A Vegan Weekend Trip to Gangwondo, Korea

Wondering where to travel as a vegan in Korea? We have a great weekend trip recommendation, SOKCHO and GOSEONG!

About Vegan Travel Information Sokcho and Goseong

If you go online there is very little about vegan trips to the east coast of Gangwondo in South Korea. The East Coast experienced a great deal of development for the 2018 Winter Olympics but still doesn’t offer a great deal of English information for English-speaking international residents. This means folks often don’t realize it can be a perfect vacation spot for all kinds of folks, including vegans and vegetarians if you know how to plan your trip.

Since we happen to be traveling with our favorite vegan formerly living in Korea, we thought we would share what our vegan trips to Sokcho look like.

Vegan Trip Travel Variables

Our vegan trip to Sokcho, Gangwon-do occurred over Chuseok and we traveled mostly by car. It’s always important to know what factors to consider when seeing if you can have a similar experience. Additionally, our favorite vegan bestie used to live in South Korea as a vegan over a decade ago so she LOVES vegan Korean food and came to eat local.

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Our Vegan in Korea History

Lisa and I met Steph in rural Korea over 12 years ago. Steph moved to South Korea in 2008 and became a vegan in Korea in around 2009. At the time, she was the only vegan or vegetarian in our small international community. We all made it work and learned to support her dietary choices while living, working, and traveling together. Lisa used to take vegan trips with Steph in Korea and abroad.

Since Steph became vegan during one of the most complicated times for an international vegan in Korea, she returned excited to try all the vegan things. She wanted to try what she loved before and all the new things available now. We were also interested to see how it would be traveling as a vegan in an area of Korea that hasn’t experienced as much of a plant-based revolution as other areas of the country.

As for Lisa and I, we love plant-based food and support plant-based lifestyles. Especially Lisa, who would probably eat mostly plant-based if given the chance and loves to take vegan-focused trips to Korea. However, neither of us chose a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle like Steph. We simply choose to support our friends and the general plant-based community. We will talk openly about the non-vegan items that ended up on our table so that vegans can navigate the surprises better.

So here is what our eating adventure looked like:

Day 1: Vegan Dinner in Sokcho

Steph and Lisa arrived in Sokcho via the express bus from Suwon and I picked them up in a car. Since they arrived in the evening on Saturday we went straight to dinner. I had found a vegan meal recommendation at a cafe on Sokcho that looked very delicious. It seemed like the perfect start to our vegan foodie-focused trip! When we arrived the restaurant was too cute!

Zezes Table

Zezes Table0

0507-1431-4125

Copy and paste phone numbers into Naver Maps to get directions

A delicious rice bowl restaurant with a vegan option!

Hangul Address

강원 속초시 조양로105번길 12

(Listing information provided by the South of Seoul app)

The restaurant offers a small menu with one vegan option clearly labeled in English. The rice bowl is served in a cast iron skillet that toasts the bottom of the rice perfectly. We did a happy dance in our chairs when we saw the menu label because we didn’t even need to double-check the ingredients.

Easy to find on the menu.

Additionally, the meal comes with some nice vegan side dishes. Each item is shockingly full of flavor. We would eat at Zeze’s all the time if we lived in Sokcho. We wish we could go back already. If you are taking a vegan trip across Korea make sure to stop here.

The crisp of the rice was next level.

After dinner, we headed to our minbok which also has a kitchen just in case we have trouble finding vegan options during the trip to Gangwon-do, Korea. A minbok comes with a small kitchen which makes minbaks the perfect option for those traveling with dietary restrictions. You can bring your food from home or go shopping locally and cook for yourself.

In addition to the kitchen, most minbaks have an outdoor eating and grilling area. This one had a spot on the roof. Minbaks like this and pensions with kitchens make it easier for vegan families to travel together and stay on their regular eating routine if they so choose.

The BBQ areas are often most busy at night.

