Remember how I said 99% of Korean restaurants serve meat as their main item and less than 0.1% have vegan options?
Well, today I found that <0.1% restaurant in Seoul that served ONLY VEGAN foods!
I found out about this place through one of my favorite blogs, Alien’s Day Out. Mipa, the face behind the blog does not only provide these wonderful resources for veg’ns or omnivores, but also bakes vegan cookies, breads, and etc. Check her out and her bakeshop!
The place’s name is “Oh-Sae-Gyae-Hyang,” I honestly don’t know what it means though; haha. It’s located in the innermost corner of the famous Insadong. I felt bad for their location, to be honest. It would have been much nicer if they were located on a bigger street so people would be able to access their delicious vegan foods.
We were first served with some kind of tea. I don’t know what type of tea it was, but it had a very pleasant taste which both my mom and I loved.
While waiting for the food, we noticed a little story about Buddha on the wall. Each table had this besides it; these frames had stories about famous vegetarians in history, including Ghandi, Einstein, Carl Lewis, etc.
First we received the “sweet & spicy shiitake mushroom” dish, which consisted of lightly fried shiitake covered with some sort of sauce that reminded me of Korean friend chicken. Those green beans are Ginko seeds/beans? I only had few of these because I didn’t really like the sweet side of it. I was also eager to eat my ‘main’ order. The price is expensive, I know. This restaurant states it only serves sustainably grown or organic vegetables, which made us feel much better about the food.
‘Gondre-Namul” is a type of vegetable in Korea. The multigrain rice is mixed with the Namul, and the soup (which is boiled with little water) is served to be used like a mixing-sauce. I ate about a quarter of mom’s meal; I loved it!
It was my first or second time in my life I tried the “Lotus-Leaf-Rice” Sticky rice is first mixed with a variety of healthy foods such as ginko nuts, pine nuts, and chestnuts. Then the rice is wrapped in Lotus Leaves and steamed. The result is this wonderful, flavorful, delicious rice dish. The rice was served with plenty of side dishes that are all vegan 😉
One thing that was very interesting was that a lot of the items on this restaurant, including kimchi, is made without Garlic, Onions, Chives, and two other of the Alium family. Avoiding of those 5 Alium vegetables is a Buddhist tradition, as they believe it interrupts with their studies. As Buddhism encourages vegetarianism, I was able to understand where that came from. I enjoyed all of the side dishes – including the one made with fake “meat” that tasted exactly like the ones I used to eat long ago. LOL
I really had a feast today. I ate all the Lotus-Rice, some of my mom’s food, the side dishes, and shiitake mushroom dish. We bought some Vegan Mandu (Dumlings – frozen) and a little bit of dried Fake meat for the family. We also brought the leftover mushroom dish for my sister and dad. They both loved the mushroom dish! I hope they like the other goods too 🙂
After the meal, my mom and I shopped around Insadong, a place I would definitely recommend to foreign visitors. It’s a place full of beautiful crafts and gift-items. I wish I had taken more pictures, but I totally forgot about it as we were so distracted by the beauty of many shops in the town.
Despite it’s small size, I would definitely recommend this place to anyone who’d love to explore Korean foods in vegetarian or vegan options. The menu is great, and I wish I could get a taste of all of them! Check out their website and please do visit next time you come to Seoul 🙂
Thank you for reading!