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Being a vegetarian in Korea
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Stalin84



Joined: 30 Dec 2009
Location: Haebangchon, Seoul

PostPosted: Mon Jan 17, 2011 7:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I know quite a few vegetarians that turned into meat eaters when they came to Korea, including one chick who used to lord it over me. She said she'd outlast me as a vegetarian because she had been doing it ten years prior over my eight years.

Well, she still calls herself a vegetarian but she eats chicken and the occasional hamburger from McDonald's. Laughing

For me, I find it easy to be a vegetarian in Korea. Especially in Seoul.

My advice is to not be really picky and fussy, though. This mainly concerns kimchi and other veggie sides. I know many vegetarians that won't eat it no matter where they are in Korea because "it's loaded with fish oil." I even know vegetarians that won't eat out unless it's a very specific, vegetarian restaurant. It's a much more enjoyable experience if you just relax a little.

I can eat at least one thing at most places. When I worked in a PS, I'd just order a bibimbap at whatever meat restaurant we were at or I'd order a tin of rice to eat with the veggie side dishes. Not difficult and they'll appreciate that.
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West Coast Tatterdemalion



Joined: 31 Aug 2010

PostPosted: Mon Jan 17, 2011 7:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't think it is very difficult being a vegetarian in Korea. Actually, it is pretty easy. It takes a little bit of willpower and going against the grain. If you are concerned about how others perceive you because you don't eat meat, then I would say that you are mentally weak. Tons of vegetarian restaurants here and they sell veggie products that you can take home. I aspire to be Vegan and am working toward that goal, but being a vegetarian in Korea is easy. Being a self-proclaimed vegetarian, but only occasionally eating meat/fish is someone who can't hack it and is, for all intents and purposes, weak.
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cj1976



Joined: 26 Oct 2005

PostPosted: Mon Jan 17, 2011 7:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Being a vegetarian in Korea might be tough, especially since all of the best Korean food is meat-based or has some meat in it. Koreans generally regard vegetarianism as a bit strange, so they don't really cater for it. You'd be better off preparing your own food if you want to be 100% sure.
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PersoninKorea



Joined: 12 Dec 2010

PostPosted: Tue Jan 18, 2011 6:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The OP mentioned they found Quinoa in Seoul, can you please elaborate where you found it? Others have been searching for it and have settled with ordering from iherb.com, but if I can get it in country I'd be mighty happy.
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ocean_panther



Joined: 08 Dec 2010

PostPosted: Mon Mar 07, 2011 9:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

PersoninKorea wrote:
The OP mentioned they found Quinoa in Seoul, can you please elaborate where you found it? Others have been searching for it and have settled with ordering from iherb.com, but if I can get it in country I'd be mighty happy.


I would love to know that as well though I suspect it might only be available through the internet.

I just went to a vegetable market I was passing by last night and saw some legumes, so I grabbed some thinking that they were black beans. But when they were soaking the black skin started to come off and they were green underneath. I ate one of them and it tasted like a pea, so I think I must have unknowingly bought something similar to a soybean. At least it gave me a good laugh.
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Nuggets



Joined: 23 Nov 2009

PostPosted: Tue Mar 08, 2011 1:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

During one of our summer camps, we had a vegetarian (the kind that orders big macs hold the meat type). She kept on fainting every other day. She would ask me if the school lunches contained any meat. I just old her no (not sure!) but if it did - I'm sure she would've been healthier for it.
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ddranetz



Joined: 14 Jan 2010
Location: USA

PostPosted: Sat Apr 02, 2011 7:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Stalin84 wrote:

My advice is to not be really picky and fussy, though. This mainly concerns kimchi and other veggie sides. I know many vegetarians that won't eat it no matter where they are in Korea because "it's loaded with fish oil." I even know vegetarians that won't eat out unless it's a very specific, vegetarian restaurant. It's a much more enjoyable experience if you just relax a little.


That's exactly what I was going to say. I don't understand why some vegetarians are super strict.

The best part about living in Korea, imo, is the food. I am addicted to Korean food and eat out most meals. If you chill-out a little, that is, eat meals where you wouldn't no that they had trace amounts of animal if nobody told you, then you have a lot to order from. Everyone should eat kimchi, imo. You live in Korea for god's sake.

