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One Less Vegetarian in Korea

I don’t understand. Ohmy News is publishing diary entries? What was the point of that article? It sounded like pointless soul searching.

If you don’t feel like reading it, I’ll give you the gist of it. It’s written by a British woman who’s leaving Korea soon. She was a vegetarian before she came to Korea. She ate meat in Korea. She’s going to be a vegetarian again when she returns to London.

Oh, and she complains that meat eaters are hostile to vegetarians because they believe vegs have a holier-than-thou attitude. Well, yeah, in my experience that people who are vegetarian for political (not religious, health, or taste) reasons throw a lot of empty morality in the face of meat eaters when it comes to dinner.


Author: ZenKimchi

Joe McPherson founded ZenKimchi in 2004. He has been featured and sourced in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, CNN, KBS, MBC, SBS, Le Figaro, Travel + Leisure Southeast Asia, Harper’s Bazaar Korea, The Chosun Weekly, and other Korean and international media. He has consulted for "Parts Unknown with Anthony Bourdain," The Travel Channel’s “Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern,” Lonely Planet, National Geographic, Conde Nast Traveler, the PBS documentary series “Kimchi Chronicles,” and other projects in the UK, Canadan, and Australia featuring celebrity chefs such as Gizzi Erskine and Gary Mehigan. Mr. McPherson has written for multiple Korean and international publications, including SEOUL Magazine, JoongAng Daily, The Korea Herald, Newsweek Korea and wrote the feature article for U.S. National publication Plate magazine’s all-Korean food issue. He has acted as dining editor for 10 Magazine and was on the judging panel for Korea for the Miele Guide. He spoke at TEDx Seoul on Korean food globalization, at TED Worldwide Talent Search on the rise of Korean cuisine, and in New York City on Korean Buddhist temple cuisine. The company ZenKimchi International organizes food tours for tourists and corporations and acts as a media liaison for foreign and Korean media and local restaurants and producers.

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  • mike

    Amen and amen. I don’t understand, there is plenty of ways to go vegetarian in Korean food. There are some difficulties if you want to go Vegan, b/c I don’t know how you can make decent kimchi without shrimp or oysters but otherwise I don’t think it’s really that hard. Western Vegetarians are the worst b/c they exude far more cultural arrogance and superiority than their cultural liberalness and “tolerance” should allow.

  • http://expatjane.blogspot.com ExpatJane

    She’s full of whiney shit because I know vegetarians in Korea. It’s not the easiest thing and, honestly, being a strict vegetarian is going to be VERY hard. However, it can be done.

    The one vegan I knew as miserable, but he was also crazy so I didn’t care much.

    The vegetarian that I know who adapted the best also took the time to learn the language, culture and food. Therefore, she could make informed choices.

    I do see how it can be difficult if you don’t have a working knowledge of how things are here. If her point is more could be done to make the vegetarian lifestyle here easier, I’d agree. But to write as if she was forced to eat meat is straight bullshit.

  • http://zenkimchi.com/ ZenKimchi

    And you know what? I have a friend here (regular poster on GalbiJim) who is a vegetarian, and he has embraced Korean vegetarian cuisine. I’ve even joined his vegetarian club to try out the restaurants he finds. Yet he’s an exception. He doesn’t cop the holier-than-thou attitude, and you have to know him a bit to even find out he’s a vegetarian — as opposed to the people who wear their vegetarianism on their sleeve as if it’s the sole thing that defines who they are.

  • http://www.cookingkorean.com Jo

    Tell me about it….I am living in San Francisco, a capital city of all kinds of vegetarian(Vegetarian, raw foodie, Macro biotic…..etc…..) I was once inveited to dinner only to be fed with a lot of sprouts,nuts,and some kind of grass….

  • wdphish

    Yes, it is challenging to become a vegan in Korea, but it is not impossible. This is why I learned few Korean phrases to tell the restaurants what I can and cannot eat. So far so good. And to Mike who posted on #1, yes it is possible to make decent kimchi without shrimps or oysters. I have done it and my Korean friends told me it tasted just like Korean kimchi. The only thing you will not get is the fishy smell.

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