As a long-time vegetarian who eats mostly vegan food, finding veg meals in Seoul was one area of concern for me prior to my arrival in the city. After only a month here, however, I have found some tried-and-true vegan and vegan-friendly restaurants, with plenty more on my list to try in the coming months.
The following is a list of a few of my favorite spots and tips for eating vegetarian/vegan while in Seoul. Click on the titles for information regarding navigation and hours.
Located in the Insadong area, this restaurant offers vegan versions of popular street food dishes! Each dish is very affordable, with their signature kimbap costing only 3,000 won! My favorite dishes are the tteokbokki and the Korean fried chicken. Be sure to check out their pumpkin sikhye (a traditional, sweet rice drink) for dessert, too!
2) Plant Cafe
This chain of two vegan restaurants is a must-try for vegetarians/vegans in Seoul. In addition to serving delicious fare, each of the cafes is beautifully designed. Stand-out dishes include the burgers and variety of wraps/sandwiches. Of course, the desserts (cakes, cookies, shakes, and more!) are worth a try, with the Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake being especially tasty.
3) Cafe Siva
Cafe Siva is part yoga studio, part vegan restaurant. The Korean-fusion style cooking is delicious and packs a punch of flavor! Try the Soy Mayo Dupbab with Butter Ang Toast for dessert!
4) Vege Bear
Vege Bear is a 100% vegan vendor in BoxQuare– a restaurant complex located in the Ewha Women’s University area. The eatery offers a variety of dishes containing plant-based meat. The soy milk tea is also very fragrant and refreshing.
Seoul is known for its aesthetically pleasing cafes, and Veganique is no exception. This cafe is adorned with flowers and beautiful vases, in addition to a wide array of plant-based drinks and pastries! The signature “No Milk MilkTea” is a must try, in addition to the Green Tea Ganache cake.
6) The Royal Food and Drink
The Royal is very Instagram-friendly, with sweeping views of the city! It is not a vegetarian/vegan restaurant, but offers great plant-based options. Try the Tempeh Hummus Plate or the Peanut Butter French Toast while enjoying the picturesque setting.
More often than not, Indian restaurants will have several marked vegan and vegetarian options on their menu. Italian restaurants are similarly easy to find vegan options at, with Aglio e Olio and Tomato Pasta being common dishes.
Korean temple food is traditionally vegan! Maji is a great restaurant serving such fare, with the Bongeunsa Temple also serving simple and delicious meals!
Unlimeat is a plant-based beef currently sold only in South Korea. CU convenience stores sell vegan kimbap and onigiri containing this delicious meat alternative! They make a convenient snack or a yummy, light meal.
Almond and soy milk are readily available in most convenience stores! Try the banana milk flavor for a unique, refreshing treat!
Bibimbap is one of the easiest Korean dishes to find as a vegetarian/vegan! Many Korean restaurants offer this dish containing rice, assorted vegetables, and gochujang sauce. Some eateries may add an egg or marinated meat, so ask to modify if needed!
This is by no means an exhaustive list of the options available in Seoul, but just a small sampling of the many choices that await you! I recommend searching under hashtags such as #비건서울 (“vegan Seoul” in Korean) and using the HappyCow app to keep up to date with the ever-expanding veg options in this exciting city!