UPDATE: November 2014: Veggieholic has shut down, but the owner has opened a similar bakery in Sinchon called The Bread Blue. Click here for photos and directions! ❤
I’m not sure how, but I had never heard of Veggieholic (a vegan bakery in Hongdae) until pretty recently, even though it’s been around for years! I did a quick search for it on the interwebz and found that it moved from its original location a couple years ago, and there were also some remarks about it not being completely vegan. It was pretty tricky to find (don’t worry: I’ve included detailed directions at the bottom of this post!), but once I got there the owner reassured me that EVERYTHING in the shop was egg, milk, and butter-free.
So I went right ahead and got stuck into all that carby goodness!
Bakeries are still a pretty recent phenomenon in Korea. I guess we Westerners don’t really think too hard about bread, since it’s such a staple food for us and it’s freakin’ EVERYWHERE. Before moving to Korea, I was living in N.Ireland, where every damn day my breakfast was some sorta spread on toast, lunch was something a bit bulkier (like beans or mushrooms) on toast, and dinner could very well include some sorta bread-like substance, too (Irish stew with a round of buttered bread, a big crusty pie, pasta or lasagne with an obligatory slab of garlic bread…you get the drift.)
Sooo, moving to basically bread-less Ulsan was a bit of a shock. Sure, there are loads of ‘bakeries’ in Korea, such as Paris Baguette and Tous les Jours, but they serve up super creamy, buttery, sugary, white-floured baked goods. For a while we bought soft and squishy beige-toned loaves from Homeplus, fooling ourselves into believing it was brown bread, but I’m pretty sure that stuff was just loaded with milk and sugar, too.
Anyway! It’s still all (mostly) white flour at Veggieholic, but at least you know it’s egg and dairy-free. And everything here is SO CHEAP! You would struggle to find anything here priced at over 5 bucks.
The labels are all in Korean, so it’s a bit of a guessing game! Though, the man who owns the shop does speak English quite well, and is very friendly and happy to help. A note about those bagged cookies on the top of the display: I’ve tried three of the four available variations and two of them weren’t too pleasing to my foreign taste buds. The pink and green ones tasted like cherry and green tea, but a really super bitter green tea, the brown ones that look like little turds are made from beans, and the blackish grey dusty-looking ones are black soybean (which I’ve grown to like since living here.)
Lots of crusty breads. I just had one of those baguettes with my dinner, toasted and drizzled with garlic-infused olive oil, and it was pretty amazing.
Cutie Pororo cookies! Be warned: these guys are addictive. But, at less than a buck a cookie, I guess it’s a pretty cheap addiction. They taste like a cross between shortbread and sugar cookies.
The little fridge at the front is filled with the tastiest treats (in my opinion, anyway.) Chocolate cake and walnut brownies to name a couple. The first time we came here, we also had a piece of ‘Blueberry Sandwich’ outta the fridge. It was basically two hefty slices of shortbread with a sweet blueberry compote in the middle. Yummy McYummersons.
The tastiest thing we’ve had from here has to be the cinnamon apple streusel. I don’t have a photo of it cuz we snarfed it down so quickly, but it’s pretty easily recognizable. They really didn’t scrimp with the cinnamon on this one; the whole thing is covered in powdery cinnamon crumbles, and it’s filled with cubes of cinnamon-soaked apples.
EDIT: When we went back to Veggieholic last weekend, I (accidentally) grabbed a sweet potato streusel.
I’ve had perfectly pleasant sweet potato pound cakes from Loving Hut before, but sweet potato just does not work in this streusel. The potato chunks are way too heavy compared with the light, fluffy bread. DEFINITELY stick with the apple variation. If you’re not sure, look for the 사과 (sagwa) sign, which is Korean for ‘apple.’
They also bake
three FOUR variations of square loaf bread: a grey one, a pink one, a green one, AND a wholegrain loaf! I think the grey one may have been black soybean-flavored, though it didn’t really have a strong taste. The pink one is possibly cherry? It has fruity smell, but again, not a strong taste. And I’ve yet to try the green one, though I’m guessing it’s gonna be green tea-flavored. I had no idea they did wholegrain bread until this past weekend. Super happy now!
I’ve tried all of their muffins, too! Chocolate, berry, banana, and green tea with red beans. They were all a bit on the dry side, but enjoyable. I was actually surprised by how much I liked the green tea and red bean one!
Here are some of the goodies I grabbed on our last visit:
Black soybean cookies (the taste is reminiscent of tahini, but saltier), a bun filled with green bean paste(?), the pink bread, and the bean cookies (that cocoa powder dusting totally tricked me, blargh!)
They make custom cakes, too!
The sign’s pretty hard to miss, too!
Hongik University Station, Exit 3. Walk straight out of the station until you see a GS25 on your left; turn right through a tall barrier and cross a dirt path. Turn left and walk straight. The road will fork; cross at the pedestrian crossing and resume walking straight. Turn right at a GS25, then turn left. Veggieholic is on the right.