I feel we will all agree that being a vegan in another country can generally be slightly difficult. It’s troublesome sufficient having to verify the components of your native grocery store snacks, not to mention understanding how they translate into one other language.
Now think about being in a rustic so completely different from your individual that it makes use of a unique character system as an alternative of the acquainted ABC. Google translate gained’t make it easier to right here…
Sound acquainted? Properly, that is precisely what I skilled after I lived in South Korea for 2 years. It was an actual problem discovering vegan meals in any respect, not to mention vegan Korean snacks!
My Seek for Snacks as The Hungriest Vegan in Korea
I gained’t go as far as to say that I’m a grasping vegan. However then once more, I sort of am. I spend most of my life interested by meals and sometimes base my travels across the snacks or native delicacies that I wish to attempt.
Nonetheless, this was simpler mentioned than achieved in a rustic the place veganism is virtually remarkable. In the identical means that it’s troublesome being a vegan in Japan, fashionable Korean meals typically makes use of seafood and meat as a part of the core components…sure, even of their snacks!
The difficulty of discovering vegan Korean snacks bought simpler over time, as I developed my Korean language expertise and networked with different vegans dwelling in Korea. However I actually spent my justifiable share of time hungry and caught with nothing to eat whereas my pals gorged themselves on rooster wings, tteokbokki, fish muffins, Peperos, and Choco Pies.
However, I quickly found a plethora of vegan Korean snacks (because of my unbelievable native pals and the help of the Vegan Korea Fb group) and ended up leaving the nation a bit heavier than after I arrived!
Korean Vegan Snacks 101
In an try and make your life slightly bit simpler while you’re subsequent in Korea, I’ve tried my greatest to listing as many vegan snacks as potential to maintain you fuelled in several eventualities.
For instance, chances are you’ll come throughout these snacks while you’re travelling by way of automobile or bus and cease off at a relaxation cease, watching a film on the cinema, popping right into a comfort retailer while in your procuring journey in Busan, or exploring the numerous meals markets of Seoul.
Listed here are the Greatest Korean Vegan Snacks
- Rice muffins/tteok – greatest snack from Korean meals markets
- Candy popcorn – greatest snack at CGV cinemas
- No Meat Burger – greatest snack from comfort shops
- Roast chestnuts – greatest snack at petrol/gasoline stations (relaxation stops)
These are just some of my favorite plant-based treats you’ll find in frequent conditions and areas you may end up in throughout South Korea. I’ve tried all of them (many instances) and vetted their components to make sure that they’re fit for human consumption as a vegan, however please be sure to observe the recommendation I give under to keep away from any disagreeable conditions.
However there are lots of extra tasty treats than the 4 I’ve listed above, so preserve scrolling to feast your eyes on much more scrumptious Korean vegan snacks!
Vegan Korean Road Meals & Market Snacks
Probably the greatest methods to expertise native tradition is to go to native marketplaces and Korea has loads of vibrant meals stalls and road meals distributors to select from. When you’re a vegan, I might advocate avoiding the seafood sections. However don’t fear, these are normally stored separate from the opposite kinds of meals.
Fortunately, there are many extremely tasty Korean vegan snacks lurking amongst the bustling stalls. Listed here are a few of my faves:
Twister Potato Sticks
Deep-fried spiralised potatoes seasoned with onion powder. Twister potatoes aren’t the healthiest snack on the earth, however they certain do get your mouth drooling! Simply be sure to select the onion powder fairly than the cheese, or simply go with out.
Ddeok (Rice Muffins)
These are actually a number of the tastiest snacks I’ve ever eaten, and so they’re so cute! Constituted of rice flour, ddeok (떡) are delicate and chewy and normally include a candy filling inside, normally purple bean or chestnut paste, that are each vegan. Nonetheless, some have honeyed sesame seeds, so be careful for these.
To be protected, ask for danpat (단팥), which suggests candy azuki bean. Ddeok are nice for sharing, by the best way, and so they make a terrific present. I purchased and acquired these on a regular basis after I was instructing English in Korea).
Kongguk (Bean Soup)
In the course of the summer time months, chances are you’ll come throughout meals stalls promoting kongguk (콩국), kong that means bean or soybean and guk that means soup. Eating places promote this as a meal with noodles (kongguksu – 콩국수), however you should purchase simply the soup from road meals distributors and drink it to maintain cool while exploring the remainder of the meals market.
It’s utterly vegan (though eating places will serve a boiled egg on prime) and so refreshingly scrumptious!
