Continuing on from my last post about South Korea, where I talk about vegan food in Seoul, this is the even less interesting post about the vegan dishes I enjoyed in Busan. In reading the drivel that comprises this post, you can look forward to hearing about such exciting topics as me continuing to shop alone for Korean booze and being quite chilly.
Vegan Travel in Busan
Vegan eats in Busan
For the sake of convenience and because the menus had multiple offerings that piqued my interest I returned twice each to Vegenarang and Dajeon Cafe.
Vegenarang is located on one of the upper floors of a building that affords a view of some other buildings that overlook the beach. Under normal circumstances this fact may not sell a location. When the Busan International Fireworks Festival is on, however, anywhere with a view of the sky over Gwangalli beach is suddenly prime real estate.
As I was the only person in the city entirely unaware of the city’s internationally renown fireworks event, I arrived at Vegenerang to be told there are no a la carte items available, only a fixed menu in place for this show. I accepted despite confusion over the link between what one eats and the detonation of kaleidoscopic explosives. I was famished.
I had no idea how immense, how threatrical the display would be. And so I ate my dinner, a rice set to include a soup course and bento style box with at least a dozen mixed styles and types of food. There was kimbap, noodles, rice, jap chae, kimchi, and bite sized portions of about 94 other items from the kitchen.
Oktoga Vegan Bakery
Oktoga bakery wouldn’t be out of place in a movie about a local visiting their most beloved shop daily for high quality edibles. The selection is grand, ranging from cakes and other sweets to savoury snacks. Their sugary snacks are light on the, um, sugar, so if you’re one of those folks who doesn’t like a cloying dessert then Oktoga is for you.
I loved all but one thing about Dajeon cafe. Beginning with the positives, the interior is haphazardly cosy. It’s the sort of place designed by someone who is infuriatingly good at making it look little effort was made, like a few bits were just thrown into place to create the most perfectly welcoming space. Another great aspect of the cafe is its food. If you want to try a vegan version of Bulgogi, this is the place to stop for a meal. The bibimbap was also good, as was the jjinmandu (steamed dumplings).
The thing I didn’t like about Dajeon cafe was the staff who brought their nonvegan fried chicken back to the restaurant to eat.
Misc vegan foods in Busan
A unique food to Korea is acorn jelly, which is a agar-like set jelly made with acorn starch. The texture is not dissimilar to Chinese Liangfen and, similarly, acorn jelly is pretty flavourless on its own.
I was also introduced to a type of natto made with black beans, which I’ve not seen outside of Korea (or Korean shops).
Stuff to do in Busan
Go to the beach to photobomb. All you need to do is stand in any one place and you will be successful.