CULTURE BITE KOREA 🇰🇷

Vegan Instant Curry

Vegan Instant Curry

Gochujang

Gochujang

WHAT A MONTH!

Vegan Dumplings

Vegan Dumplings

Dashima - great for soups

Dashima - great for soups

I like this brand because it has no MSG

I like this brand because it has no MSG

Learning about Korean food this month has been a BLAST! I’ve learnt so much, everyday, and there’s still just so much more to learn and EAT! A huge thank you thank you thank you x 10000 to Sasha from @earthlingsasha and her mum, Sue, for teaching me so much about their wonderful culture, inviting me into their home, and just being all-round legends. Thank you!

Rice and Apple syrups

Rice and Apple syrups

Another seaweed snack!

Another seaweed snack!

10 THINGS I LEARNT ABOUT KOREAN FOOD

Chocolate soy milk!

Chocolate soy milk!

Vegan Dumplings

Vegan Dumplings

Tteokbokki chips - vegan

Tteokbokki chips - vegan

Banan Soy Milk

Banan Soy Milk

Tofu Pockets for sushi or kimbap

Tofu Pockets for sushi or kimbap

Vegan mung bean pancakes

Vegan mung bean pancakes

Spicy Ramen Vegan

Spicy Ramen Vegan

Best brand of Ssamjang - vegan

Best brand of Ssamjang - vegan

Colourful dessert tteok!

Colourful dessert tteok!

  1. Home-cooked Korean food is actually very healthy and has an extremely nourishing and satisfying quality about it.

  2. They’re big on stews, soups, glass-noodles, small lightly seasoned side dishes, zucchini, perilla leaves, cabbage, daikon radish, barley tea, pears and pear-flavoured things, apples, corn syrup.

  3. Meals are made to be shared.

  4. Stainless steel is the popular material for chopsticks, bowls, cups, plates. I think it brings a different feel to the table, although I can’t quite explain this.

  5. Textures which are celebrated: chewy/bouncy/slippery/sticky from RICE, POTATO STARCH, JELLIES, ARROWROOT AND BUCKWHEAT NOODLES. crispy/crunchy on the outside from FRYING.

  6. Flavours which are celebrated: lots of spice + more sweet than salty + nuttiness all together. tangy kimchi. sesame oil. pungent onion + garlic. vinegar. mustard. fishy/seafoody. cakes/desserts aren’t overly sweet. dishes are not too salty and salty sauces are often given on the side.

  7. Very vegan friendly ingredients are very easy to find. They love vegetables and tofu!

  8. A lot of excellent fermented and preserved vegetables! Kimchi, soybean paste, radish, root vegetables.

  9. Seaweeds often compliment dishes.

  10. IT IS SO DELICIOUS.

VEGAN KOREAN OPTIONS IN SYDNEY

So… everyone has been asking: WHERE CAN I EAT VEGAN KOREAN IN SYDNEY?

I don’t want to get your hopes up because in reality, it is still very difficult to find vegan Korean food, especially main meals. Whilst cooking vegan is so easy because the pantry staples (see below!) are so vegan-friendly, restaurants are still meat, seafood and egg heavy.

I’ve been lucky enough to eat out with @earthlingsasha and her mum Sue (who speaks Korean), and they showed me a few places to go. NOTE/TIPS: THESE ARE NOT VEGAN RESTAURANTS so you’ll want to double-, even triple-check what you’re ordering with the wait-staff. These aren’t your weekend-brunch cafes, these are KOREAN RESTAURANTS and you need to be CULTURALLY AWARE when ordering/asking for changes. Have patience and don’t expect that waitstaff will even know what you mean by ‘vegan’ - they’re also extremely busy!

1. Myeongdong Korean Restaurant - HIGHLY RECOMMEND

  • We had the BIBIM-NAENGMYON without egg and beef (ASK): cold buckwheat/tapioca noodles with spicy sauce, served with pickled radish and cucumber.

  • We also had the DOLSOT-BIBIMBAP, without egg and meat (ASK).

  • We also could eat 9 out of 13 Banchan (side dishes) on the day that we went - but this might not be the case on your visit. I would assume, however, that the Banchan changes from day-to-day. Be sure to ask what contains fish-sauce. The waitstaff were happy to explain to us which ones did and which ones didn’t.

