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Bill & Sunnie in hanbok

When you visit this blog, you get the whole spectrum of Korean vegan food. You’ve got Sunnie, your authentic, born-and-raised-in-Seoul Korean, dispensing not only knowledge about yummy vegan Korean food, but also some of the seemingly endless Korean sayings.

Then you’ve got Bill, a Chinese-American Hoosier, who married into Korean cuisine but was a big kimchi fan long before meeting his wife.

The result is a blog dishing on our experiences recreating our favorite Korean recipes as vegan. We’ll also be throwing in the occasional Midwest recipe and serving up our thoughts on the vegan life in Indiana, and the kpop and kdrama scenes as well.

Since we decided to adopt a vegan life style due to our rejection of the factory farming system that has made the meat and dairy industries inhumane, unhealthy, and bad for the environment, we will also now and then be sharing news on the animal rights activism front.

Our journey to a vegan diet progressed a step at a time. Sunnie first decided to become vegetarian after viewing a film, Koyaanisqatsi (Life out of Balance), in a graduate class discussion about human systems. The film, a montage of stock video footage set to music, showed new born chicks being sorted and having the tips of their beaks burned off  on an assembly line. While the film was not about animal rights, Sunnie was struck by the reality of how she had never thought about the inhumane processes behind the food on our table. That day, she decided she did not want to participate in the factory farming approach that dominates modern meat production.

Bill had previously thought that he would like to be vegetarian but would never be able to handle it, so he agreed to be a vegetarian while at home. After a few months, he then adopted a pescatarian diet (the only meat eaten is seafood) before becoming fully vegetarian within a year. We transitioned to drinking soy and rice milk instead of dairy, and we only bought eggs that were humane certified.

Only a few years ago, we felt that we could never adhere to the realities of a vegan diet. How would we be able to eat out? Wouldn’t it be a lot of effort and inconvenience? And most importantly, how in the world could we give up cheese?! Ultimately, we became vegetarian because of our rejection of factory farming, and the realization of the inherent cruelty in the dairy industry and its connection to veal led us to commit to becoming vegan.

After four years of being vegetarian, the transition to a vegan diet was actually incredibly easy. We had told ourselves it would be so hard, but we found that we enjoyed cooking, and we liked knowing what was in the things we ate. We found lots of great recipes, and at first, we found Daiya, a non-dairy cheese that helped us transition away from cheese. Once we broke that addiction, and yes, it is a physical addiction, we really don’t miss cheese at all.

We also quickly realized health benefits. Bill lost 15 pounds, and Sunnie’s immune system improved amazingly. Her frequent migraines, heart burn, sinus infections completely disappeared. Both of us saw our allergies completely disappear as well.

The switch to a vegan diet has been so positive for us, that we wanted to share our experience. Hello and welcome (annyong haseyo, hwangyoung hampnida), and don’t hesitate to ask any questions or share your own experiences!

115 Comments leave one →
  1. Arlena permalink
    November 16, 2010 7:57 pm

    Hi, I was really excited to see your blog. I saw your posting on The Kind Life and followed your link. My husband and I are also from Indiana and we are very eager to learn how to make our own kimchi. I look forward to learning more from you. Thanks again.

    • Sunnie permalink*
      November 16, 2010 9:48 pm

      Hello Arlena!

      Thanks for visiting our blog as our first visitor! It’s great to know that we have Kind Lifers nearby. We have been really enjoying being a part of the Kind Life community and thought we should start something to share our journey as well. Thanks for visiting and always feel free to leave comments and ask us any questions about Korean cooking!

    • November 16, 2010 10:37 pm

      Hi, Arlena! Thanks for visiting. We’re just getting this blog started but are having fun with it. We’re thrilled to have you provide our first comment! Check back with us. It’s great to have another person from Indiana. We’d love to hear about you and your husband’s journey as Kind Lifers and your favorite restaurants from the area. Thanks for coming by!

  2. Ann permalink
    December 23, 2010 11:07 am

    Hi Sunnie and Bill.. let me just say that you guys are adorable and I love that picture of you dressed in traditional clothing!! Second, I have become a big fan of Korean food since Yonjoo Cho at IST introduced me to it, brought me my first Kimbab and took me to lunch at Soban!
    Now, I am even more excited to cook some vegan variations since I am vegetarian with a particular fondness for the vegan fare. Thanks for sharing your wisdom.
    Ann

    • Sunnie permalink*
      December 23, 2010 1:35 pm

      Hello Ann! I didn’t know you liked Korean food, although I did suspect that you probably might be vegetarian with your healthy lifestyle. I hope you try some Korean cooking, and let me know if you have any questions! :P Hope all is well and happy holidays!

  3. June 17, 2011 9:04 am

    Thank you very much for putting these great recipes on the Internet. We love Korean food but after becoming a vegetarian (16 years ago) and now a vegan ( 1 year ago), it has been difficult to eat Korean food. Lots of humans and all animals are thanking you. Keep up the good work.
    -Rashmi

    • Bill permalink*
      June 19, 2011 1:16 pm

      Thanks for coming by, Rashmi! And thanks for the kind comments. We hope you enjoy the recipes and successfully reacquaint yourself with the yumminess that is Korean food!

