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vegan in korea: thoughts or suggestions?

hi everyone:

so I'm moving to Korea for a year next month and am wondering about keeping up my vegan status there. I'll be in the relatively small town of mokpo, without a lot of western food access. my friends have all told me it "won't be possible," which i don't believe, but i would appreciate some tips from people who have lived in the area. do you have recipes, pointers on navigating the supermarket, tips on hidden food items? i don't plan on insulting anyone, especially the host Koreans that will be looking after me for the first week, so I'll probably eat things I'm given, if not eating it would be awkward. after that, though, when i'm living in my own apartment, i'll cook for myself and it shouldn't be so hard, except i don't know much about the vegetables and foods that are available.

one thought i did have was that buddhist monasteries often have vegetarian food, sometimes available to visitors. anyone know anything about that?

how exciting!!

I've eaten at a few Korean restaurants before and the food was heavily vegetarian..so I think you might be OK. You could possibly explain to your host family that you do not eat meat..I don't think it would be insulting to them as long as you eat!

Do you speak any Korean? I take Korean Karate so I know a few words..the most important Ko Map Sum Ni Da (thank you!).

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I'll be watching this thread with interest...I have a friend who just spent 2 yrs in Korea, I'll see if I can pick his brain...it'll take a few days tho.
In my ignorance I thought that Japan, being sort of a Buddhist country, would be easily adaptable to veg*ns, now I find it isn't. I learn so much on this board.
Majicka, thanks for the transliteration of Thank you, as all the Korean I've ever actually heard was on MASH (yes I know, cringe, cringe) it certainly didn't sound like that. At least not to my uneducated ear.

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Some Korean food has hidden fish/shrimp paste in it.  I'm a big kimchee fan and was dismayed to see that my kimchee has anchoivy paste....yuk.

Good luck!

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You might try sending a message to ODDrey (http://vegweb.com/index.php?action=profile;u=66429).  She's currently living in Korea, although she's leaving soon.  I've never seen her post but have corresponded briefly with her through VegWeb messaging.  She's wonderful!

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I recipie boxed this
http://vegweb.com/index.php?topic=4730
a little while ago cos the pic looked soooo good. im thinking you could e mail the author maybe, or the poster that was living in korea for the summer may be able to help you.
goodluck.

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Hey, how about looking up the following for some ideas:
    www.fatfreevegan.com

There is a section on regional cuisines, Korean being one of them with about 10-15 recipes. 

Have a fantastic time and we'll all look forward to hearing from you with some authentic dishes in the near future!

:-* K

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to any chicagoans that read this... i called amitabul (great vegan korean place) and asked if i could get cooking classes for korean food and information about korean ingredients. they do offer classes sometimes, but i don't know if they offer individual classes. would anyone in the area be interested in a class if i need more people to get them to teach me?

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Absolutely!! I would love to if we can find an agreeable time for both of us. I am taking care of my BF right now who is recovering from an accident, but given a week or two notice that sounds great. I haven't set up a vegfriends account yet so you can email me at eval(unescape('%64%6f%63%75%6d%65%6e%74%2e%77%72%69%74%65%28%27%3c%61%20%68%72%65%66%3d%22%6d%61%69%6c%74%6f%3a%74%61%6e%65%76%61%62%40%79%61%68%6f%6f%2e%63%6f%6d%22%3e%74%61%6e%65%76%61%62%40%79%61%68%6f%6f%2e%63%6f%6d%3c%2f%61%3e%27%29%3b')) when you get more info.

If this is the restraunt that I am thinking of I think it was the first veg only restaurant I ever ate at, but that was about 10 years ago so I could be wrong.

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I'll be watching this thread with interest...I have a friend who just spent 2 yrs in Korea, I'll see if I can pick his brain...it'll take a few days tho.
In my ignorance I thought that Japan, being sort of a Buddhist country, would be easily adaptable to veg*ns, now I find it isn't.

Very, very true. ;)  (about Japan)  I thought it would be too, but after 3 years here....

It's managable though as long as you make EVERYTHING yourself.
I imagine Korea is equivalent-the food culture is very similar to here after all.  There's fish in eveything.  I would suggest you learn how to read some key ingredients.

cheers

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thanks for all your ideas everyone.... tanevab, i'll email when they get back to me!

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Any luck with classes?

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booo... they never got back to me! i haven't even been to eat there yet... their new location is SOOO far away.

thanks for reminding me though... i'll try and get a hold of them again.

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I love this vegetarian cookbook, Flavors of Korea

http://www.amazon.com/Flavors-Korea-Delicious-Vegetarian-Cuisine/dp/1570670536/ref=sr_1_1/102-3915750-5632919?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1172958099&sr=8-1

It has lots of great recipes, including several for vegan kimchee, and a wonderful Cucumber Noodle recipe that is just to-die-for  ::) ::)

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thanks anna!!! that's exactly what i was looking for. it looks like a really good cookbook, i'm ordering it today!

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That's great! It is a really fun, yummy cookbook 8)

Glad to help! Be sure to let us know how you like Korea (my sister and brother-in-law have both lived there and liked it a lot)

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