Day 2: Goseong CU Mart Breakfast

We woke up early the next morning and headed to CU Mart for a vegan breakfast in Goseong. This is quite common for us on vacation. We often eat breakfast at CU marts even if we aren’t doing a vegan-inspired trip, so we stuck with what we knew. We chose a sizeable CU Mart near a beach and found:

  • 2 types of vegan mandu
  • Seaweed snacks
  • Individual kim packets
  • Single-serving instant rice
  • Single serving granola
  • Various kinds of oats or soy milks
  • Single serving tofu
  • Fresh fruit

For our breakfast, we went with mandu, granola, seaweed snacks, kim, and oat milk. We ate until we were rolling away from the table. The mandu was excellent. Steph felt incredibly happy with her vegan options and we all loved hanging out together at a CU like old times.

The following mandu was excellent. (Please ignore the eggs and meat-based mandu package that we got for my husband.)

Day 2: Cafe Break 1

Of course, it’s not a day in Korea without a cafe stop. Although our first cafe didn’t have vegan food, they did have a nice selection of tea or juice. All we needed while we sat back and took in the view. We sat outside here for a few hours catching up on life.

Day 2: Goseong Korean Vegan Lunch

Since we have been eating Vegan in Korea for a while, we have a list of foods that we love that can be found at many different restaurants. Maybe we can’t eat the side dishes, but we can eat the main course. In this case, Gangwondo is known for their potato pancake (감자전) which happens to be vegan so that will be on our table as much as possible. Of course, potato pancake doesn’t make a meal, so we coupled it with another vegan Korean dish called tofu (두부장). Honestly, this dish blew our minds a little. We could not get enough.

Our favorite potato pancake of the trip. Very crispy.

Keep in mind that Korean dishes like potato pancakes and tofu will rarely be labeled vegan on a menu. Koreans have many vegan dishes but they don’t feel the need to market them as vegan. It’s simply culturally understood that they have no meat. We also took the time to confirm no meat, seafood, or similar products were added.

Alert: Some of the side dishes are not vegan. The owners were happy to work with us and warned us their side dishes were not vegan. So Lisa and I ate the side dishes while Steph ate only potato pancake and braised tofu. If you go with all vegans, you can let them know you don’t need the side dishes. The meal will still feel complete.

Day 2: Adventure Park and Cafe Break 2

After we ate too much we headed to the adventure course. We don’t only eat during our holiday!

Wonder Camp

Wonder Camp0

01023962082

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Adventure course by the seaside.

Hangul Address

강원 고성군 죽왕면 봉수대길 10-52

(Listing information provided by the South of Seoul app)

After the adventure course, we needed a little break so we went to the beach for some iced tea, hobak-sikhye, and beach silliness.

Bongsu Beach

Bongsu Beach0

Hangul Address

강원특별자치도 고성군 죽왕면 오호리

(Listing information provided by the South of Seoul app)

Day 2: Drive Toward North Korea and Cafe Break 3

After the beach, we went up the road to take in some of the epic Goseong views of North Korea and nature.

Stopped to enjoy the sun-setting.

Our final stop of the day was a chocolate cafe that had tea made from cacao shells and dark chocolate. It was a nice sweet treat before heading to dinner. Dessert first if you will.

Day 2: Sokcho Vegan Pizza Dinner

Papa Johns Sokcho

Papa Johns Sokcho0

033-637-8082

Copy and paste phone numbers into Naver Maps to get directions

Franchise offering a wide variety of pizza options including vegan options.

Hangul Address

강원 속초시 수복로 11

(Listing information provided by the South of Seoul app)

Since Steph loves pizza, we went to Papa John’s in Sokcho for their vegan menu. The pizza chain offers two vegan pizzas, cheese and veggie. Steph chose the veggie topping option and then we asked if she could have the breadsticks with vegan cheese. Papa John’s staff told us bread sticks with vegan cheese were not on their menu but they could do it. They charged the same price as regular cheese sticks.

Important: Keep in mind that access to vegan breadsticks at Papa John’s may be different depending on the location, person working, and language ability. It’s worth a try if you love breadsticks like Steph does.

This was way too much food for Steph so she took leftovers back to the minbak for snacks and breakfast.