  4. July 19, 2011 6:47 pm

    Thank you for putting up the recipe. I am doing the blood type/genotype diet and can’t have fish or shrimp paste due to health issues. The vegan kimchee recipe is super helpful. I am in South Bend, IN which makes getting pepper powder a bit difficult. My parents are first generation Korean but live in L.A. If my local Korean grocer does not have pepper powder, I am going to ask my parents to send some. I had some store bought kimchee and it contained MSG which affected my stomach. Hence, I am trying to make my own. Seeing the pictures on your blog reminds me of my childhood when my mother and grandmother would make kimchee in huge batches. :-) Thanks!!!

    • Sunnie permalink*
      July 19, 2011 7:13 pm

      Hello, Morning Sun! Thanks for visiting our blog, it’s great to hear from someone in Indiana. Right, you might have to come to Indianapolis or Bloomington to get Korean pepper powder, but I really do hope you find some nearby! I know, I have major MSG allergies and I can’t eat anything with even a small amount of MSG, or else I will get 8+ hours of intense headache. That’s one of the reasons why making kimchi is so awesome. Please let us know if you have any questions while you make your kimchi and let us know if it turns out well! :) Thanks!!

  5. Hélène permalink
    August 1, 2011 6:26 pm

    Sunnie and Bill, thank you for sharing your vegan experience and tantalizing Korean recipes with us! I was on a vegetarian diet for about 20 years before switching to a vegan diet. It is difficult to eat out (esp. when the diet also entails gluten-free, soy-free and nut-free) but not impossible. And since my husband and I find homecooking usually more tasty than restaurant… I hence prowl the net to find interesting meal ideas – and here you are! Please continue with your posts (both activism and recipes), looking forward to following you :)
    Hélène

    • Bill permalink*
      August 1, 2011 10:04 pm

      Hi, Hélène! Wow, those restrictions would be tough on us; although, as we found with vegan cooking, more restrictions can also open up more creativity, as I’m sure you’ve found. We hope you enjoy the recipes. Thanks for finding us and thanks for encouraging the activism as well. Let us know if any questions pop up and let us know how the recipes turn out for you!

    • Kelly permalink
      November 12, 2011 8:17 pm

      Hello,
      I am so excited to find your site! Hélène, I would love to hear how you have incorporated the gluten-free, soy-free and nut-free aspect into your cooking. We have some of the same food restrictions in our house! We love Korean food – I am vegetarian, and my son was recently determined to have wheat, dairy, egg, soy, peanut and apple restrictions for his diet.

      • Bill permalink*
        November 13, 2011 8:12 am

        Hi, Kelly! Thanks for finding us. Sunnie and I were just in Jacksonville and ate at an awesome restaurant (will be posting about this later) that offered some vegan and raw-gluten free items on its menu. I thought I’d point this out because all of the raw items were also gluten-free, and while I’m not knowledgeable enough about the raw diet to know if this is always true, I believe it is usually true. We’ve browsed through some of Ani Phyo’s raw cookbooks, and she offers some raw Korean recipes as well, which is always a plus! You might check out her site and books and look into the raw option. If you do, let us know how it goes. We have some interest, but it seems a little challenging!

      • Hélène permalink
        November 14, 2011 11:17 am

        Hi Kelly,
        As Bill and Sunnie mentioned, sometimes, having a “restriction” means that a whole other world opens up… it can be difficult at first to figure out replacement items for gluten-, soy-, nut-, dairy- free cooking, but it’s worth it. Ani Phyo’s newest cookbook is excellent and may give you some ideas. Many of Sunnie and Bill’s recipes can be adapted as well. For soy, you can use coconut amino acids (the brand I use is Coconut Secret). For nuts, you can use seeds instead (unless that’s also an allergy…): sesame, sunflower, pumpkin, chia, hemp hearts (Rocky Mountain can ship a case of 9 to you). Instead of gluten products, we’ve turned to rice products: rice pasta, rice tortillas, rice bread (a few brands a vegan although not that tasty unless toasted), and many types of rice in general cooked in the rice cooker. When travelling, we always book a room with a kitchen and bring both our rice cooker and our mini blender so that we can make our green smoothies and juices. As back-up, I always carry some Vega meal replacement pouches with me. And voilà! Hope these tips help you, wishing you all the best in your allergen-free culinary journey :)

  6. August 2, 2011 9:46 am

    Wow! What a great blog you have in here! Just love your content having almost all Korean stuff in one. I’m sure everybody will be satiated not only for those food write-ups but for all other stuff this blog can offer. Wishing you guys a blessed & happy life together and thanks for sharing this!

    Thanks! Kamsahapnida! Xie xie! Salamat!

    • Sunnie permalink*
      August 2, 2011 11:46 am

      Hi, Gian! Thanks for visiting our blog and for the kind, good wishes. :) I just visited your blog – so much fun – and it looks like you watch some Korean dramas! We frequently share our thoughts on Korean drams on our blog as well… we just finished Greatest Love and really enjoyed it. So we’ll have a post up soon. Thanks again for visiting, Gian!

  7. August 23, 2011 2:43 pm

    Hi Sunnie & Bill,

    Stumbled upon your website today and was surprised I hadn’t seen it before! Our family business is making vegan kimchi that we sell online and in select Whole Foods Markets. I know you guys do most of your own cooking, but can we send you a sample for review?

    Cheers,
    Connie
    http://www.GrannyChoe.com

    • Bill permalink*
      September 1, 2011 7:15 pm

      Hi, Connie! Sorry for the lateness in our reply; your comment ended up in the spam folder for some reason, so we just noticed it. We love your company’s tagline, it’s great! Yes, that sounds wonderful. We’d love to try a sample. Let us know how to contact you and thanks for finding us!

