Our K-Meal in Seoul

Food options for a vegetarian in Seoul

Finding vegetarian food in Seoul is sure a task and I wanted to experience a traditional K-meal. It seemed all the more difficult. Most restaurants usually have one or at the most two vegetarian or vegan dishes on their menu and it becomes difficult for a someone like me to enjoy the food. I remember during one such food hunt, we rejected a couple of restaurants which absolutely had no vegetarian dishes during lunch time, before ordering from a small cafe’s breakfast menu. The owner there omitted the meat from the Mexican dish to make it vegetarian for us. I thoroughly enjoyed it though 🙂 Take a look:

Chipotle beans with tortillas and bagel with cream cheese and salad for lunch with some drink and glass
Our lunch on day 1 in Seoul: Chipotle beans with tortillas and bagels with cream cheese, mandarins and salad.

Osegyehyang for a Traditional K-Meal

I wanted to try some good traditional Korean food when I was in the country. There are tons of restaurants at every corner but as I said earlier, finding good vegetarian food is a challenge. The issue is that I am a hard core vegetarian and Korea being a peninsula with extreme weather conditions, has traditionally included pork and beef in their meals. However, we kept looking online and stumbled upon this great vegan restaurant in Insadong. (click on the link to reach the website of the restaurant)

Korean vegan restaurant in Seoul
Osegyehyang restaurant for a traditional K-meal in Seoul
The inside of the restaurant in Seoul
The interiors of the restaurant – Neat and clean. The cutlery is placed in the drawers under the table. One is supposed to take it from there. Each table is provided with ipad menus where one can select and order after taking a table.

What we Ordered and Enjoyed?

I am still a novice when it comes to K-food. However, I learnt that a traditional K-meal consists of rice, a meat-based soup/stew and a variety of vegetables and side dishes.

Here in Osegyehyang, we ordered tteobeoki(spicy rice cakes), fried kimchi dumplings, stir fried chinese noodles, bibimbap and rice shikhye ( non-acloholic sweet rice drink)

Bibimbap and kimchis are served on a table.
Our Vegan Bibimbap – Warm rice served with banchan (side dishes). The banchan includes a big bowl of blanched greens/veggies, bean sprouts, kimchis, and tofu stews
Is it a Korean dolma on the upper left side of the pic? Stalwarts please help with your comments …

Bibim refers to mixing and bap means rice. Bibimbap is a traditional Korean bowl of steamed white rice topped with fresh, marinated, seasoned, stewed vegetables along with raw or seared meat. Here, we got a variety of vegetables and tofu stews to mix with our rice. Everything is to be mixed together and eaten.

Stir fried noodles, tteobeoki, and fried dumplings along with kimchi are served on a table.
Chinese stir fried noodles, tteobeoki, and fried dumplings along with sides of various types of kimchis and dipping sauce

What We Liked the Most in our K-Meal?

Well, no points for guessing that fried dumplings were our collective favourites, followed by tteobeoki (the spicy rice cakes in gravy) in our K-meal. My son loved the dumplings and wanted us to order more. And not to mention the spicy kimchis which we got in plenty. We never ordered the kimchis. They are the soul food of Korea and are placed on every meal table as banchan (side dishes). These fermented kimchis are not only healthy, a good source of gut bacteria but also very flavourful.

My husband loved the spicy tofu stews and he really enjoyed his serving of bibimbap too. For me, I loved the sweet rice beverage, Shikhye. Mildly sweet and good for your palate after eating all this spicy food. Bibimbap was good too but to be honest, I am yet to develop a fond taste for it. May be, more visits to this restaurant can help me savour the dish better. 🙂

Till then, bon appetite…and yes, if you liked reading about my food adventure in Seoul, then try reading about my food exploration in Italy too. Click on the link to continue reading.

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