Seoul restaurants

Top 5 Vegan (and Vegan-Friendly) Restaurants in Seoul

I often get many e-mails requesting recommendations for vegan eats in Korea. While I appreciate vegan food, and have had some fantastic dining experiences at vegan restaurants in the city, I'm most certainly no expert. So, I enlisted the help of someone who is. Amanda from SoKoreazy.com has graciously offered to share her top five vegan (and vegan-friendly) restaurants in Seoul. Without further ado, here they are:

1. Cafe Suッkara (Sukkara) (vegan-friendly) 

My favorite vegan restaurant in Seoul is not actually a vegan restaurant, though vegan-friendly dishes and drinks feature heavily on their menu. Cafe Sukkara is nestled in a quiet, cozy, and rather nondescript building (noticeable only because of its huge, green wooden door) located between Hongdae and Sinchon. Cafe Sukkara has the perfect cafe atmosphere: dim lighting, low, comfy seats, and a completely open kitchen surrounded by bar stools. In the summertime, they slide the glass doors at the front of the cafe open, and you can enjoy your meal outside on their deck.

The cafe prides itself on using local, mostly organic, ingredients, and the menu changes seasonally. There are usually at least two vegan main dishes on offer, in addition to their always present vegan yeast bread, soup, and salad set. They also offer many vegan desserts, such as carrot cake and raw vegan cheesecake, as well as amazing drinks! I love their seasonal mojitos, made with homemade candied fruit, and their homemade ginger ale is the best I've had anywhere, with the perfect balance of sweetness and spiciness.




Our Commune: Putting the Community Back in Gyeongnidan

The neighborhood of Gyeongnidan, which is nestled not far from the bustling main strip of Itaewon, was once a peaceful residential neighborhood inhabited mostly by international expats and elderly Koreans. Over the past few years, however, it has been popularized by food bloggers and television programs, transforming into an overcrowded commercialized district of lifeless cafes and restaurants established with priorities placed on the wallets of their proprietors rather than serving a community.

 
While the gentrification of Gyeongnidan does have its upsides, any traces of the neighborhood it once was have seemingly all but vanished. Long term residents of the area are disheartened by this, longing for a relaxing space they can come together, without having to wait in preposterously long lines. While such a place might only seem like the stuff of dreams these days, the newly opened Our Commune, located on the main road just next to the GS25 (previously 7-11), is the answer to residents’ hopes.


Girls' Night Out, Hongdae Style



Nowhere else in Asia (or perhaps the world) does nightlife as well as Seoul, and although there's a party for everyone, there are a number of places designed especially for the entertainment of women. But we're not just talking buy-one-get-one-free drinks and half priced appetizers. Think more along the lines of cute guys in hard hats, sultry stage performances and plenty of places to pamper yourself.

So, round up your girlfriends, book your hair appointment, dig out that little black dress and dust off your dancing shoes. It's time for a girls' night out, Seoul style.

I'll be letting you in on all the places worth checking out around Seoul with your favorite ladies in this new monthly series, but first up is perhaps the city's most legendary nightlife district: Hongdae.

Brew 3.15: "Clucking Crazy" Chimaek in Insadong

One of the biggest food trends to explode in Korea over the past year or two has been chimaek, or chicken and beer. And for obvious reasons. Separately, they're great, but together... the pair is a match made in culinary heaven.

The latest restaurant to feature the dish is Brew 3.15. Located in an up and coming neighborhood near Insadong-gil, the establishment is the second restaurant endeavor of Daniel Gray, popular food blogger of Seoul Eats fame. I stopped in recently to see Daniel's take on the Korean classic.



Guilty Pleasure: Authentic Southern-Style Comfort Food in Itaewon

Something about the cold weather really puts a damper on my mood. So, what do I do when I've got the winter blues? I eat! And while I've managed to find comfort in certain Korean foods over the years, nothing really puts a smile on my face like the fatty goodness that is Southern food. Fortunately enough for me, there's been a renaissance of Seoul's international food scene over the past year, with a growing focus on Southern-style barbecue and comfort food. Yet, no one seems to have hit the nail on the head quite as well as Guilty Pleasure.



Hakrim Dabang: Seoul's Original Cafe

Although there aren't any statistics to back this up, I assume that Seoul, South Korea has a bigger concentration of cafes than any other city in the world. Which is pretty impressive, considering that coffee was practically unknown until the late Joseon dynasty in the early 1900s. Even then, coffee shops, or dabang as they were referred to, were few and far between, with Seoul's coffee culture only developing into what it is today in the 2000s.

Take Out Drawing: A Cafe that Inspires

I've been working on a few big writing projects recently (more news on that to come soon) and as such, I've been seeking quiet cafes with an ambiance to inspire. While there are plenty coffee shops throughout this city, so many of them are too loud, with their crowds and looping K-pop playlists, too dark or too sterile for my taste, at least for when working.

The exception, however, is Takeout Drawing, a cafe chain that fuses design, imagination, and caffeine. With its distressed concrete walls, abundance of windows (which are kept open in nice weather), and minimal decor, Take Out Drawing resembles an architect's studio more than a coffeehouse.

A "Zen"-Course Lunch at Barugongyang Buddhist Temple Food Restaurant

Barugongyang offers up authentic Buddhist temple cuisine using only fresh, local ingredients. Read on for my personal review of the restaurant's peaceful atmosphere and thoughtful course meals.


It's only been fairly recently that we've learned how eating greener and cleaner rather than focusing on calorie and fat counts can positively affect the health of our bodies and minds. With trends like CSAs, detox diets and green smoothies becoming all the rage in the nutrition world, we're taking a step forward toward healthier lives.

However, the Buddhist monks of Korea have been slightly ahead of this trend. And by slightly I mean by hundreds of years.

Dore Dore: A Sinsa Cafe That Takes the Cake

Just when I think I've found all the great cafes Seoul has to offer, another crops up on my radar. Unsurprisingly, the latest find is tucked discreetly off the main strip of Garosu-gil in Sinsa-dong, my go-to spot for fancy lattes and pretty treats. But of all the places I've visited in the area over the past couple years, Dore Dore takes the cake. And quite literally, at that.



Comfort and Cuisine with a View at Sheraton Seoul D Cube City Hotel

They say location is everything. But is it really?

Situated on the western edge of the Korean capital, Sheraton Seoul D Cube City may not be the most conveniently located hotel for tourists and travelers in Korea, but it is not without its charms. I was able to experience its superb amenities, culinary specialties and unrivaled views firsthand when I was invited to stay for an evening last month.

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