  8. Lexie permalink
    November 20, 2011 3:10 am

    Tonight I suddenly got a hankering for my step mom Soo Gin’s bulgogi and wondered if there was a vegan version out there. I happened upon your site and I am so happy I did. I can’t wait to try many of the recipes. Thank you so much for sharing.

    • Sunnie permalink*
      November 20, 2011 7:48 am

      Hi, Lexie!
      Thanks so much for visiting! We are so glad to hear that you will be trying our recipes. Makes us so happy. :) Let us know how they turn out and if you have any recipe requests as well.

  9. sandition permalink
    January 14, 2012 1:57 pm

    You are such a beautiful couple! I’m planning on making your Gaji-bap recipe I found on Korea Taste. Congratulations on your award!

    • Sunnie permalink*
      January 14, 2012 10:30 pm

      Terry, so sweet of you – thank you!! Make sure to put a lot of chives into your Gajibap – makes it so much yummier! ;) Hope you enjoy!!

  10. Andy Nichols permalink
    January 31, 2012 4:39 pm

    Great website. I’m half-Korean and Korean food has long been my favorite. While I’m not vegan, my and wife and I are vegetarian. I’m looking forward to trying your recipes.

    • Bill permalink*
      January 31, 2012 4:41 pm

      Thanks, Andy. So glad to hear that your wife and you are vegetarian. Hope you enjoy the recipes and let us know how they turn out!

  11. February 24, 2012 5:04 am

    Hi, I really like your blog. Wonder if you pack lunch to work? If so, could you also share how you do that with Korean food?
    Tks!

    • Bill permalink*
      February 24, 2012 8:55 am

      Hi, JK! I do take lunch with me to the office using a bento box I bought from Amazon. I’ll do a post on it very soon to give you the details on the one I use. Thanks for visiting!

  12. March 15, 2012 8:43 am

    Hi Sunnie & Bill! Love your blog and am very happy to have found it totally by coincidence when I was trying to find a vegan kimchee recipe this morning.

    I will be back to visit often, that’s for sure, but wanted to say thank you for maintaining such a fantastic blog.

    I love that you mention k-dramas too!

    • Sunnie permalink*
      March 15, 2012 9:23 am

      Alua! It looks like you have a very cool blog yourself! Thanks for visiting. We hope the vegan kimchi turns out well! We will keep updating on k-dramas, so please visit us often!! :)

  13. SNSD_Go_Vegan permalink
    April 19, 2012 4:04 pm

    You guys are awesome!
    I bookmarked your page and will try to visit often!

    • Sunnie permalink*
      April 19, 2012 9:29 pm

      Thanks for visiting, SNSD Go Vegan! let us know if you try out any of our recipes!! ;)

  14. Connie Robinson permalink
    June 18, 2012 12:44 pm

    Hi! I just ran into your blog. It looks amazing! I have been vegan for 9 mos. after reading about factory farming. Still learning the ropes but it has gotten me off several medications and out of a wheelchair so I’m hooked.
    I live in Indianapolis and I’m going to visit friends in Ohio who are excited to take us to their favorite Korean restaurant. I’ve never eaten Korean food but I’m open to anything. I don’t think they have an online menu for check out ahead of time. Could you give me any suggestion on what would be vegan & what to stay away from?
    Thanks so much for your time.

    • Bill permalink*
      June 18, 2012 8:29 pm

      Hi, Connie. That’s wonderful to hear your vegan story. Becoming vegan certainly can make a profound and fast impact on your health. I’m glad to hear it did with you!

      The easiest way to be vegan at a Korean restaurant is probably to order bibambap without egg and without beef. Then it’ll just be rice and mixed vegetables – but still super yummy.

      Japchae is also easily made vegan if you ask them to leave out any beef. These are probably the two dishes most easily made vegan and also probably the two Korean dishes most accessible to western palates inexperienced with Korean cuisine.

      However, most places will also be willing to make kimchi jigae or soon dubu just using water or vegetable broth as the base for the soup, but it gets a little more complicated as you will have to specify no egg and no seafood in the soon dubu and no seafood in the kimchi jigae, and make sure they understand that you also mean no seafood in the broth. So the first two are probably your safest bets.

      Do keep in mind that some restaurants will put a tiny bit of very small brine shrimp, in the form of a ground paste, in their kimchi as well, but not all of them, so that’s a sneaky animal ingredient that you likely would not be able to spot with your eye or your taste buds – the only way to tell is to ask.

      Thanks for finding the blog and enjoy your first taste of Korean food!

      • Connie Robinson permalink
        June 18, 2012 10:17 pm

        Thank you so much for your suggestions! I’m writing them down so I won’t forget.
        I’m glad you posted the link to Drama Fever — I’m checking out Bridal Mask right now. Lucky for me they have English subtitles.
        Thanks again!

      • Bill permalink*
        June 20, 2012 1:30 pm

        You’re very welcome. I hope you enjoy whatever you try! We haven’t had time to check out Bridal Mask yet, so let us know what you think!

      • Connie Robinson permalink
        July 17, 2012 8:41 pm

        Just got back from our trip & 1st Korean food. Our friends actually remembered I’m vegan & they had a lively discussion w/the chef’s husband on what I should eat. They have a large Muslim clientele so they are geared up for vegans. I ended up w/bibimbap with their secret spicy red sauce (to die for) and they want me to try the japchae the next time. I was so happy to know what they were talking about–thanks to you! If anyone is in Harrison, Ohio, I highly recommend Kim’s Korean Restaurant. I’m perfectly willing to move to be near that great food!

