Extra! Korea

May 8, 2009

Is Korea finally becoming vegetarian-friendly?

Filed under: food, health — extrakorea @ 1:56 pm

I’m not vegetarian, and not likely to become one anytime soon, but I know people who are, and they can have a hard time in Korea. Restaurants are sometimes not very accommodating, and serving ajummas * will sometimes tell them, “You should eat meat. It’s good for you.” Also, I swear that ham must be considered a vegetable in Korea. I would order “ya-chae kimbap,” or vegetable kimbab, and it would have ham in it. I’d order “salad-uh kimbap,” or salad kimbab, and it would have ham in it. But maybe things are finally starting to change.

Sizzling steaks made with soy beans and vegetable protein, Jjambbong made with vegetable spices infusion instead of chicken gravy, Bulgogi made from wheat protein processed with nuts …

These are foods that can scarcely be imagined without meat, yet meatless versions filled the table at a vegetarian restaurant in Insa-dong, downtown Seoul, last weekend during a regular Sunday lunch gathering of the Korea Vegetarian Union.

There’s still a way to go, however.

Korean society, however, is not so warm toward vegetarians yet, says Lee.

“In the United States or Europe, no one minds when I say I’m a vegetarian. Most of the restaurants even have vegetarian dishes prepared for me. But here, people look at me like I’m an alien when I say that I’m a vegetarian, not that they even ask. They are like, ‘Why do you live like that?'” said Lee [Won-bok, president of the union].

(source)

* “Ajumma” means “auntie” but can be used to refer to any married middle-aged woman with children.

1 Comment »

  1. […] extrakorea placed an observative post today on Is Korea finally becoming vegetarian-friendly? « Extra! KoreaHere’s a quick excerptI’m not vegetarian, and not likely to become one anytime soon, but I know people who are, and they can have a hard time in Korea. Restaurants are sometimes not very accommodating, and serving ajummas * will sometimes tell them, … […]

    Pingback by Topics about Vegetarians | Is Korea finally becoming vegetarian-friendly? « Extra! Korea — May 9, 2009 @ 10:45 am


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