A New Start in Seoul + New Vegan Eats!

Welp, we’ve been living in our new place in Seoul for about a month now, so this post is way overdue!  There have been hard times, happy times, and lots and lots of nommy food.  Luckily (sort of?) our hagwon director felt guilty about selling his school and prematurely cancelling our contracts, so he helped us find our new place in Seoul, set up our internet, and organized our moving truck.  So, settling in was easy enough.  It is SO nice living on the Green Line, like, holy shmoly, no more two hour journeys to Hongdae!  Our new neighborhood is pretty darn funky, too.

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Vegan-Friendly Hong Kong!

Well, I realize I totally missed out on putting up a Christmas post, and now it feels like it’s way too late to even shout “HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!” without looking like a big ol’ weirdo, but life’s been busy!  Our hagwon director surprised us with the ever-so-thoughtful Christmas gift of telling us he’d secretly sold his school and was terminating our contracts early (on Christmas-frickin’-Eve!!), so Christmas was spent frantically sending out CVs and feeling totally stressed out and screwed over.  Anyway, we’d booked a holiday to Hong Kong earlier in the year, and we did contemplate cancelling it after we’d received this bad news, but I insisted that I NEEDED a vacation, so we went ahead with it anyway (and I’m super happy we did cuz it rocked!)

First things first: DA FOOOOOD!  We were shocked by the quantity and quality of vegan food in Hong Kong.  I mean, Korea loves its meat, but in Hong Kong we saw all sorts of stomach-churning sights (whole ducks, chickens, and pigs hanging in windows, old ladies selling chicken feet on the street, boxes of shark fins, lizards impaled on sticks, deer fetuses…I mean, I can keep going on if you’d like me to, but I would kinda rather stop!)  So, we basically weren’t really expecting to have much luck in finding cruelty-free cuisine, BUT WE WERE SO WRONG!

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Cafe Sukara: Vegan-Friendly Cafe in Seoul

I’ve mentioned Cafe Sukara in multiple posts on this blog, and even though I’ve enjoyed their scrumptious meals, drinks, and desserts on countless occasions, I don’t think I’ve ever actually done a review with directions and menu photos.  So, here we go!

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Vegan Eats in Insadong: Oh Se Gae Hyang and Han Gwa Chae

Insadong is rife with traditional Korean vegan and vegetarian restaurants serving temple food; we’d already visited the two most well-known temple food restaurants in this area, Sanchon and Baru, so over Buddha’s Birthday weekend, we visited two lesser known establishments: Oh Se Gae Hyang and Han Gwa Chae.

Most restaurants in Insadong are located down a series of winding labyrinths with random dead-ends, hidden doors, and unmarked fronts.  Even while using the most sophisticated navigation equipment, you’re bound to get a bit lost wandering around here!

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Veggie Yums at New Little India in Busan

Busan has a buttload of tasty Indian restaurants; none of them compare to the amazing Indian cuisine we were used to in the UK, but they’re a welcome relief from Korean food and our own home-cooking.

Our favorite used to be Namaste, located on basement level near the beach in Haeundae, but this weekend we visited New Little India in Nampo, and we were totally blown away by its deliciousness, as well as how crazy cheap it was!

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New Little India is located just off of the main shopping street in Nampo; it’s on the second floor, underneath a cat cafe.

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Vegan Eats and Treats in Seoul: Jack’s Bean and Cafe Sukkara

UPDATE: Jack’s Bean has moved to a new location.

For my last installment of this ‘Vegan Eats & Treats in Seoul’ mini-series, I’d like to highlight some of the best vegan eats in Hongdae, starting with the falafel heaven that is Jack’s Bean!

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This place is owned by a cute Korean couple who lived abroad and must’ve really craved falafel when they came home.

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Vegan Eats and Treats in Seoul: Baru Gongyang

Eating out in Seoul is a true delight, and a real treat for us since we’ve given up completely on eating out in Ulsan, the land of endless greasy Korean barbeque and fried chicken joints.

Our diets have changed completely since moving to Korea, due to a combination of factors, including price and availability of certain foods, and my outlook on the food industry has changed a lot since moving here.  Korea is a country OBSESSED with meat.  You can’t walk down a street without coming across posters depicting piles of raw beef and fatty strips of pork.  And, as you’d expect in a country where the consumption of dog and whale meat is still very prevalent, there really isn’t much in the way of animal welfare, or the humane treatment of animals.  Consequently, I’ve pretty much stopped eating meat and animal products entirely since moving here.  The only animal products I still consume are organic honey and sustainably wild-caught sardines, which I have shipped over from the US.

Eoin’s still a meat-eater, though he only buys Australian beef, as we’ve both been disconcerted by the fact that even though beef seems to be the staple of the modern Korean diet, we haven’t seen a single cow in any of the stretches of farmland we’ve driven past.  I’ve actually only seen two cows in Korea, harnessed into the back of a flatbed pick-up truck…

Thankfully, we were spoiled for choice with delicious vegan options in Seoul!

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