SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA, January 20, 2021 – The Seoul Metropolitan Government released the list of 948 vegetarian restaurants on the city’s website as part of its efforts to guarantee citizens’ right to choose food items both for vegetarians and those interested in healthy foods. The unveiled restaurants include both vegetarian restaurants and restaurants with vegetarian menus.
Based on the types of vegetarians defined by the International Vegetarian Union (IVU), the city government had examined vegetarian restaurants and restaurants with vegetarian menus throughout the city if they use any animal products, eggs, or dairy products for the dishes they serve.
According to the IVU, vegetarians can be classified as “Vegans” that eat foods excluding any use of any animal products for any purpose; “Lacto-Vegetarians” who eat plant foods and milk products; “Ovo-Vegetarians” that eat plant foods and eggs; “Ovo-Lacto Vegetarians” who eat plant foods plus eggs and also milk products; and “Pesco-Vegetarians” who avoid meat but eat fish, seafood, eggs, and dairy foods.
Out of a total of 1,555 qualified restaurants, 948 restaurants that agreed to provide their information were finally listed up to open it to the public. Such an examination, the first of its kind, was conducted from July to December 2020 as part of the city’s scheme to create an environment for citizens to enjoy vegetarian foods.
In addition to posting the list on the website, the Seoul Metropolitan Government published the Seoul vegetarian restaurant guidebook and distributed it to each autonomous district’s community health centers so that many citizens can get the information. Besides, it designed and printed stickers for vegetarian restaurants to put them on their restaurants’ entrance.
948 restaurants listed up this time are almost located in downtown areas. The Gangnam-gu district has the largest number of it with 110 restaurants (11.6%), followed by Jongno-gu with 70 (7.4%), Songpa-gu with 68 (7.2%), Mapo-gu with 57 (6%), Yongsan-gu with 54 (5.7%), Seocho-gu with 52 (5.5%), and Jong-gu with 47 (5%).
By the restaurant type, 418 (44.1%) are restaurants serving western dishes, 322 (34%) serving Korean foods, 69 (7.3%) are cafes, 38 (4%) selling Indian or Middle East menus (4.0 percent), and 32 (3.4%) are bakeries. By vegetarian type, the largest number of restaurants (3,014, 64.3%) are serving vegan menus, followed by Lacto-vegetarian menus (565, 12%), Pesco-vegetarian menus (464, 9.9%), and Ovo-vegetarian menus (188, 4%).
Park Yu-mi, General-Director of Citizens’ Health at the Seoul Metropolitan Government, said, “As the COVID-19 pandemic has been prolonged, there is an increasing interest in healthy food among citizens. Seoul will continue its effort to publicize the vegetarian restaurant information through online communities and platforms.” “Furthermore, we will continue to create an environment where citizens can access various foods and make Seoul a city where anyone can enjoy vegetarian foods to prevent chronic diseases and enhance health.”