      • Sunnie permalink*
        July 17, 2012 9:04 pm

        So glad you enjoyed it! The restaurant sounds delicious!! ;)

  15. Connie Robinson permalink
    June 22, 2012 12:41 pm

    I love Bridal Mask! Also – A Gentleman’s Dignity. A few months ago, our tv died a fairly gentle death. My daughter & I decided not to replace it. We don’t watch that much and the shows we like are online. We wanted to spend the money on other stuff. I cannot believe I’m getting addicted to tv shows with subtitles!! LOL

    • Bill permalink*
      June 24, 2012 12:59 pm

      Thanks for the recommendation, Connie. We’ve been focusing on Big and Gentleman’s Dignity, but checked out the first two episodes of Bridal Mask while waiting for new episodes to be posted and are enjoying it!

  16. June 29, 2012 8:16 am

    Hello Again Sunnie and Bill! I am so in love with your blog! It inspires me to try and get more recipes and info on my own blog and i can’t wait to try all the food! My nearest asian market is about an hour away so I certainly can not make regular visits. I would love to see a post about stocking a “korean pantry” or suggestions of recipes to start with so I can run up there and buy some stuff without wasting much or any.

    • Sunnie permalink*
      June 29, 2012 10:38 am

      Emily!
      I would recommend some pepper paste, large bag of rice, kimchi, nori (Kim), bean paste, soy sauce, sesame or perrilla oil, Korean pepper powder, and sesame seeds! Maybe some sweet potato noodles too. Hope you enjoy the recipes! So excited that you’ll be trying different dishes.

  17. June 29, 2012 11:01 am

    Thanks for the recommendation Sunnie! I think I will also pick up some rice cakes too, I really want to try some of your recipes that had that in it. :) I’m so stoked! I want to drive up to Philadelphia today to get it all and start cooking!

  18. July 16, 2012 11:17 pm

    I’m a mostly vegetarian (my self-chosen diet’s sort of complicated; I’m essentially a sushitarian, as in I’ll allow myself to eat raw seafood but other than that, I’m vegetarian) who lived in Korea for a year. There were, of course, ups and downs when it came to getting sustenance but I felt that it was worth it. :) Either way, since returning to the States, I have moments where I crave Korean food so I’m really glad I found your wordpress!

    I can’t wait to hear more from you two!

    • Sunnie permalink*
      July 17, 2012 12:56 pm

      So cool that you lived in Korea for a year! We do hope the recipes help you create some of the dishes you miss. ;) Let us know how they turn out and always let us know if you have any questions!

      • July 17, 2012 1:09 pm

        I greatly enjoyed my time in Korea! I also plan on taking advantage of all your recipes. I occasionally get a craving for jjigae’s… like now. :]

      • Sunnie permalink*
        July 17, 2012 9:01 pm

        Jigae cravings can be intense! ;) Hope you enjoy the recipes and making the jigaes yourself!!

      • July 17, 2012 10:06 pm

        haha, too true. ^^

        I do have an additional question: would making the spicy radish cube kimchi be similar to making the regular spicy cabbage kimchi? I tried looking for a recipe on your site but I couldn’t find one..

      • Sunnie permalink*
        July 17, 2012 10:29 pm

        Yes, it’s pretty much the same- you salt the radish and add the same kimchi seasoning!

      • July 17, 2012 10:58 pm

        Thanks!! :) I love cabbage kimchi cooked in foods but I love radish kimchi the best as a side dish, along with the perilla leaf kimchi. ^^

  19. Icky permalink
    July 19, 2012 11:05 pm

    Dear Sunnie & Bill; I really appreciate your blog!! The recipes are great… very tasty. Also, it is very informative, helping fuel my interest in Korean culture!! Thanks for putting the work and effort into it!!

    • Bill permalink*
      July 20, 2012 2:04 pm

      Thanks very much, Icky! :P We’re very glad you’re enjoying the blog. It’s a lot of fun to be able to connect to so many people who are interested in Korean food and culture.

  20. August 3, 2012 11:50 pm

    enjoying your website and postings. thank you! ^^

    • Sunnie permalink*
      August 5, 2012 9:33 pm

      Hi Olivia! So glad that you’re enjoying our blog – thanks for visiting!!

  21. Sophia permalink
    August 10, 2012 12:05 am

    Nice blog, glad to know it’s here. I found you guys when I was looking for a vegan kimchi jun recipe. I never did find one, but made one up just by skipping the eggs, and it was actually pretty great. Probably because my vegan organic kimchi is so awesome to start.

    Anyway, hi! thanks! and what’s the 8 for?

    • Sunnie permalink*
      August 10, 2012 9:03 am

      So great that your kimchi jun was good! Yes, you really don’t need to do anything fancy with it, if the kimchi is good, the kimchi-jun will always be good. :) Oh, the 8 stands for “ate”. Vegan ate Korean. Haha. :)

  22. Silvia permalink
    September 22, 2012 12:54 am

    Hello, I stumbled upon your blog and I was very happy to see another Korean vegan! 반가워요! I don’t know any vegan personally and no Korean vegan for that matter. I plan to start a vegan blog myself so I can learn from other vegans as yourself. I like your blog. It’s informative and entertaining. Thanks!

