Korean Vegan Food

How to Order Vegan Food in South Korea: Useful Korean Phrases

Traveling to South Korea as a vegan can be a rewarding culinary adventure, but it may come with a language barrier when communicating your dietary preferences and restrictions. Fear not; this 2023 guide is here to help you navigate the vibrant Korean food scene with ease. We’ll offer practical advice on how to communicate your vegan requirements in Korean restaurants, providing useful phrases and cultural tips to ensure a smooth dining experience.

Useful Phrases for Vegan Travelers

Before you embark on your South Korean culinary journey, familiarize yourself with these essential Korean phrases to communicate your vegan dietary needs:

  1. I’m vegan: 나는 비건이에요 (Naneun bigeonieyo)
  2. I don’t eat meat or fish: 고기나 생선 안 먹어요 (Gogina saengseon an meogeoyo)
  3. No meat: 고기 없어요 (Gogi eobseoyo)
  4. No dairy: 유제품 없어요 (Yujepum eobseoyo)
  5. I can eat vegetables and tofu: 나는 야채와 두부를 먹을 수 있어요 (Naneun yachae wa dubureul meogeul su isseoyo)
  6. Is this vegan?: 이게 비건이에요? (Ige bigeonieyo?)
  7. I’m allergic to meat/fish/dairy/eggs: 고기/생선/유제품/계란 알레르기에요 (Gogi/saengseon/yujepum/gyeran alleeleugiyeo)

Cultural Tips for Vegan Ordering

  1. Learn Hangul: While English is spoken in some tourist areas, learning a few basic Hangul characters can be immensely helpful. Menus and signs in local restaurants are often in Korean.
  2. Use Visual Aids: Consider using visual aids, such as images of vegetables, tofu, and vegan symbols, to show to restaurant staff. It can bridge the language gap effectively.

Vegan-Friendly Restaurants in South Korea

  1. Veggie Story (Seoul): As mentioned in our Seoul Vegan Food Guide, Veggie Story is known for its vegan versions of Korean classics. Use the phrases above to specify your preferences.
  2. Moyumi (Gyeongju): When exploring Gyeongju, refer to our Exploring Gyeongju as a Vegan Traveler guide. At Moyumi, you can use phrases like “야채와 두부를 먹을 수 있어요” to convey your dietary choices.
  3. Veggie Heaven (Busan): As featured in our Vegan Eats in Busan: A Foodie’s Paradise guide, Veggie Heaven offers a vegan-friendly menu. Practice your Korean phrases here to ensure a satisfying meal.

Non-Verbal Communication

In South Korea, gestures and non-verbal cues can be powerful tools when ordering vegan food. Pointing at ingredients you can eat, using hand gestures to indicate “no meat” or “no dairy,” and smiling politely can go a long way in conveying your dietary preferences.

Online Translators and Apps

Consider using translation apps or websites to help communicate your dietary needs. Apps like Google Translate can translate text or even use the camera to translate restaurant menus in real-time.

Enjoy Your Vegan Culinary Adventure in South Korea

Navigating language barriers as a vegan traveler in South Korea may seem daunting, but with a bit of preparation and the right phrases, you can savor the diverse and delicious vegan dishes that the country has to offer. Be patient, polite, and open to new culinary experiences, and you’ll create memorable dining moments on your journey.

For more vegan travel tips and culinary inspiration, explore our comprehensive 2-Week South Korea Itinerary and discover the world of Korean Vegan Street Food.







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