Thursday, July 23, 2009

Vegging Out in Seoul: SM restaurant by Courtney Crook

SM restaurant in Yangjae is like a vegan/vegetarian oasis in Seoul. The atmosphere is surprisingly calm and pleasant. The outside is offset by an outside sitting area and patio that is adorned with various plants and flowers. The part-time staff is friendly and welcoming.The lunch service costs 13,000 won. Lunch runs from 12-2:30 and dinner is from 6-9.

Both services are usually quite lively. Local monks are usually regulars customers there as well, no doubt drawn by the incredible all-you-can-eat buffet. The buffet features a variety of faux meat dishes such as the smoky vegetarian bulgogi and spicy mixed mushrooms with vegetarian "ham". The best pretender of all is definitely the meatless tangsuyuk- fried vegetarian pork with a sweet and sour glaze.

Also on the buffet were delicious tofu and vegetable side dishes. The large buffet incorporates a small salad bar with an assortment of lettuces, nuts, bread and fruit complimented by the restaurant's delicious homemade jam.

Many customers are drawn to this restaurant not only because of the excellent healthy food, but also because of the small corner shop setup by the register. Here, you can purchase most of the faux meats that were featured in the buffet dishes. You can also buy frozen bags of vegetarian bulgogi and tofu chicken nuggets! Just next to the exit is also a small rack set up of vegan baked goods such as banana and pumkin muffins, as well as an assortment of whole grain breads.

How to get there: From exit 5 of Yangjae station take bus 4430 and get off after two stops. You should see a Starbucks when you get off. Keep walking straight and it's just ahead on the left.