COMMON STRICT VEGETARIAN DISHES:

bibimnengmyoen - buckweat noodles served cold with vegetables and spicy, vinegary red sauce. Healthy and delicious.

bibimguksu - I call this korean spaghetti. You can get it everywhere. It's wheat (linguini) noodles with veggies and the same tasty red sauce.

kimchimoliguksu - same spaghetti-like pasta, tossed with veggies and kimchi.

bibimbap - just say, "take out the meat, please" "kogi peygo chuseo".

boribap - less commonly found then bibimbap but you will be psyched when you do. same as bibimbap but with barley mixed in with the rice. Served with dwenjeong (soy paste) and/or gochu jang (spicy red sauce) and always with dwenjeong soup.

kimbap - (I like yache (vegetable) kimbap if they have it. just say, "ham peygo chuseo". sometimes add "haemul (seafood) peygo chuseo"

jolmyeon - another spicy cold noodle dish with veggies. these noodles are a little more chewy.

kimchi dapbap - kimchi in a delcious tomato sauce, served over rice. often it's veg, sometimes it has ham mixed in. I always say, "ham peygo chuseo".

yubu chobap: delicious. sweet rice stuffed into tofu pockets. ask for a little soy sauce (kanjang chuseo) for dipping if they don't bring it automatically.

teok boki - it would be vegetarian if not for the fishcakes mixed in. I say "saengson peygo chuseo" (or something like that) "take out the fish, please". You would do better to learn the name of the fishcakes and say that. Or just eat around them. Also try it with noodles: la-boki (ramen teok boki) or jol-boki (better than ramen jol myeon noodle teok boki).

twigim - in front of teok boki stands and in toek boki restaurants is delcious twigim: tempura. Avoid the meat ones and select yache (mixed vegetable) kamja (potato) and the one with the noodles wrapped in kim (seaweed). I don't know the korean name for the latter. Just point and they'll fry it up and toss it with a little of the delcious teok boki sauce.

teok guk - I'm not a big fan of this soup with rice cakes, but a lot of people love it. It's a good one for those who don't like spice.

pajan - the korean pancake. too delicious. vegetarian versions exist. ask your English-speaking korean friends for help when ordering.

Japche - if you find yourself in a koreanized chinese restaurant, I think this yummy fried noodle dish and veggie dish is your best bet, but it comes with meat: "Kogi peygo chuseo", "Take out the meat please", "Chaeshik jui cha imnida", "I'm vegetarian".

COMMON NOT-SO-STRICT DISHES:

kimchi kalguksu - hot and spicy noodle soup. sometimes you can taste fish stock, sometimes not. sometimes they put clams or some other visible seafood, so say, "haemul peygo chuseo"

kimchi jiggae - mmmm... kimchi stew. if you weren't told about the meat stock, you would never guess. say, "kogi peygo chuseo" and they'll make you one without any chunks of pork.

sundubu jiggae - spicy tofu stew. usually vegetarian to the eye. you won't taste the trace amount of seafood in the broth.

dwenjeong jiggae - maybe Korea's most traditional dish, too delicious to miss. made from a miso-like soybean paste. same info as above jiggaes.
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NYC_Gal 2.0



Joined: 10 Dec 2010

PostPosted: Sun Apr 03, 2011 3:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

ddranetz wrote:


...the one with the noodles wrapped in kim (seaweed). I don't know the korean name for the latter. Just point and they'll fry it up and toss it with a little of the delcious teok boki sauce.


It's called kim-mari. It's amazing.
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ocean_panther



Joined: 08 Dec 2010

PostPosted: Sun Apr 03, 2011 9:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Stalin84 wrote:


COMMON STRICT VEGETARIAN DISHES:

bibimnengmyoen - buckweat noodles served cold with vegetables and spicy, vinegary red sauce. Healthy and delicious.

bibimguksu - I call this korean spaghetti. You can get it everywhere. It's wheat (linguini) noodles with veggies and the same tasty red sauce.

kimchimoliguksu - same spaghetti-like pasta, tossed with veggies and kimchi.

bibimbap - just say, "take out the meat, please" "kogi peygo chuseo".

boribap - less commonly found then bibimbap but you will be psyched when you do. same as bibimbap but with barley mixed in with the rice. Served with dwenjeong (soy paste) and/or gochu jang (spicy red sauce) and always with dwenjeong soup.