    • Sunnie permalink*
      September 22, 2012 9:42 pm

      Thanks so much for finding us, Sylvia and your kind words! Good luck with your blog too! ;)

  23. yipyip permalink
    October 4, 2012 12:10 am

    You guys ROCK!! I’ve been vegetarian for a very long time…but i just can’t live without ice cream! On the verge of vegan minus the ice cream!! Mum’s a vegan though!

    I’ve become concerned bout visiting Korea due to the fact that most of the food there contains at least egg or seafood..make me worried!!

    Glad to stumble across this site! Will be bookmarked! Thank you!!!

    • Bill permalink*
      October 4, 2012 10:11 am

      Hi, yipyip! Thanks for the kind comments and for finding us. It’s awesome that your mom’s vegan and you’re vegetarian. There are some really great vegan ice creams out there though (at least in the US) and some great recipes online! ;)

      If you’re in Seoul, there are actually a ton of great vegan restaurants. You might have to do a little traveling to get to them, but we always get fat when we visit because it’s like a vegan paradise at these places! :)

      • yipyip permalink
        October 5, 2012 3:07 am

        Hi Bill,

        I’ve yet to find great vegan ice cream here in Australia!! =( They all lack the creaminess of ice creams which I love!!

        Do you have any recommendations of restaurants in Korea?

      • Bill permalink*
        October 5, 2012 10:11 pm

        Definitely the easiest way to have vegan dining in Korea is to go to one of the many Loving Hut restaurants. We have a post on one of them that is actually in Indiana, but they are all over Seoul, and a number of them have buffets. Then you have the temple food restaurants. Select our restaurants category in the drop down menu on the right, and you can see some of the ones we’ve been to and recommend! Hope you can visit!

  24. Connie Robinson permalink
    October 4, 2012 10:32 am

    Yipyip, Have you tried “nice” cream? Cut up and freeze bananas, put them in a food processor or a high powered blender– nice cream! Delish! Add unsweetened powdered chocolate or peanut butter–whatever, maybe a dash of vanilla extract, raisins. Good & healthy.

    • yipyip permalink
      October 5, 2012 3:10 am

      Hi Connie,
      I’ve done that for smoothies though minus the raisins!! =)

  25. Jennifer Lee permalink
    December 24, 2012 10:45 pm

    Hello. I found a link to your blog by googling a search on what the ingredients are in bean paste/doenjang (hope I said that correctly). I just recently got interested in learning about Korea. I was introduced by watching my first ever Kdrama. I’ve been hooked ever since. I even order the Pimsleur course for Korean. A couple of months ago I celebrated my 1 year anniversary of becoming an Ovo-Lacto Vegetarian. I have exposed myself to so much over the past few years (by that I mean opening my eyes to living things) I just woke up one day and decided I was done eating “meat”. My intention is to some day only eat 100% WHOLE foods. I am not putting myself under a time constraint since I realize I am addicted to food; extremely addicted given my current weight. I too, tell myself I don’t know how I’m going to give up cheese. Just reading your comments on this page I feel less troubled about that now, so thanks for that ;) I have bookmarked your site as I am sure I will be back when I begin cooking more on my own.

    • Bill permalink*
      December 26, 2012 2:53 pm

      Hi, Jennifer! Congrats on your anniversary, that’s great to hear. Reading the Kind Diet and its no pressure approach to becoming vegan helped us to make the switch. Keeping in mind that it is a journey and just continue to progress down that road. Really, starting to cook for yourself is such a big step. It’s so hard to eat out and be healthy. And I think you’ll find reducing and then cutting dairy really makes a big difference as well; it certainly did for me.

      It’s funny; I started with Pimsleur too (and still have a long way to go). You might also check out Talk to Me in Korean. They have extensive free lessons online. Thanks for visiting and good luck on your journey!

  26. Sophia permalink
    January 21, 2013 3:37 am

    Bill & Sunnie,

    Sophia here again. I wonder if you can help me. Do you know of any brands of chun jang and daen jang that uses non-gmo soy? My Korean is really poor so I can’t read ingredients. But maybe you guys know some safe brands?

    Thanks!

    • Sophia permalink
      January 21, 2013 3:38 am

      Or maybe some of your readers might know!

    • Sunnie permalink*
      January 21, 2013 9:12 am

      Hi Sophia! I know the chun jang from
      “Choripdong” is vegan and MSG free. Not sure if it is non gmo though.

      As for dwen jang, there should be a variety of brands that don’t use MSG.. We use “Shoonchang”, and they don’t use MSG!

      • Sophia permalink
        January 21, 2013 1:47 pm

        Thanks, Sunnie. I’ll post again if I find out more.

  27. larissa permalink
    January 27, 2013 8:28 pm

    My husband and I adopted our son from Korea a bit over a year ago. We are a mostly vegan family and stumbled across your blog while planning the menu for this year’s Asian New Year party. We live in rural Maine and our son is the only Asian American child in town so we are opening our home to introduce our friends and community members to Korean food and culture as we are learning mo about it. Thanks for some wonderful recipes and insights into Korean culture. I hope you will continue for years to come!

    • Sunnie permalink*
      January 27, 2013 8:51 pm

      Hi, Larissa! Thanks for finding us. I hope you and your son enjoy the food that you try from our blog! ;) Feel free to ask any questions about Korean culture and food. We would be very happy to answer any questions. Bless you and your family. Please send some Korean love to your son. Thanks!

  28. January 29, 2013 8:20 am

    Hello. How has changing to vegan affected your budget in Korea? Produce seems to be quite expensive in Korea compared to back home in the USA.

