Recently I have been thinking a lot about my diet. It’s hard to say why, but I’m beginning to lose interest in meat. Although I’ve eaten meat my whole life, I find myself questioning whether I should continue to do so.
But in Korea at least 90% of the restaurants serve meat, and it’s hard to find anything which is strictly vegetarian. But, after some searching online, I came across this small vegan restaurant in Namcheon, which is one of the most pleasant areas of Busan. The area happens to contain a number of excellent bakeries too, but I didn’t try them today.
The name of the restaurant is 재크와콩나무 (Jack and the Beanstalk Vegan. We took our shoes off outside and were led to some simple wooden tables in the main restaurant area. The first difference between this restaurant and other Korean restaurants is that there is no music. You can focus on the conversation with your companion in a peaceful environment. The menu was printed in English which was helpful.
It’s easy to make jokes about vegan food without really understanding anything about it. People who think that vegetables are less interesting than meat are forgetting that meat is pretty boring too until it is seasoned or fried/roasted/baked.
A Korean woman came to tell us more about the menu and later a second woman, the chef and owner gave us her recommendation. She said that the kale and banana smoothie was delicious so I ordered it. Her suggestion was correct. They are known for a ‘steak’ that is actually made from soybeans but this wasn’t on the menu. Instead I ordered the Burrito set (rice and salad in a tortilla wrap) which came with falafel and hummus.
The food was extremely fresh and completely organic. I’m always interested in the line between healthy and delicious. For example, bread or pasta made with wholewheat instead of plain flour. It’s really a sign of a chef’s talent that they can make something healthy taste good. Having worked as a chef I can attest to the amount of salt, oil and butter that chefs use to make food taste good.
The best thing about vegan food is that you don’t get the uncomfortable ‘blow-out feeling’ which often comes from eating meat. This food is light but it doesn’t mean it won’t fill you up or leave you feeling unsatisfied.
The restaurant offers yoga classes in the mornings and evenings in the back room, which is where we ate out lunch. At this point it would be very easy to make some jokes about hippies and people in sandals and hemp and whatever. But I won’t, because it was all done in the best possible way. The chef/owner graciously posed for a photo after our lunch. They serve alcohol (wine and beer). The price was reasonable at 30000 Korean won for two people.
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