savory pancake made with kimchi.


Crispy, crunchy, and spicy.


Often made with meat or seafood so ask for it without.






Cold soymilk noodle soup

Cold Soy Milk Noodle Soup


This traditional Korean summer dish is made with a soymilk broth and noodles, but served ice cold, with ice cubes added in.






stuffed dumplings

Korean dumplings


Mandu are stuffed dumplings that are steamed or fried.


Some are filled with veggies and some meat.


Find mandu at a vegan restaurant for a savory mock meat filling.






mung bean pancake

Korean mung bean pancake


Nokdujeon (or Bindatteok) is a savory golden brown pancake made with mung beans and different veggies.


Meat or seafood is sometimes added so ask for it without. 




Nokdu juk

mung bean porridge

Korean mung bean porridge


Nokdu juk is a simple yet hearty super nutritious porridge made with mung beans, rice, and sesame oil.


It tastes way better than it looks.






green onion pancake

Korean green onion pancake


Pajeon is a popular savory pancake made with green onions, or sometimes younger scallions.


These are a great crispy, chewy snack.


Watch out for eggs in the batter.






ramen noodle soup

Korean ramyeon ramen noodle soup


Ramyeon is a Korean staple.


Find it in restaurants served with veggies on top, or grab one of the hundreds of varieties from any store for the perfect instant snack.





Soboro ppang

Peanut streusEl bread

soboro bread


Soboro bread, also called Korean streusel bread, is found in every Korean bakery.


It’s a light yeasty bread bun topped with a sweet peanut butter crumble on top.





Sundubu Jigae

tofu stew

Vegan korean tofu soup


Sundubu jjigae is a spicy hot pot stew made with soft tofu and vegetables.


Commonly served with egg, meat and seafood, so ask for without, or get at a veg restaurant.






spicy rice cakes

Korean Tteokbokki with gimmari fried seaweed rice rolls


Tteokbokki is a traditional Korean dish of stir-fried chewy rice cakes served in a super fiery gochujang red chili sauce. 






Sliced rice cake soup

Tteotguk sliced rice cake soup


This delicious soup is full of slices of chewy rice cakes, mushrooms, onions, and seaweed.


Usually made with beef broth, so find it at a vegan Korean restaurant for a creamy soymilk soup instead.


Traditionally eaten on New Years Day for good luck.






SPicy fried chicken

Vegan korean fried chicken


The most popular social dining experience in Korea is chicken and beer, otherwise known as chimac.


Join the fun and go get yangnyeom chicken at a veg restaurant for spicy fried chicken deliciousness.


And don’t forget the beer!