    • Sunnie permalink*
      January 29, 2013 8:46 am

      Hi, Tom – we actually currently live in the US. As for our experience with eating a vegan diet in Korea – it might be harder to get specialty vegan items but Koreans traditionally eat plenty of vegan dishes, so eating vegan does not seem to be any more expensive and in fact might be cheaper since you’re not eating meat. Meat is a lot more expensive in Korean than in the States (as it should be)!

  29. January 31, 2013 6:32 pm

    Hello! I am so excited to find this blog. Great to find authentic vegan Korean cuisine recipes. Thank you sooooo much!

    • Bill permalink*
      January 31, 2013 7:40 pm

      Thanks for visiting, yb! Hope you enjoy the recipes!

  30. February 25, 2013 11:36 am

    Hi bill, your blog is awesome…
    great recipes within great photograph..
    i like korean food aswell, vegetarian version curiouse me even more…
    nice to know you then…..

    • Bill permalink*
      March 6, 2013 5:11 pm

      Thanks for the kind words! Hope you enjoy!

  31. Rehzi permalink
    March 2, 2013 7:26 am

    Hi, I enjoy your blog, thanks for the effort. Unfortunately it is sometimes hard to find the ingredients in Germany, Asian supermarkets often aren’t as well stocked as American ones. Especially when you can’t read what’s written on the packaging…
    But I try. Anyway, my question is: is there a Korean dish that is prepared on the table, so you can enjoy it as a collective thing preparing and eating your food. I know that there are some dishes that are being prepared that way, but they always involve meat and I certainly don’t know the recipes, so maybe you can help me on that one?
    By the way, one of the loveliest things about Korean cuisine are the many little side dishes that come with the main meal.
    Thanx and happe new year,
    Rehzi

    • Bill permalink*
      March 6, 2013 3:56 am

      Hi, Rehzi! Thanks for finding us. There are a number of Korean dishes prepared at the table. As you mention, Korean bbq is often served that way. You could prepare any of our bulgogi dishes at the table. Check out the bulgogi sandwich, mushrooms, gochujang bulgogi, and tempeh recipes. Also, the mushroom and tofu hotpot would be a good dish.

      Good luck in finding those ingredients. I wonder if you might have some luck with an online store. You might at least be able to use pictures to identify the products even if you don’t order from them.

      Let us know if you have any more questions and happy new year!

      • March 21, 2013 5:14 am

        Hi Rehzi and Bill,
        There is an online store in Germany for Korean ingredients (thank goodness!): kmall.de. Otherwise, Frankfurt, Duesseldorf and Berlin have several Korean grocery stores and other large cities have one or two stores. There is even one in Stuttgart.
        Jane

      • Bill permalink*
        March 21, 2013 10:19 am

        Great, thanks for the tip, Jane!

  32. Azja(Asia) permalink
    April 25, 2013 11:42 am

    You two are soo beautiful! found your site today and look forward to using your recipes, cheers!

    • Bill permalink*
      April 26, 2013 11:26 am

      Ha ha, thanks Azja! Hope you enjoy the recipes. Let us know how they turn out!

  33. Anne-Maria Lee permalink
    May 13, 2013 7:41 am

    I am so excited to find your blog! Looking for a vegetarian Kim Chi recipe, I discovered your great blog. My husband and I are older in years but young at heart. With my daughter and I being coeliac as well as vegetarian home cooking is essential. I am transitioning to becoming vegan and this will help. We love to visit Korea and eat Korean food. Now we can have the best…..vegan Korean food. Thank you both. My husband is Chinese Australian and I am from Irish roots.

    • Bill permalink*
      May 13, 2013 9:31 pm

      Wonderful! So glad you’re enjoying the blog. We aren’t in the most veg-friendly place so we also do most of our own cooking (plus we enjoy it). Thanks for visiting and let us know if you have any questions or how the dishes turn out for you!

  34. Amy permalink
    May 26, 2013 2:22 pm

    THIS IS AMAZING. I’m Korean, and recently became vegetarian, but I’m struggling to give up Korean foods that have meat in them. NOW I know it’s possible to make delicious Korean food without meat. Thanks for this site! I’m so excited to start trying out your recipes!

    • Bill permalink*
      May 28, 2013 10:43 am

      So glad you found us, Amy! Hope you enjoy the recipes and congrats for going Veg! It’s so important and something that I think you’ll find very rewarding.

  35. Kenny permalink
    June 6, 2013 7:28 pm

    Hello Bill and Sunnie,

    I really like your site, thanks for having it.
    I’ve been vegan for 6 years and I’m always looking for new ideas and good food. Before I was Vegan I loved all types of Asian food (living in Irvine, CA) but Korean was one of my favorite. I always thought Korean food was out of reach being that there was always so much meat, but you guys have shown that doesn’t have to be the case.

    Thanks,
    Kenny

    • Bill permalink*
      June 6, 2013 7:41 pm

      Hi, Kenny! We’re so glad you’re enjoying the blog – thanks for the kind words. Hope you enjoy the recipes – let us know how they turn out for you!

  36. July 1, 2013 2:55 am

    Thank you so much! I love Korean food, but being vegan, I was trying my own version Indian -Korean fusion, but now I can try authntic Korean one!
    Thanks again. khamsa hamnida!