kimbap - (I like yache (vegetable) kimbap if they have it. just say, "ham peygo chuseo". sometimes add "haemul (seafood) peygo chuseo"

jolmyeon - another spicy cold noodle dish with veggies. these noodles are a little more chewy.

kimchi dapbap - kimchi in a delcious tomato sauce, served over rice. often it's veg, sometimes it has ham mixed in. I always say, "ham peygo chuseo".

yubu chobap: delicious. sweet rice stuffed into tofu pockets. ask for a little soy sauce (kanjang chuseo) for dipping if they don't bring it automatically.

teok boki - it would be vegetarian if not for the fishcakes mixed in. I say "saengson peygo chuseo" (or something like that) "take out the fish, please". You would do better to learn the name of the fishcakes and say that. Or just eat around them. Also try it with noodles: la-boki (ramen teok boki) or jol-boki (better than ramen jol myeon noodle teok boki).

twigim - in front of teok boki stands and in toek boki restaurants is delcious twigim: tempura. Avoid the meat ones and select yache (mixed vegetable) kamja (potato) and the one with the noodles wrapped in kim (seaweed). I don't know the korean name for the latter. Just point and they'll fry it up and toss it with a little of the delcious teok boki sauce.

teok guk - I'm not a big fan of this soup with rice cakes, but a lot of people love it. It's a good one for those who don't like spice.

pajan - the korean pancake. too delicious. vegetarian versions exist. ask your English-speaking korean friends for help when ordering.

Japche - if you find yourself in a koreanized chinese restaurant, I think this yummy fried noodle dish and veggie dish is your best bet, but it comes with meat: "Kogi peygo chuseo", "Take out the meat please", "Chaeshik jui cha imnida", "I'm vegetarian".

COMMON NOT-SO-STRICT DISHES:

kimchi kalguksu - hot and spicy noodle soup. sometimes you can taste fish stock, sometimes not. sometimes they put clams or some other visible seafood, so say, "haemul peygo chuseo"

kimchi jiggae - mmmm... kimchi stew. if you weren't told about the meat stock, you would never guess. say, "kogi peygo chuseo" and they'll make you one without any chunks of pork.

sundubu jiggae - spicy tofu stew. usually vegetarian to the eye. you won't taste the trace amount of seafood in the broth.

dwenjeong jiggae - maybe Korea's most traditional dish, too delicious to miss. made from a miso-like soybean paste. same info as above jiggaes.





Wow, thanks for that information! Smile
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Nuggets



Joined: 23 Nov 2009

PostPosted: Sun Apr 03, 2011 9:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah, thanks. Now, I know what to stay away from! I hate non-meat food!
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stever1000



Joined: 10 Nov 2012
Location: Comox, BC

PostPosted: Fri Dec 14, 2012 9:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Does Changwon have any vegetarian friendly restaurants?
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CentralCali



Joined: 17 May 2007

PostPosted: Fri Dec 14, 2012 1:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've yet to see the teok bokki sauce without that pressed fish in it.
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12ax7



Joined: 07 Nov 2009

PostPosted: Fri Dec 14, 2012 6:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ddranetz wrote:


bibimbap - just say, "take out the meat, please" "kogi peygo chuseo".



The gochujang used to make bibimbap is a special kind of gochujang...


It's beef flavoured.




Laughing


PS. I'm not kidding. Look it up.
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schwa



Joined: 18 Jan 2003
Location: sokcho

PostPosted: Fri Dec 14, 2012 6:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

True, there are two styles of gochujang. Most commonly its vegetarian-friendly, but the second type isnt just beef-flavored, it contains ground beef. Its usually a bit chunkier in appearance. If in doubt, ask.
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12ax7



Joined: 07 Nov 2009

PostPosted: Fri Dec 14, 2012 8:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

schwa wrote:
True, there are two styles of gochujang. Most commonly its vegetarian-friendly, but the second type isnt just beef-flavored, it contains ground beef. Its usually a bit chunkier in appearance. If in doubt, ask.


The gochujang for bimbimbap is the beef flavoured one. It's the one almost every restaurant uses for bibimbap, even "vegetarian" restaurants. And, yes, it is thicker and darker than the regular kind. I can't tell any difference in flavour.

There are actually three main kinds of gochujang. There's also cho-gochujang. It's the kind you use with raw fish.
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