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Can vegetarian korean food be even more delicious than meat-based dishes ?
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Can vegetarian korean food be even more delicious than meat-based dishes ?

Korean cuisine, known for its delectable balance of flavors, diverse array of dishes, and strong cultural significance, has taken the world by storm.

It would not be a surprise if you’ve already tried the famous Korean BBQ or Bibimbap. However, Korean cuisine isn’t just about meat-based dishes.

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The Intriguing World of Vegetarian Korean Cuisine

In fact, the vegetarian Korean food scene is growing in popularity due to its focus on fresh, vibrant ingredients and hearty fare, aiming to prove it can be just as, if not more, delicious.

Diving into Korean Vegetarian Dishes

Imagine indulging in a variety of dishes intensely flavored with spices like gochugaru (Korean red chili pepper flakes) and doenjang (fermented soybean paste) minus the meat. Here are some vegetarian Korean dishes that could change your perception of Korean cuisine:


One of Korea’s most beloved dishes, JapChae is a stir-fried noodle dish made with sweet potato noodles, various vegetables, and mushrooms. Instead of beef, tofu can be added for an extra protein boost.


This dish encompasses the essence of Korean cuisine, highlighting the balance and harmony of flavors. A bowl of Bibimbap contains rice, a variety of sautéed vegetables, gochujang (Korean hot pepper paste), and an optional fried egg on top.


Kimchi, an iconic side dish in Korean cuisine, can easily be made vegetarian by skipping the traditional fish sauce and using soy sauce or vegetarian fish sauce instead. It’s the perfect accompaniment to any Korean dish.

Doenjang Jjigae

This hearty fermented soybean paste stew is rich in flavor and comforting. It can be made vegetarian by excluding the seafood and meat usually incorporated.

Where to Start Your Vegetarian Korean Journey

As the vegetarian and vegan movement continues to gain momentum globally, many Korean restaurants are modifying their menus to include more vegetarian and vegan options. You can find vegetarian versions of popular Korean dishes at restaurants or food stalls in major cities around the world.
Alternatively, you can also explore Korean vegetarian cooking at home. With the help of online recipes, cooking guides, and YouTube channels such as Maangchi and Cheap Lazy Vegan, anyone can create delicious vegetarian Korean food in their own kitchen.


Is Korean food vegetarian-friendly in general ?

Traditional Korean cuisine incorporates a variety of plant-based ingredients and side dishes. However, a lot of major dishes include meat or seafood, or at times, animal-based seasonings. It’s always good to ask or research beforehand.

I love spicy food. Can I add extra spice to vegetarian Korean dishes ?

Absolutely! Korean cuisine is known for its use of spices. You can easily adjust the level of spiciness to suit your preference in most recipes.
Can Vegetarian Korean Food Be Even More Delicious Than Meat-based Dishes? For many, the answer is an enthusiastic yes! As more people turn to vegetarianism and healthier diets, this opens up an opportunity for Korean vegetarian food to showcase its diversity and versatility. Happy eating!



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Matthieu Aigron
As a French chef and, of course, a gourmet, I invite you to discover the world of flexitarian cooking with my recipe ideas.