Deodeok root dish, vegetarian food in Korea

Deodeok root dish, 더돜


Finding veggie foods whenever I’m out hiking or taking my weekend jaunts around Korea is always a bit of a challenge.  So GRRR! thanks to Daegu Ayurvedic Yoga Academy‘s vegan Megan Deutsch, who recently enlightened me to two fresh and healthy vegetarian food for hikers in Korea .

2 Vegetarian food for hikers in Korea

Deodeok root (더덕)

This dish has great health benefits –so the Koreans say– and is good for thinning the blood. It’s actually a type of bellflower root that’s grilled and marinated in a delectably spicy sauce. The taste has a bit of aspicy bite to it but grilled to a tender, the texture is a bit reminiscent of …meat. Your initial chomp may feel so-so, but thereafter, the taste will grow on you. Price-wise, the dish runs a bit on the steep –the one I tried was 25,000W for a plate for two– but between the taste and the health benefits, it’s worth the trade!

산ㅊ하ㅓ 비빔밮, sanchae bibimbap, root bibimbap, vegetarian foods in korea

산채비빔밥,  Sanchae Bibimbap  Photo: Creative Commons

Sanchae bibimbap (산채비빔밥)

It’s a type yachae (aka vegetable) bibimbap, consisting of wild mountain vegetables over a bed of hot paste and rice. The dish is often eaten by monks who come down from their temple perch for food and is primarily sold at restaurants located at the foot of mountain trails.

My vegetarian staple in Korea:

Yachae or Dolsot  (aka vegetable)  bibimbap
duenjan jigae (soy bean paste soup aka miso)
yachae kimbap (vegetable sushi roll)
soon dubu jigae  (spicy soft tofu stew)  
kimchi jigae
(I have to ask for it without meat)

Korean translations:

jigae = stew
dubu = tofu
yachae = vegetable


*Note: most jiggae/stews – with the exception of duenjan jigae–  have some ingredients of fish paste/ sauce or seafood for flavoring. Not recommended for strict vegetarians. The only place I have found soon dubu jigae vegan-style was here.

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3 Comments. Leave new

  • kimchi jigae is not vegetarian. it has fish sauce in it. you sound very well traveled, so maybe you knew that already. then again, maybe your food choices do not exclude fish sauce. either way, thought i would share that with you because a lot of people do not know that when they first arrive here. to be honest, i fail to remember if i knew it already or the smell told me or if i read it. happy hiking to you

    • @Ron: Thanks for your correction! You’re right and this is a correction I definitely should make to my post, as I do have a loophole for seafood (depending) on occasion (if I didn’t I don’t know how I’d survive as I believe even kimchi has a little fish sauce in it…I could be wrong). The jigaes are something that can annoy vegetarians/vegans who want to stay faithful– they can have either fish sauce or oyster sauce and depending, sometimes they slip a bit of clams in there. Thanks again! 🙂

  • Thanks for the veggie tips! I’d love to visit Korean and its good to know I can eat there while out on a hike or in a remote area 🙂


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