Veganism in Asia

more specifically South Korea (◠﹏◠✿) <

After traveling to South Korea for almost a month and beginning a journey to consume less meat in my daily diet, I was finding it difficult to avoid meat as part of the meals I was consuming throughout the day. For lunch, the easiest thing to find on a restaurant menu, was either pork, beef or fish. This was available in many forms, including soups, salads and sandwiches or wraps. For dinner it was far easier to find a Korean BBQ place, then any kind of vegan niche restaurant. So, I do admit to consuming a sizable amount of meat on that trip as it was by far the easiest thing available to consume and locate when my stomach began to demand.  

South Korea, as a country, seem to play victim of mass consumption of meat, as is visible in their restaurant’s choices…

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One comment

  1. Hey Matthew,
    Really interesting topic and something I have considered to an extent when I travel. How do other countries, where veganism is not as common, cater to these individuals? Do they? Is there a viable market? Through your post it seems that in South Korea, they simply don’t bother.

    You’ve made some interesting inclusions which add to the story and experience you’ve presented. Firstly, how a lot of the food South Koreans cook and consume is flavoured by meat even if it doesn’t necessarily contain actual pieces of meat. This does remind me of food in Vietnam and how dishes such as Pho are cooked with beef bones although these are not presented or consumed in the dish usually. This does make it hard for people like you who are specifically trying to avoid animal products, of course.

    Another interesting inclusion is the Buddhist diet. I have always understood this as vegetarian and had no idea that in South Korea they still consumed meat at times if they deemed it necessary for their health. This, to me who has been exposed to other (possibly stricter) Buddhists, seems so left of center and unusual. Again, it comes down to individual experience, knowledge and past exposure.

    Overall, this narrative really did show your experience and struggle finding suitable food as a vegan in South Korea. I am interested to see how your autoethnographic analysis of this narrative is. As Ellis (2011) states, telling stories enables us to better understand ourselves and others. Through your analysis I think you will be able to draw out why you perceive the Korean diet in the way you do. I definitely feel this post did portray a lot of your individual values on meat consumption and the meat industry, a value that although you may hold, you must understand that other cultures may not. Even if you cannot understand this or appreciate this difference, you must be aware that this is their norm and what they are used to.

    Ellis also recognises that our understanding stems from being part of a culture and/or by possessing a particular cultural identity. Like I have aforementioned, I think you need to pay close attention to this as all individuals have been acclimatised to certain things and this should be noted and accounted for when understanding why we react in certain ways and why others may not react in the same manner.

    Looking forward to your further analysis!


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