TBT | Finding Vegan Treats in South Korea

Cover for South Korea veg food

When I moved to South Korea, I wasn’t 100% sure what to expect as a vegan, but I knew I needed a change. It was a typical story, or at least one that would become kind of typical for me: a relationship had ended, so I set my sights on moving. Granted, some of my moves have not been quite as dramatic as going from the far eastern portion of Canada to the far eastern portion of Asia, but this one warranted such a thing. Plus, if I was going to try and avoid Adele on the radio, I might as well go far away, right?

So, after sitting in Vancouver, British Columbia long enough to find a job in SK, get the paperwork in order, and arrange flights, I eventually found myself in Daegu, a city practically in the middle of the country. Although I’m sure my attitude at the time didn’t help matters, Daegu didn’t initially offer much to woo me out of my routine of watching Mad Men and waiting for folks back home to wake-up so I could feel a little less alone. The fact that Adele followed me there didn’t help either.

Of course, as often happens with a big move after a big life event, things improved. One of the ways in which that happened was through me finding some other vegans in the city, as well as connecting with the veggie group in Seoul. Along with that, I was also lucky enough to be in a city that had a monthly documentary night at an English-friendly cafe, which often focused on the environment and activism. In fact, I eventually ended up hosting at least one of those movie nights in connection with the release of an issue of the magazine. Basically, I started to make friends and the city started to feel a little less lonely.

So Delicious ice cream in Daegu, South Korea

To top it all off, a So Delicious ice cream store opened up just a block or two away from my apartment, which made any bad day bearable. Sadly, said story opened only about a month or so before I was headed back to Canada, but I made sure to get as much ice cream in me as I could before I boarded a plane!

Just Around the Corner

Without rambling any further about the six months I spent there, and simply because I don’t want to turn this into a Vegan Food in South Korea post because it’s been years since I’ve been there, today’s throwback picture was just a reminder of how South Korea eventually became somewhere that I was comfortable. A big part of that was due to finding more and more vegan options the longer I explored the city, and the country itself. A great example is the food in the picture, which was purchased within a ten minute walk from my apartment at one of the many health food stores that were becoming quite popular in the city. For at least a month or so, I didn’t even know the place existed, and then one day I just walked around the corner from the main grocery store I visited, and there it was.

Not surprisingly, much has changed since I left, and SK has even held a vegan festival. However, even when I was there, I slowly but surely found veg things in some unexpected spots. Now, as I’m in the midst of my second long-term visit to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, I’m having the same experience. Although HCMC was veg-friendly from the first day I arrived, and it stands as one of my favourite places in SE Asia, I’m still finding new options that I didn’t know existed.

Basically, if there’s one thing I learned during my time in South Korea (besides the fact that time heals all wounds, but it sucks to hear that), it’s that one should always explore where you are. From vegan cheese in a small shop in Istanbul to veg ham in Daegu, I’ve had some great meals due to this curiosity, and exploring the aisles of random shops continues to be one of my favourites things to do on any trip.

Now, if I could just find a delivery service in HCMC like Mipa from Alien’s Day Out was offering in SK, I’ll be a happy camper!

Vegan delivery from Alien's Day Out in South Korea

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