Vegetarian in Korea


Korea is a country of meat. Seriously, it’s everywhere. And if it isn’t meat, it’s fish. And if it isn’t fish, it’s those sneaky ingredients like fish sauce or animal stock. It’s nearly impossible to eat out. But despite all the meat and fish floating around, it is possible to be a vegetarian in Korea.

Now before we go any further, I have a disclaimer I need to make. I do not live in Seoul, or anywhere near Seoul. Seoul is a massive city with loads of food, so it’s pretty easy to follow any diet living there. But living over four hours from Seoul in a small city, it’s harder to find what I’m looking for.

Before moving to Korea, I was following a strictly plant-based diet. I knew when I moved I would need to be more flexible in what I did and didn’t eat. And I also knew I wasn’t willing to budge on meat or fish. It’s been so long since I’ve eaten either and I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. I didn’t necessarily want to start consuming dairy again, but I knew I’d need to make some exceptions, especially when I wasn’t eating at home. Transitioning back to vegetarian would be a good compromise.


It’s not easy. A lot of people give up and transition right back to eating meat once they move to Korea. But despite its challenges, I’ve lived here for nearly seven months on a vegetarian diet. Over the next few weeks, I’m going to be sharing advice, recipes, tips, and tricks on following a vegetarian diet in Korea. These posts will be specifically geared toward people who live in places where access to vegetarian food is more limited.

And even if you aren’t a vegetarian and you don’t live in Korea, perhaps these posts will be helpful to you, too! Adding more fruits and vegetables to your diet has a slew of health benefits, including decreasing the risk for heart disease, cancer, and type 2 diabetes. Plus, you may find you have more energy overall if you cut back on the meat and dairy.

I’m excited to see where this new series will go, and I hope you join me on this vegetarian journey in Korea!

Christine in Korea is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to

5 thoughts on “Vegetarian in Korea

    1. Laura,

      It’s definitely challenging, but over time it’s become a lot easier. I love to cook and experiment with different recipes, so it’s been quite fun. Living in Seoul has a lot more options for dining out, but in Jinju my options are fairly limited. I think if you like to cook and are able to find creative ways to use the ingredients available here, you could definitely do it!

      1. Honestly I love cooking and most of what I cook doesn’t contain meat anyway (it’s way too expensive to buy in my opinion). So maybe i should try and really commit to it!

      2. I’m going to be sharing recipes of things I cook regularly and what I keep in my kitchen as a part of a series 🙂 Maybe you will find it helpful!

Let's Chat!