Day 3: Goseong Breakfast

For breakfast, we went back to the CU mart and Steph had the rest of her vegan pizza. We grabbed a light stack of drinks, nuts, and other items. We still felt rather full from the day before.

Day 3: Sokcho Vegan Tofu Lunch

Since breakfast was simple, we went to a hearty tofu restaurant for some soft handmade tofu with pine nuts (잣순두부) and potato pancake. This wasn’t our favorite potato pancake because it was too soft in the center for us, however, the tofu was excellent. This trip was very tofu and potato pancake-themed because it’s what we love and want to try. Not because other items aren’t available.

The tofu on the left is vegan and the one on the right is not.

Important: The restaurant isn’t well-versed in vegan concepts. We also ordered the spicy version of the tofu and they said it was also vegan. Therefore, we didn’t have Steph try it first because we understood the recipe. We felt there might be seafood. Sure enough, crab and shrimp. Since we aren’t vegan, this wasn’t a problem for Lisa and I. We were happy to eat it and help Steph avoid eating meat.

Additionally, some of the side dishes were vegan and some were not. You will have to navigate this part yourself. You can choose to not have side dishes or only eat the ones you confirm don’t have fish, shrimp, etc. For us on this trip, we just divided up what folks could eat.

Day 3: Cafe Break

Cafe Luluhue

Cafe Luluhue0

This is a vegan cafe. You can’t use your smart phones, sit in groups larger than 3, or talk much. It’s about decompression and focusing on the moment. They do not have a phone number listed.

Hangul Address

강원 속초시 만천1길 38

(Listing information provided by the South of Seoul app)

There are actually some vegan cafe options in Sokcho. We chose to stop at a quiet vegan cafe and grab some drinks to go before meeting a friend. The vegan cafe we chose has a busy life, detox concept. You can only see in groups of 3 or less, no regular talking, no cell phones, and they don’t have a sign.

They have excellent vegan milk tea. Highly recommend if you want to relax with some vegan drinks and goodies.

Since we had a group of folks, we went to a nearby park to hang out and make friends. We even tried our hand at darts.

Day 3: Seoraksan Vegan Dinner

In Seoraskan National Park the restaurant we chose made things easy for vegans on a trip in Korea. Right at the cash register, the restaurant listed the vegan options. Additionally, the staff clearly understood vegan requirements. It made dinner super easy.

Of course, Steph got both. This was a crispy potato pancake and the mountain bibimbap was excellent as usual. It never needs the egg to be wonderful.

The best part about having dinner at Seoraksan National Park is getting to hang out there when you finish. The views are epic.

This was our final stop before heading back to the big city of Pyeongtaek.

Sokcho and Goseong Vegan Trip Take-Aways

Eating vegan on the trip to Sokcho and Goseong felt easy and sustainable for us but we realize it may not feel that way for others. We ate extremely well every day and didn’t get through our list of places to try. However, we also realized that it was easy for a few key reasons:

  1. We speak enough Korean to navigate the conversation.
  2. All of us have lived in Korea and we all like Korean food.
  3. We cook Korean food so we know what goes into recipes.
  4. We had a car.
  5. We had a place with a kitchen so we had a backup (although we never used it).

The trip helped us see where information can be improved so that more people can feel as comfortable as we do sourcing vegan food options. The perfect start for our plant-based information initiative.

Plan a Vegan Trip to Gangwondo

If you don’t have a strong understanding of Korean cooking and the Korean language, consider having a Korean-based tour company plan your trips. We recommend considering Plus Planner. They are a Korean company that works with travelers from many countries. Their tour planners understand the needs of vegans and vegetarians.

Plus Planner

Plus Planner0

02-2238-2895

Copy and paste phone numbers into Naver Maps to get directions

A boutique tour company that offers affordable group trips and custom travel planning.

(Listing information provided by the South of Seoul app)

You can also read their article about vegan restaurants in Gangwondo here:

Join Vegan and Vegetarian Pyeongtaek

Looking for localized insight into vegan and vegetarian life in Korea? Join the Vegan and Vegetarian Pyeongtaek Facebook Group. Members share their favorite tips and tricks for living a plant-based lifestyle in Korea.