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South Korea is often thought of as a meat lovers paradise, with many visiting the tech-forward capital Seoul just to try out all the barbecue meats on offer. But scrape beneath that meaty surface and you will find many delicious plant-based eats that many visitors miss. So in between your Seoul explorations, from modern high-rises to Buddhist temples and historical palaces, make sure to check these vegan and vegetarian restaurants out. Below Green Queen’s top vegan dining picks for Seoul.
Oh Se Gae Hyang Vegan Restaurant
Originally founded by a Taiwanese group, Oh Se Gae Hyang is a fully plant-based restaurant with a huge menu chock full of meat substitute dishes and simple Chinese and Korean inspired veggie side plates. Famous for being one of the few vegan traditional cuisine restaurants in Korea, this place is worth a visit if you are looking for an authentic and historical food experience. You even sit on the floor mats when you dine.
Address: Oh Se Gae Hyang Vegan Restaurant, 14-5 Indasong 12-gil, Gwanhun-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea. Open Weekdays: 11.30am – 9.00pm; Weekends: 11.30am – 4.00pm, 5.00pm – 9.00pm.
Cook & Book
Cook & Book is one of the longest-running vegan cafés in Seoul, serving delicious internationally inspired plant-based dishes, think baked curry rice and pizzas, burgers and pastas. They also promote a vegan cruelty-free and zero-waste lifestyle, and have a small retail section in the store to check out when you visit.
Address: Cook & Book, 361-26 Hapjeong-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul, South Korea. Open Daily (closed Tuesdays & Wednesdays): 12.00 noon – 8.00pm.
As the name suggests, Vegetus is a 100% vegan restaurant serving Western dishes. Here, you’ll find on the menu loads of the typical “craving” foods – all veganised, of course. Visitors rave about Vegetus’s Mac & Cheese, “it’s a must try,” as well as their range of vegan desserts, like their soy-based chocolate cakes and brownies- great for those with a sweet tooth.
Address: Vegetus, 22-12 Yongsan 2 Ga-dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul, South Korea. Open Tuesday – Sunday: 12.00 noon – 9.30pm.
Plant Café & Kitchen
Many have described Plant Café & Kitchen as a vegan oasis in the heart of Seoul, with a completely plant-based menu that is so good it will convince even the toughest omnis. Their Green Peanut Butter Shake and Avocado Tofu Feta Burger & Chilli Cheese Fries are just some of the mouth-watering dishes on offer, but their menu features a wide range of cuisines, with everything from burritos to soba bowls.
Address: Plant Café & Kitchen, 2/F Itaewon-dong 130-43, Yongsan-gu, Seoul, South Korea. Open Monday – Saturday: 11.00am – 10.00pm.
Balwoo Gongyang Temple Food
You have to reserve at least three days in advance for Balwoo Gongyang, but if you want to try out authentic Korean temple-style vegan fare, it’s a must. They have all sorts of set menus on offer according to the season, and various hot and cold small vegetable side plates depending on what kind of tastes you prefer. It is vegetarian, but can accommodate for all menu items to be vegan-friendly.
Address: Balwoo Gongyang, 56 Ujeongguk-ro, Gyeonji-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea. Open Monday – Saturday: 11.30am – 3.00pm, 6.00pm – 9.30pm.
Drunken Vegan is a 100% plant-based LGBT-friendly Korean pub and restaurant serving all Korean-fusion vegan barside snacks alongside their vegan soju, beer, wine and house cocktails. Vegan fried “chicken” anyone? Worth Noting: This vibing space is shared with an adult sex toy store so beware if coming with kids.
Address: Drunken Vegan, 13 Wausan-ro 30-gil, Changjeon-dong, Seoul, South Korea. Open Wednesday – Thursday: 5.00pm – 11.00pm; Friday – Sunday: 12 noon – 3.00pm, 5.00pm – 11.00pm.
Hangwachae is a traditional restaurant with a simple Korean-style vegan buffet full of leafy veggies, beans and roots, alongside rice of course- organic fruit and seasonal tea are also served to conclude the meal. The name is an abbreviation for “rice with with herbal medicine, fruit and vegetables”, and everything they serve is prepared according to traditional Korean recipes– ideal for all your WFPB adherents out there.
Address: Hangwachae, 13 Insadong 10-gil, Gwanhun-dog, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea. Open Monday – Saturday: 11.30am – 2.30pm, 5.00pm – 8.30pm.
Lead image courtesy of The Korean Vegan.