Watch my “how to” video and mukbang (eating show!)
When I first gave up meat, people around me freaked out asking me how I’m able to give up meat when I’m Korean and… well, KOREAN BBQ THO?! Even now when people find out that I’m Korean AND vegan, they tend to always ask how I’m able to stay away from Korean BBQ.
Now, I understand that a Korean vegan is NOT a common thing… Korea has only recently become a top world economic power and even during my parents’ generation, many people did not have enough to eat and it was a completely different Korea than it is today. So it’s understandable that something like veganism, which is very prevalent in Western and more developed countries, is yet to be popular in Korea. It will probably still be many years until something like this becomes popular, especially since Korean culture is very conformist and doesn’t really value individualism (whereas Western cultures value individualism).
Anyway, a lot of people associate Korean food with Korean BBQ, even though meat in Korea used to be a luxury for a very long time until only recent years since it has become cheaper. When my parents were young, meat was rare and eating meat regularly usually was a sign of wealth. So Korean BBQ is really a new phenomenon and I wouldn’t associate it with traditional Korean cuisine.
Either way, Korean BBQ has become so popular even in North America and even though it is heavily meat-focused, I am here to tell you that it is actually very easy to do your own KOREAN BBQ at home… VEGAN STYLE!
Other than the actual meat portion, one big characteristic of Korean BBQ is the fact that there are tons of veggies and little side dishes that come along with the experience. The meat is just one part. So really, many of the side dishes are vegan, so all you have to do is replace the meat with whatever meat substitute and VOILA! You have yourself Korean BBQ.
Here’s what you will need for a VEGAN Korean BBQ:
- Protein of choice (for the grill) – obviously, we would be using veggie protein. Feel free to use any meat substitute of choice. Tofu is always a good shout.
- Veggies to grill – zucchini, mushrooms, garlic (chopped into flat pieces), onions… anything you want, really!
- Lettuce – THIS IS ESSENTIAL for lettuce wraps, which are a big part of Korean BBQ.
- Other fresh veggies – like cucumber…. for instance.
- Spicy dipping sauce (Ssamjang) – highly recommend
- Sesame oil & salt mixture – highly recommend
- Kimchi – if you have it, this is a must!
- Other Korean side dishes if you have them
- Rice – Some people leave this out, but I find it to be essential because I’m a riceaholic.
- Soju – this is the Korean national alcoholic drink and if you want to have the FULL experience and you drink alcohol, then you might want to add this too!