    • Sunnie permalink*
      July 1, 2013 1:17 pm

      Great! Thanks for finding us, Su! Hope you enjoy the recipes. :)

  37. August 4, 2013 2:01 am

    안녕하세요!! Hello Sunnie and Bill! I am so happy to have found your blog! I’m an American who has been living and working in Korea for over two years (and plan to stay many more), but finding good vegan recipes in English is a bit difficult. I love Korean food and since I’m not married I usually end up going to a restaurant for most of my meals. This year I plan to start cooking more Korean food at home but healthy options are a bit difficult to find. So thank you for your recipes and your posts!! Any chance that you guys could include the Korean food names along with the English in your recipes. I know a decent amount of Korean, but sometimes going to the store can be daunting when there are a couple of ingredients that I don’t know the name for.

    Thanks!!!

    • Bill permalink*
      August 7, 2013 2:09 pm

      Hi, racytalks! So glad you found us, and yes, we’re planning on trying to include more Korean in our recipes as several people have requested. Feel free to comment on any recipe where we haven’t, and we can answer any questions you have, including the Korean names for ingredients, etc. Hope you’re enjoying Korea, we are missing it! :)

  38. TaeyeonLuv permalink
    August 19, 2013 12:22 pm

    Several people have told me that Korea will never go vegan because of the amount of Korean food that contains dead animal pieces.
    I know they are wrong. Korea will eventually be vegan, and with awesome, caring, inventive people like you around, it will happen far sooner than it otherwise would have.
    Anyway… I really, REALLY love your site. If I were rich, I’d give you millions for making it, and if I ever become rich that’s exactly what I’m going to do. Stay awesome guys!!

    • Bill permalink*
      August 20, 2013 7:09 pm

      Haha, thanks! Glad you enjoy the site and wishing you much prosperity! 😉

  39. August 23, 2013 9:06 am

    안녕하세요 :)
    I just came acros your blog and even though I haven’t seen all of it, I must say it’s a really good idea to present and collect vegan Korean recipes.
    I myself am half Korean and I’m looking forward to browsing through your posts and to learning something new, hopefully.
    Keep it up!

    Greetings from Germany

    • Bill permalink*
      August 25, 2013 10:28 am

      Hi, mintymilky! Thanks for the kind words. Glad you’re enjoying the blog!

  40. Trevor Mcmanis permalink
    September 4, 2013 4:28 am

    Hi,

    I am a newly arrived English teacher in Korea. I used to be a Vegetarian for 9 years, and was a vegan/ Raw vegan for some of that time. I made the assumption it would be impossible to be veg in Korea.

    I’m living in Yeongdeok, and i am wondering if you can give me any advice about where to find vegan items, and what to say at restaurants and to friends for Vegan food without being offensive.

    Thank you for your time,
    Trevor

    • Bill permalink*
      September 10, 2013 9:23 pm

      Hi, Trevor! A couple of resources that could be of help to you. One is this funny video on how to order vegan food in Korean: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I1PkpY8PeNg. I don’t know if you feel up to actually doing that, but I find the video amusing regardless.

      Second, your best resource for finding ingredients is probably going to be other vegans in Korea. There is a Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/veganKOREA/.

      In terms of finding vegan restaurants, there are actually quite a few if you know where to look – given the Loving Huts and Temple Food restaurants around. Happycow.net is the best resource for finding vegan or veg-friendly restaurants.

      Finally, when ordering, vegan isn’t a commonly understood concept in Korea. The best understanding is likely if people think you are a strict Buddhist, they might better understand. But your best bet when ordering and explaining is to be very specific what you do not want – no meat, no eggs, no seafood, no meat-based broth, etc. You occasionally can get people saying things as it’s not meat, it’s chicken, or seafood, etc. So the process of elimination when ordering is your best change to be successful – hence why the video I linked to is amusing for me.

      Best of luck, and I hope you enjoy Korea!

  41. Melissa permalink
    October 19, 2013 7:05 am

    Hi! I’ve enjoyed following your blog and making some recipes from here! I’d love to adopt a more of a Korean type of meal serving at home- and I would like some help on how to prepare banchan- I seem to take so long in the kitchen! Can you blog on time-saving tips?

    • Sunnie permalink*
      October 19, 2013 7:18 am

      Hi Melissa!

      Thanks for following us! I tend to make several banchans at once. And store them in the fridge for a week or so. I feel like that saves me some time.

      Hope you are enjoying the recipes! ;)

  42. October 20, 2013 12:32 am

    HI, My name is Gerald Tan and from Singapore. I am vegetarian and going to South Korea Seoul for 1 week business trip and training. Could you email me a list address of the vegetarian shop which i can visit for meal. Will be staying at this Mind Tourist Hotel 마인드관광호텔141-1, Gasan-dong Geumcheon-gu, Seoul, South Korea. Need to plan around my trip for food and shopping after working hour. Please help

    • Bill permalink*
      October 22, 2013 10:21 am

      Hi, Gerald. Your best bet is to use Happycow.net, which lets you look at veg-friendly places that have been reported by the community. You can search by address.

      As for language, I would recommend Talk to Me in Korean. You can visit them at http://www.talktomeinkorean.com
      Good luck and enjoy Korea!

  43. October 20, 2013 12:36 am

    Hi Trevor, my name is Gerald Tan from Singapore. need to pick up basic korean language. please kindly advise me how and where should i start with the basic korean language. my email: geraldtsp@gmail.com

  44. November 3, 2013 1:18 am

    Great Informative Blog! Looks like getting vegan Kimchi is much easier in USA than in Korea^^ Recently started trying Korean cooking, courtesy my son who eats Korean food at his kindergarten. I have lived in Korea for 7 years now. And except for the stray occasions when I had Korean food during temple stays/visits or in some vegan Korean restaurant, I have generally stuck to Indian vegetarian food. Courtesy your blog, I can try vegan recipes which I could not eat earlier!