  • GO EARLY it gets exteremely busy!

2. THE BASAK - highly recommend

  • Cheap FRIED street food - get the seaweed rolls and the sweet potato! It’ll cost you $5. and heads up: the sauce is NOT vegan.

3. BAKEHOUSE GARDEN

  • DIY rice paper rolls! GO EARLY it gets busy. Lots of vegetables. The yellow stuff is strips of EGG. There is not other vegan protein and the dipping sauce is NOT vegan. Feel free to bring your own, we did - Sasha brought tofu and sauce :P (Also I can suggest the dipping sauce from my KIMCHI PANCAKES recipe, or just bring some sweet chilli)

4. LAB

  • Korean bakery with EXCELLENT fried sticky rice balls - I would recommend the mini ones (un-filled) covered in cinnamon sugar. The large ones are filled with red bean! They also have black sesame mochi filled with red bean and strawberry filled mochi too. I LOVE THE LITTLE CINNAMON BALLS.

5. THE MANDOO

  • Small and bustling freshly-made Korean dumpling spot in Strathfield. Eftpos $20 minimum (I had to run out and find an ATM oops). One option for vegan dumplings: VEGETABLE AND SOYBEAN DUMPLINGS - they’re filled with glass noodles and what looks like meat, but is in fact soy bean protein! Not bad, but not amazing. I would spend all that money at the Basak on the little seaweed rolls instead :P

6. best option: BIBIMBAP SYDNEY @ SYDNEY VEGAN MARKET

  • THE BEST VEGAN KOREAN FOOD EVER. They have the most delicious home-cooked and traditional bibimbap, you can get kimchi, and seasonal specials from Sasha and Sue themselves. Also 100% vegan for SURE.

KOREAN PANTRY STAPLES

Soy Sauce: a premium soy sauce will add a delicious difference to your dishes without having to use fish sauce.

Gochujang - Korean Red Pepper Paste: spicy spicy goodness.

Doenjang - Fermented Soy Bean Paste: similar to miso delicious, grainy and flavourful paste for soups and stews.

Sesame Oil

Gochugaru - Korean Red Pepper Flakes:

Sweet Potato Noodles: use this to make Sasha’s Japchae!

‘Tteok’ Rice Cakes: make some of my tteokbokki!

Korean Tofu: different to Chinese tofu, stronger soy bean flavour, more grainy!

‘Kim’ Seaweed: seasoned sesame oil flavoured seaweed on EVERYTHING. Perfect just with rice and Kimchi

Apple Syrup: my Korean sweetener of choice!

Ssamjang: A delicious garlicky, soybean-y, spicy dipping sauce!

Ddukbaegi: Clay cooking pot

Dolsot: Stone cooking pot

KOREAN SUPERMARKETS IN SYDNEY

Eastwood Mart, Rowe St, Eastwood 2122

Hana Asian Grocery, Railway Parade, Eastwood 2122

S-Mart, Rowe St, Eastwood 2122

Ko-Mart, George St, North Strathfield 2137

Hanaro Mart, Strathfield Plaza, 16/11 The Boulevarde, Strathfield NSW 2135

KOREAN SHOPPING LIST/RECOMMENDATIONS

Vegetables/Herbs to try:

  • Perilla

  • Korean Zucchini

  • Burdock Root

  • Bracket - Young Fern Shoots

  • Lotus Root

Frozen

  • Bungeoppang

  • Red Bean Steam Buns

  • Black Sesame Steam Buns

  • Vegetable Steam Buns

  • Kimchi Dumplings (Mandu)

  • Vegetable Dumplings (Mandu)

Snacks

  • Instant Ramen

  • Tteokbokki Chips

  • Seaweed Snacks

  • Yakgwa Korean Biscuits

Other

  • Fresh tteok rice cakes

  • Sweet tteok

MY FAVOURITE KOREAN CHANNELS TO FOLLOW

Earthling Sasha

Cheap Lazy Vegan

The Korean Vegan

Maangchi

Aeri’s Kitchen

Future Neighbour

Elizabeth Miu1 Comment