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Vegetarian or vegan Korean in the East Bay

ritaville Feb 21, 2010 07:47 PM

Are there any vegetarian Korean places in the east bay? I know that most korean places have vegetarian options but often the banchan and sometimes soup stock is made with seafood items (bonito or oysters) so I was hoping that there might be a vegetarian only or extremely vegetarian friendly Korean place?? And a vegan option (with vegan sugar) would be fantastic!
I would love East Bay but willing to travel...


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  1. lexdevil RE: ritaville Feb 21, 2010 08:04 PM

    Sahn Maru has a separate (but limited) veg menu. I think you're probably SOL on vegan sugar. I'm sure you could ask for veg only banchan.

    6 Replies
    1. re: lexdevil
      roster RE: lexdevil Feb 22, 2010 08:13 AM

      Even side dishes without meat in them often (but not always) use fish sauce or shrimp paste. It will be easy to find dairy free Korean, but to find stuff that is truly vegetarian or vegan may be hard due to the way many things are seasoned.

      Vegan sugar, as a side note can somebody clarify what this is? Does regular cane sugar harm animals somehow?

      1. re: roster
        sfbing RE: roster Feb 22, 2010 08:19 AM

        I was curious too and looked it up. Apparently cane sugar needs to be filtered through charcoal to get that white color. And the charcoal used for doing this is often derived from animal bones.

        1. re: sfbing
          roster RE: sfbing Feb 22, 2010 09:32 AM

          Interesting, does this apply also for muscovado, or other off-white less refine sugars?

          On Topic, if you go to a Korean market and read the labels of key food stuffs, you may start to get a sense of whether a particular food item uses fish sauce, shrimp paste, etc. Ingredient lists in english are usually pretty accurate. Once you know, you might feel more comfortable ordering that item.

          Korean is great for those self titled 'vegetarians' that still eat some fish....

          1. re: roster
            a_and_w RE: roster Mar 2, 2010 10:00 AM

            Korean temple cuisine is one notable exception. Otherwise, roster is correct that you should pretty much assume EVERYTHING in Korean cuisine has some kind of seafood in it for flavoring, if nothing else.

      2. re: lexdevil
        ritaville RE: lexdevil Feb 22, 2010 12:48 PM

        Is the Sahn Maru veg menu a vegetarian menu or a vegetable menu (like the noodles section of a menu)? Also, do you have to request it?

        1. re: ritaville
          lexdevil RE: ritaville Feb 22, 2010 02:53 PM

          Last time I saw it it was a separate short menu of veg items.

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