Alcohol and food

Black beer served with cinnamon on the rim alongside cheese pizza inside a Western-style pub.

In Korea, drinking plays an important social role.๐Ÿป When meeting people in the evening, people often enjoy their food alongside alcoholic drinks. Koreans are respectful if you do not drink alcohol – but it will definitely influence the scope of your social activities. (Actually, people will initially expect you to not be fond of drinking at all, since you follow a vegan or vegetarian diet.)

In terms with this, anju (์•ˆ์ฃผ) are a characteristic trait of Korean culture. This is a category of foods which are specifically made to accompany alcohol. They range from simple peanuts and fried potatoes to more complex dishes such as savory pancakes, raw fish or all kinds of meat barbecues.

There are also classical combinations of specific types of drinks with certain dishes. For example:

  • you will find ๐ŸดWestern-style foods such as ๐Ÿ—fried chicken, ๐ŸŸfrench fries, ๐Ÿ•pizza or sausages on the menu of bars that serve ๐Ÿบbeer (maekju ๋งฅ์ฃผ).
  • Grilled ๐Ÿฅฉmeat or ๐ŸŸfish are often paired with Korean ๐Ÿถsoju (์†Œ์ฃผ).
  • ๐ŸฅขTraditional food served with ๐Ÿฅ›Korean rice wine (makgeolli ๋ง‰๊ฑธ๋ฆฌ) are savory pancakes, of which many variations (vegan, vegetarian, pescetarian, you name it!) exist. Especially on a rainy day, Koreans express a craving for these pancakes.

What can you eat when going out? Be aware that not every bar or Korean pub (suljip ์ˆ ์ง‘) offers a dish that is vegan, vegetarian, halal or kosher. There are a number of options, however, depending on the kind of location you go to. Here are some ideas:

Cheese platter in a Western-style pub
  • ๐Ÿบ Western style pubs aka Hof (ํ˜ธํ”„): ๐Ÿฅœpeanuts (๋•…์ฝฉ), ๐Ÿฅจsalted pretzels, ๐ŸฟKorean popcorn or other puffed grains (ppeongtwigi ๋ปฅํŠ€๊ธฐ), ๐ŸŸfried potatoes (gamja twigim ๊ฐ์žํŠ€๊น€), ๐Ÿฅ—salad (์ƒ๋Ÿฌ๋“œ), ๐Ÿ•pizza (ํ”ผ์ž), ๐Ÿง€cheese (์น˜์ฆˆ)
  • ๐Ÿถ Barbecues for beef or pork: ๐Ÿฅšegg stew (gyeran jjim ๊ณ„๋ž€์ฐœ), ๐Ÿณrolled omelette (gyeran mari ๊ณ„๋ž€๋ง์ด; sometimes with ๐Ÿฅ“ham or sausage), ๐Ÿœ mixed buckwheat noodles (bibim naengmyeon ๋น„๋น”๋ƒ‰๋ฉด; often served with ๐Ÿฅšegg and ๐Ÿ„beef broth; noodles may contain ๐Ÿš sea shell powder)
  • ๐Ÿฅ› Korean pubs with traditional food: ๐Ÿฅ”potato pancake (gamja jeon ๊ฐ์ž์ „), acorn jelly salad (dotori muk muchim ๋„ํ† ๋ฆฌ๋ฌต ๋ฌด์นจ), leek ๐Ÿฅžpancake (pa jeon ํŒŒ์ „), garlic chive ๐Ÿฅžpancake (buchu jeon ๋ถ€์ถ”์ „), mung bean ๐Ÿฅžpancake (bindaeddeok ๋นˆ๋Œ€๋–ก / nokdujeon ๋…น๋‘์ „ ็ปฟ่ฑ†็…Ž), tofu with kimchi (dubu kimchi ๋‘๋ถ€๊น€์น˜ – kimchi normally contains ๐ŸŸfish sauce)
Outdoor food stall with various savory pancakes (buchimgae ๋ถ€์นจ๊ฐœ / jeon ์ „).

Be aware that recipes vary by family and each place will have their own version of the respective dish. You might want to confirm prior to ordering, whether any ๐Ÿฅฉmeat, ๐ŸŸfish or ๐Ÿšseafood goes into your serving.

Additionally, especially in the case of eating from an outdoor food stall, dishes may be prepared on the same grill. Just thought I’d mention this in case of allergies or personal preferences. After all, it is up to you to decide whether you eat under these conditions or not. Anyways, hope you enjoy your night out! Cheers! ๐Ÿพ๐Ÿ˜Š

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