Korean Tasty Treats: Vegan Korean Food

Food in Korea is delicious. Ergo, I’ve decided to stuff my face and gorge on ALL THE FOOD. And because I want to gloat about my Korean treats to all my friends and loved ones back home (waves), I’ve decided to start writing about the delicious stuff I eat.

The other day, I went in search of the most elusive food–a vegan restaurant in Korea! Why the hell would I do something like that? Too much time in Portland, obviously…
Nah, I’d managed to acquire a Couchsurfer who was also a vegetarian. And in Korea, if you don’t eat meat you might as well be a vegan (cheese and dairy, not so much).

The Food

In true Korean ex-pat style, I attempted to read the Korean menu. Failed. And then I attempted to read the English translation. Failed again. So in the spirit of “I’m hungry, feed me!”, I pointed at something on the menu and said “two.” The waitress was not impressed, but she did scurry away to (hopefully) get me my food.
And then, this arrived:

Are you overwhelmed by the variety of wonderfulness? ‘Cause I definitely was.
This amazingness is also known as yoenipbap (연잎밥), or lotus-leaf-rice with ALL of the side dishes. Yeah, that leaf envelope? It’s wrapped around a delicious mass of spiced rice. Counter-clockwise from the Tasty Leaf we have seaweed soup, vegan pajeon (Korean savory pancake), sesame tofu, vegan Korean BBQ (made of God knows what fake meat product but it was AMAZING), assorted kimchis, potato salad, boiled peanuts, and steamed veggies.
And I paid ₩11,000 (about $11) for this.
Disclaimer: they do require 2 people minimum order the Delicious Leafiness, so bring a non-carnivorous friend. Or you know, someone who can’t read Korean and don’t tell them it’s vegan.

Okay readers, I can only assume you’re thinking: enough with the gloating–how can I find this magnificent tastiness?! Check it out:

Dajeon Restaurant and Teahouse (다전)

As for locating it–well that was its own adventure.

We took the metro to Seomyeon station and dutifully followed the directions. That lasted about as long as it took to get turned around in the middle of 20 food carts. We backtracked, tried again, and again. And then I saw the sign!

For those of you who don’t read Korean–it’s the small green one.
We climbed up a flight of sketchy stairs, passing what looked like someone’s apartment, and finally reached…our destination?

I wondered if I’d found a restaurant or a yoga studio. The next door inspired less confidence.

You can’t fully appreciate how deserted this felt, because photos are limited. However, at the time I was hungry, and pressed on, deciding to fully commit to the mysterious vegan teahouse. The inside was much prettier.

So, in conclusion–I ate vegan food and it was delicious. The place is pretty small and they only had two people working when I was there. They apparently also serve a huge variety of teas, which I did not taste because my mouth was filled with tofu.

Dajeon Restaurant and Teahouse (다전)
Hours: Tuesday-Sunday 12pm-11pm


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