Some nights, you just don’t want to cook. It’s been a long week and you haven’t made it to the grocery store, so your pantry is sparse. I think we’ve all been there. But what happens when you’re a vegetarian and most restaurants near you don’t have meat free options? Or when it’s difficult to do an online search because all the results are in another language?
The best thing to do if you’re a vegetarian in Korea is find some local restaurants that serve a few vegetarian dishes and mark them on your Kakao map so you can find them again. This is what I do when I discover a new restaurant in Jinju.
So whether you live in Jinju or are passing through, here are some restaurants where you can get some great meat-free meals.
Saladen is a salad restaurant serving up some of the best salads I have ever had. What I love best about Saladen is that there are multiple vegetarian-friendly options on the menu, like the mushroom salad, avocado salad, and ricotta salad. They also have an extensive list of teas and even serve smoothies! I highly recommend trying the avocado-banana smoothie.
Along with the great food, Saladen has an amazing atmosphere. The staff is friendly and helpful. They’ve had the menu translated into English, so you don’t have to worry about deciphering what everything is! There are also many seating options, so you can go alone or with friends. If you’re craving a good salad, I highly recommend Saladen.
Technically, Famers is more of a bar than a restaurant, but they serve up some vegetarian food all the same. It’s the perfect place if you want to grab some bar bites and drinks after work with friends.
So what can you order from the Famers menu if you’re a vegetarian? You have two options: the potato pizza or the Famers fries. Both are pretty tasty. I was skeptical about potato wedges and corn on pizza, but I have to admit, it was a lot tastier than I expected. The Famers fries are loaded up with sauces, jalapeños, and parmesan cheese. Pair either of these with one of the Famers beers, and you have a great Friday night meal.
Another one of the vegetarian-friendly restaurants in Jinju is U-Turn Coffee. Although technically a cafe, U-Turn serves up delicious pancakes. One order comes with three large pancakes and two Americanos, so it’s the perfect meal to share! Not to mention the price for the whole set is incredible affordable, especially if you’re splitting the cost between two people.
If you head to U-Turn for pancakes, there are two options: plain or berry. Both are delicious, but I prefer the berry pancakes.
Bon Juk & Bon Bibimbap Cafe
A chain located throughout Korea, Bon Juk & Bon Bibimbap Cafe serves up a few vegetarian-friendly options. My personal favorite is the sweet pumpkin soup. The soft tofu bibimbap is also pretty good and loaded up with delicious veggies.
Watch out for the side dishes though. The meal is often served with a side of meat, kimchi, and something that looks like tomato paste but is actually squid. Obviously none of these are vegetarian friendly.
It’s no secret that I love Indian food. So it only makes sense that Kitchen India is one of my favorite restaurants in Jinju. The vegetarian options at Kitchen India are pretty good. They have five or six different dishes that are vegetable based, a good rice selection, naan bread, and some vegetarian appetizers as well.
I’ve tried nearly every vegetarian dish at Kitchen India and they are all fantastic. I can’t even choose a favorite because each one is delicious. If you’re looking for somewhere that vegetarians and meat-eaters alike can enjoy, Kitchen India is definitely one of the restaurants you should check out.
Loving Hut is an international vegan chain. Pretty much every city I’ve gone to in Korea has at least one Loving Hut location. You can even find Loving Hut in other countries as well, including Hong Kong. Each location serves up a different menu, but everything I’ve had from Loving Hut is delicious.
If you’re planning to try Loving Hut, make sure they’re open. Their weekend hours are shorter than weekday hours, and sometimes by the end of the week there aren’t many items left from the menu.