Hotteok (Candy Pancakes)
I can’t get sufficient of hotteok, however they’re normally solely accessible through the colder months. While the dough is historically by accident vegan, some road meals distributors will use eggs, milk, and even honey. That is the place studying some straightforward Korean vegan phrases would turn out to be useful, as a result of these unbelievable road meals snacks are to not be missed!
Kimbap/Gimbap (Seaweed Rice)
The Korean model of sushi, kimbap is a mixture of components wrapped in rice and seaweed. Most road distributors and takeaways make these recent, so you’ll be able to ask for the fillings you need. Watch out for spam, eggs, and crab sticks, and simply ask for greens (야채), which normally embrace pickled radish, carrots, steamed greens, and braised burdock root.
Plant-Based mostly Treats from Comfort Shops and Supermarkets
Discovering vegan snacks in Korean comfort shops and supermarkets is getting simpler these days, notably should you’re primarily based in a number of the main cities similar to Seoul or Busan. Personally, I spent most of my time in Geoje, a small and rural island off the south coast, which made issues slightly tougher.
However, chances are you’ll be shocked by what you’ll discover, even in probably the most distant areas. I’ve achieved my greatest to listing a number of the mostly discovered plant-based snacks:
No Meat Burger
Yep, you learn that proper. No Meat Burgers, or microwaveable vegan burgers, have just lately made an look in Korean comfort shops nationwide.
One factor you’ll discover while you stroll right into a 7 Eleven, GS25, or CU is that they typically have microwaves, sizzling water dispensers, tables, and chairs so you’ll be able to prepare dinner and eat your comfort meals proper there within the store!
These plant-based patties have saved me on many events after an evening out within the noraebang (karaoke) with my pals, and so they’re really fairly tasty. It’s possible you’ll not all the time discover them in rural areas, however they’re turning into an increasing number of standard.
Roast Candy Potato
Typically, Korean comfort shops have slightly oven on show with deliciously delicate roast candy potatoes that soften in your mouth. They’re 100% vegan and really low-cost!
Frozen Vegan Galbi & Kimchi Mandu
Unlimeat introduced out a variety of frozen vegan mandu in 2 completely different flavours: galbi (a soy mince model of grilled ribs) and kimchi (fermented cabbage). You should purchase these from the grocery store or comfort retailer, the place you’ll be able to warmth them up within the microwave to eat immediately!
Jaws Ice Cream
Shark ice cream! This straightforward fruit-flavoured ice deal with could be very refreshing on a sizzling Korean day.
Spicy candy tteokbokki-shaped crisps! Not like most crisps you’ll get within the UK, Korean crisps are sometimes candy and sugary, and this tteokbokki snack is not any completely different. When you’re in search of savoury vegan crisps, you’re higher off shopping for the salted Pringles which might be bought in most Korean comfort shops.
Korean Vegan Snacks from Petrol Stations/Relaxation Stops
I’ve been on some fairly lengthy bus and automobile journeys throughout Korea and learnt the arduous means how troublesome it’s to seek out vegan meals alongside the best way. Buses normally cease off at relaxation stops, the place you’ll get quarter-hour to make use of the bathroom and purchase some snacks.
When you’re fortunate and cease off through the day, the meals stalls shall be open. If not, then there’s normally a 24-hour comfort retailer the place you’ll find just a few of the snacks I’ve talked about within the above part. There are generally eating places as effectively, that are a terrific place to order bibimbap should you’ve bought longer than quarter-hour!
Listed here are a few of my favorite Korean relaxation cease snacks, normally accessible recent to purchase from the outside meals stalls:
Roast Bam (Chestnuts)
Contemporary off the coals, these infants are pure creamy, nutty bliss! And naturally they’re 100% vegan, since they’re simply chestnuts (밤).
Boiled Gamja (Potato) and Sugar
Undoubtedly one of many weirdest snacks I’ve ever purchased, Koreans steam or boil their potatoes (감자) and serve them coated in sugar or with a pot of sugar to dip them in.
Plant-Based mostly Snacks from Korean Cinemas
I’m not normally an avid cinema goer, however I went dozens of instances while dwelling in Korea, and among the best discoveries was after I came upon I may eat the candy popcorn! In fact, you’ll be able to select from a wide range of delicate drinks to clean down your snacks as effectively.
Candy (and Salted) Popcorn
No butter is used to make the candy or salted popcorn in CGV cinemas in Korea, which is nice information for vegans! Be sure to keep away from some other flavourings.
Most cinemas offers you a tray of nachos and sachets of sauce so as to add to the opposite compartments. Merely ask for no cheese sauce and you’ll get pleasure from your salted nachos with tomato salsa.