    • Bill permalink*
      November 3, 2013 6:40 pm

      Wonderful, so glad to be of help, Vijay! :)

  45. A G Raju permalink
    November 30, 2013 7:39 am

    Is there a way I could reach you’ll by email?

    • Bill permalink*
      November 30, 2013 7:32 pm

      Hi, A G! Why don’t you check out our Facebook page or our Twitter account, and you can message us from either of those. Talk to you soon!

  46. sudiksha9 permalink
    December 11, 2013 12:25 pm

    Anneonghaseo! I just discovered your blog and I just love it! I’m an Indian, vegan, an animal lover and a huge Kpop and Kdrama fan! I’m really interested in the Korean language, culture and entertainment too, thanks to Boys over Flowers – a drama that completely changed my life :) I’m so happy to find you guys! Two of you are just adorable :) Never thought I’d find a vegan korean blog. i love everything about Hanguk except their food habits and their treatment towards animals :( it just makes me sad. i wish korean people slowly change their food habits and become more compassionate towards animals. The fact that my favorite idols eat meat, wear fur and are not that sensitive towards animals makes me even more sad. Hope many more stars and idols follow Lee Hyori unni’s footsteps. My animals, Kpop and Kdramas make up my world <3 You guys give me hope. I'm sure Korea will become an animal friendly country one day :) Looking forward to your future articles! This has surely become one of my favorite blogs :D Sunnie and Bill, Fighting!! ^^

    • Bill permalink*
      December 14, 2013 9:23 am

      Hi, Sudiksha! Thanks so much for your kind words. Unfortunately, so much of the human world has very far to go in demonstrating compassion towards animals. Everyday the suffering that goes on to put animal flesh on humans’ plates is a sad reality of humanity’s callousness towards non-human suffering. Korea has far to go, but the animal rights movement has just gotten started there. We were so
      Proud to be able to participate in an anti-fur protest in Seoul a few years ago. Things will only get better. “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.” Fighting!!!

  47. Chris permalink
    December 25, 2013 9:32 pm

    Just found this site. Keep up the good work! Xoxoxo
    Chris//NYC

    • Sunnie permalink*
      January 15, 2014 7:47 am

      Thanks, Chris! Glad you found us!

  48. Jamie permalink
    December 31, 2013 3:22 am

    Hi guys! So happy to have found your website! My husband and I are vegan too. While vegan food is fairly accessible where we live (PNW), finding Korean vegan food is not. Your blog has been an inspiration in trying to make my own~ the 된장 찌개 looks so good! Great to hear that you guys are so compassionate about animals, the environment and your overall health! Look forward to more great posts in 2014! :) x

    • Sunnie permalink*
      January 15, 2014 7:48 am

      Thanks, Jamie. Have a wonderful, healthy and compassionate year!

  49. Ric Hart permalink
    March 27, 2014 3:51 am

    Hello, Bill & Sunnie. This from Ric in NYC (work Manhattan 10032, sleep Richmond Hill 11418). Wish to inquire as to whether either of you knows someone/anyone in the NYC vcinity who would (in turn) know of an AFFORDABLE plain food Korean vegan eatery within the five boroughs (reachable via MTA Metrocard). The search engines seem to result in only one Korean + vegan: the http://www.HanGawiRestaurant.com high-priced place in Midtown. There has got to be (or by rights, OUGHT to be) a low-end ($) non-yuppie PLAIN FOOD vegan Korean eatery (first preference: INdoors; second option: mobile/sidewalk food truck)! Maybe site-visitors/readers of this WordPress blog can weigh in. Although i realize that i COULD assemble pre-packaged naturally-prepared Korean-type vegan foodstuffs, and assemble same into a simple/plain food meal, i’d still like to have a place/spot to go to (within the 4 major boroughs) where i could “surrender” the endeavor of hooking up the complete meal (preferably what can go into ONE bowl!) to a seasoned pro. The assembling of a meal from store-bought means having uneven amounts of “leftover” components, + some stuff requires refrigeration. My mention of ONE BOWL reflects a belief that one stomach can process what is palatable when combined within ONE bowl. But i digress. All posts most welcome. My place of birth is (suburb of) Paris, France; food there is both fresh AND mostly affordable, yet i am not there… NB: perhaps someone can persuade the right people to get a city-auctioned surplus building here in NYC, and then (rent-free!) build a low-tech traditional-Korean vegan eatery/inn that enables “little people” to AFFORD fresh, clean, wholesome (complete nutrition profile), vegan grub (preferably 24/7, since NYC runs round-the-clock). No alcohol on premises. As an “inn” (with red-tape permits satisfied), a gut-filled patron could catch a nap (in a noise-dampened dedicated area) on a simple & clean bamboo (?) cot or floor mat. to those readers who wonder WHY i should include a discussion of napping (when eating is the focus), i hasten to assert that proper digestion is as important as proper victuals. Y’all take care!

    • Bill permalink*
      April 8, 2014 12:55 am

      Hi, Ric. Hangawi is the only one we’ve heard of, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t something else. However, if there is, we’re not aware of it (haven’t been to NYC in years)! You might try posting on our Facebook site to see if anyone else knows of anything. Another suggestion might be checking with Sweet & Sara (makers of vegan marshmellows). I know they are located in NYC and the founder is Korean. Good luck and let us know if you find anything out!

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