I have followed vegetarian and vegan lifestyles in the past in an attempt to be more proactive in my sustainable endeavours, however, what can I say…..I love meat, seafood, eggs and chocolate too much for it to be a life long commitment. Consider the theory surrounding great white sharks, once they get a taste for human flesh, they continue to seek it out. Perhaps this extends to humans as well, I think it is easier to live a vegetarian/vegan lifestyle if one has not eaten meat, or whose parents are also vegetarians.
Contrary to the outside perception of the Korean diet, it is not all meat bbq. Sure it is enjoyed regularly, perhaps once a week, but even then, the quantities are far less than what it looks like (it’s all the tiny bowls of vegetable side dishes collectively called ‘banchan’ that make it look like super sized), a typical serving of meat is around 100 – 150g, and a minimum of two servings must be bought by a minimum of two people (due to again, all the preparation involved in preparing banchan).
Hence, why one-person-me usually only eats bbq meat once a week if I can coerce my friends into it…and why most Koreans are desperate to be in a couple. They just wanna eat some friggen bbq meat yo!
But, I find myself eating a shit tonne less meat here than in Australia, mainly due to the unavailability of lamb, my go-to-number-one meat. I find I prepare and eat really simple things if I am eating at home, salads, eggs, soups, vegetables. Eating out here is much cheaper than Australia, and generally, more nutritious, but this is a whole other post.
So, I’m not advocating one lifestyle choice over the other, however, I do not condone the inhumane treatment of animals and always make a conscious decision to purchase organic meat that has come from animals treated ethically and wild, locally caught seafood.
Organic groceries are becoming more affordable and readily available in Korea, see my previous post here as are organic vegetarian restaurants. Finding a restaurant that serves organic, humane meat is more of a challenge unless you are willing to drop a serious amount of coin – akin to that of your first born’s university fund.
Byeokjae Galbi (벽재갈비) – High quality, high cost Korean beef BBQ. The restaurant owns and maintains the hanwoo (korean cow) farm in Gyeonggi. Ph. +82 2 2058 3535
Goraebul (고래불) – Seafood restaurant. Receives their seafood fresh everyday from fishermen on the east coast of Korea. Ph. +82 2 556 3677
Gae Hwa Oak (개화옥) – Traditional korean restaurant with black Jeju pork and barley fed beef from a local farm in Jeollanamdo. Ph. +82 2 549 1459
Slobbie (까페 슬로비) – Slow Food, casual dining, great prices, great atmosphere. Traditional Korean food, ingredients sourced from local farmers. Ph. +82 2 3143 5525
Cafe des Verts – Organic tea and coffee, sandwiches, yogurts. Casual atmosphere.
*I’d really like to hear of some more, this is a lazy, half assed collection.
It takes 50,000 litres of water to produce 1 kilogram of beef.
It takes 1,000 litres of water to produce 1 kilogram of grain.
Most of the grains grown in the world is given to cattle.
These grains could be going to third world countries to help prevent starvation.
“The irony of the food production system is that millions of wealthy consumers in developed countries are dying from diseases of affluence – heart attacks, strokes, diabetes and cancer, brought on by gorging on fatty grain-fed beef and other meats while the poor in the third world are dying of diseases of poverty by being denied access to land to grow food grain for their families”