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 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.

 

 

비빔밥

Bibimbap

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.

 

부추전

Buchujeon

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.

 

불고기

Bulgogi

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

BEEF STEW

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.

 

 

붕어빵

Bungeoppang

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.

 

 

당면

dangmyeon

glass noodles

Korean glass noodles

Dangmyeon are glass noodles made out of sweet potato starch. Often served stir-fried with veggies called japchae, or in various stews, these noodles are deliciously chewy.

 

 

단팥빵

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.

 

 

두부김치

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. 

 

동지팥죽

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 balls mixed in. Traditionally called dongji-patjuk and eaten on winter solstice, when red beans were thought to chase away evil spirits. This will only chase away your appetite.

 

 

도토리묵무침

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. 

 

감자전

Gamjajeon

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.

 

 

김밥

Gimbap

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

 

김말이

Gimmari

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 in the photo.)

 

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.

 

 

호박죽

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. 

 

호떡

Hoddok

sweet stuffed pancakes

Korean sweet stuffed pancakes

Hoddok (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. 

 

장국죽

Jangguk juk

mushroom porridge

Korean mushroom soup

Jangguk-juk, soy sauce porridge, is made with rice and mushrooms. Usually made with beef and beef stock too, so head for a vegan version from a restaurant or store.

 

 

짜장면

Jjajangmyeon

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.

 

 

김치

Kimchi

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.

 

 

김치전

Kimchijeon

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.

 

 

만두

Mandu

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.

 

 

녹두전

Nokdujeon

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. 

 

녹두죽

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.

 

 

파전

Pajeon

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.

 

 

뽑기

Ppopgi

sugar cookie

Korean sugar cookie

Ppopgi is a traditional sugar candy. Made on the street with only sugar and baking soda, it’s fun to watch them be made into different shapes and choose which ones you want.

 

 

라면

Ramyeon

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.

 

삼겹살

SAMGYEOPSAL

Pork belly

Vegan pork belly

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

 

 

순두부찌개

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.

 

 

떡볶이

Tteokbokki

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. Often accompanied by gimmari, fried seaweed rolls.

 

 

양념치킨

YANGNYeOM CHICKEN

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.

Choose your own adventure