About Korean Food
Korean food is at once a natural fit with a vegan diet and a significant challenge. Traditionally, the Korean diet is largely vegan- rice served with banchan (side dishes) that are typically made from vegetables. The diet of Korean Buddhist monks remains vegan. However, Koreans make a mean barbecue, and as the country’s economy has soared, the eating of meat-centric meals has become more and more a daily reality as opposed to being saved for special occasions.
The result is that there are certain Korean dishes that are naturally vegan, but when in Korea, the concept of a vegan diet is not widely understood, and it can be challenging at times ordering dishes so that they will be vegan. That being said, there are numerous Buddhist restaurants in Seoul that are entirely vegan.
Ultimately, Korean cuisine is often spicy, sometimes sweet, and really very yummy. In the US, Korean cuisine is most well known for its barbecue (bulgolgi), which is now showing up in fusion hamburgers and tacos in California and across the nation.
This blog shares not only the traditional vegan food of Korean, but also our translation of meat-based dishes, such as bulgolgi, to vegan versions that we think are every bit as delicious.
We do want to point out that Korean cooking is done by Son-maht, which literally means “hand taste.” This means that a good cook tastes as she goes along, adjusting accordingly by listening to the intuition of her hands. So while we do our best to provide measurements to give you an idea, we can’t know how spicy, salty, rich, or sweet your preferences are, so feel free to experiment as you cook!
Also, with regard to the portion sizes of our recipes, keep in mind that they are given with the idea that you will typically be eating them with rice and banchan. Ideally, you will have several banchan pre-made in the fridge to accompany all of your main dishes.
If you’re new to Korean cuisine, we hope that our blog will help introduce you to its supreme awesomeness. If you’re new to vegan food, we hope to help you realize that healthy and kind food is yummy and easy to make. If you’re a veteran of both, then welcome, you rock, and let’s share what we’ve learned!