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Gluten Free in Korea
Gluten Free Living
Welcome to my page! Please note that this blog post is the only page on my website which is in English and I´m not a nativ English speaker so consider finding grammatical mistakes. I´m German and I´m blogging about korean recipes and skincare. I have a gluten intolerance and my body only tolerate gluten when its long fermendet like in soysauce or gojuchang.
I hope I can help some of you to be safe and eat gluten free in Korea!
How to eat gluten free in Korea
In 2019, I flew to Korea without knowing anything about my gluten intolerance and tried everything they had to offer. Many days of abdominal pain remain in my memory, which prevented me from experiencing and enjoying my holiday fully.
It wasn’t until the summer of 2021 that I finally received my diagnosis and was able to fully prepare for my May 2022 vacation to Korea. It took me quite some time to find gluten-free cafes in Seoul and Busan, to look for gluten-free bread online, and to find out if there were even gluten-free Korean fried chickens (of course there are! But more on that below). In this post, I hope to provide you with some helpful information if you are planning a holiday in Korea and cannot tolerate gluten.
Gluten free cafes in Seoul
My search for gluten-free or barely gluten-free cafes in Seoul before my holiday revealed almost 19 locations.
Below are addresses and social media accounts of gluten-free cafes in Seoul. There are gluten-free cafés in nearly every district, but if you know of any others, please let me know! Some cafes don’t have an English menu and the staff can hardly speak English, so being able to read Korean is a necessity. But you should definitely know the word 글루텐프리 which means gluten-free in korean.
Most gluten-free bakeries and cafes in Korea call themselves rice bakeries or rice bread houses. Since it’s not really about baking gluten-free, but rather making cakes and bread with rice flour. As a side effect for us, gluten-free food is produced!
When I wasn’t sure whether the cafe would make gluten-free food, I either checked their social media account or messaged them. I have visited the red marked cafes on the map and researched the rest on Naver or Instagram.
Other cafes and restaurants throughout South Korea can also be found by searching for Gluten Free (글루텐프), Rice Bakery (쌀베이커리) and Rice Bread House (쌀빵집). You will find enough results by searching on Naver maps, Naver web, or Instagram. Naver is only understandable if you know some Korean, otherwise you won’t be able to understand anything.
A list of gluten free bakeries
*Click on each cafe to see the location on Naver Map*
Gluten Free cafes that I have visited myself
Zero Bakery was one of the last cafes I visited in Seoul. In contrast to other places, I was able to eat more than just cake here. I also enjoyed eating different kinds of bread and baguette with different toppings. As the café is located on a wide road, it was very easy to find from a distance. Menus are only available in Korean, so you should at least be able to read some Korean. The allergens are marked in black, such as here with wheat (밀가루) and milk (우유).
Café Sosohage is my absolute favorite so far. I had a delicious gluten-free cheesecake there! Additionally, the location is excellent, right next to Gyeongbokgung Palace in Hanok Village. As a result, the cafe is also designed in this style and looks super cozy. At the time of our visit, there was a crowd of visitors and there was only one table left. Therefore, it is best not to visit the cafe during peak hours. There are also English drinks menus here, but all cake labels are in Korean.
Everyone who is gluten intolerant will be happy here. There are so many options, and some of the cakes are lactose-free. Real bread can only be ordered with breakfast/lunch or pre-ordered. Bread is only available on request since they specialize in cakes. The Sunny Bread gluten-free cafe is a popular spot in Seoul, and it is also quite large and comfortable.
The Cafe Pepper was also on my list of favorites. Naver had a lot of positive reviews about the cafe, so I decided to visit it. The interior is decorated in a country style, and cakes and desserts can be ordered from a large cupboard for self-service. Overall, a very nice cafe with lots of gluten free cakes. However, you won’t find any bread here.
Of all the cafes I have visited in Gangnam district, this is the smallest. This is a takeout only place! The place doesn’t have any seats, but it’s still worth a visit. All the food at this café is gluten-free, dairy-free, sugar-free, and egg-free as well. So vegans and lactose intolerants are in good hands.
Minimize offers a wide selection of rice flour-based cakes. Almost all signs state „no 밀가루/wheat“. The cafe is decorated in white and black and has a very minimalistic design. I like it very much, but it gets very crowded during lunchtimee. Located in the middle of Iteawon, the cafe is easily accessible.
Gluten-free living tips in Korea
I recommend that you memorize or write down the four words 밀가루 (flour), 글루텐프리 (gluten-free), 쌀베이커리 (rice bakery), and 쌀빵집 (rice bread house) if you don’t speak Korean well.
If you are looking for real bread, I recommend Sunny Bread or Coupang. As a result of eating rice every day for two weeks, I had an incredible craving for bread and found some on Coupang. Gluten-free bread is unfortunately very expensive, but I think it’s worth it. You can find a wide variety of gluten-free bread from Coupang here.
In Coupang’s search box, you’ll also find many gluten-free products if you enter gluten-free. There is only one downside here: you need a Korean bank card to place an order. It would be best to ask a friend to order it for you.
My next trip to Korea will focus on gluten-free restaurants, but until then, here are a few tips. Are you a fan of Korean Fried Chicken like me? Then you should definitely try the chicken at 쌀통닭!! In this chain of restaurants, fried chicken is marinated only with rice flour. Also without milk! During my visit to Seoul, I ate there at least five times. Fried chicken there tastes just like regular fried chicken, but it’s a bit expensive. I paid about 16 euros for a large plate.
Gluten-free options are also available at Vegan Café Vegetus in Itaewon and California Pizza Kitchen.
Which korean dish is gluten-free?
Korean dishes almost always contain soy sauce, chili paste, or soybean paste. Sadly, most of it contains wheat. How much can you tolerate is the question here.
Soy sauce, for example, is something I can eat without any problems. As well as chili and soybean paste, I tolerate them well. In fact, you just have to try it here and start with small amounts. Chili and soybean paste can also be made with rice flour, but most restaurants use wheat flour because it is cheaper.
Safe to eat
1. Vegetarian Bibimbab (watch out for the sauce, which may contain gluten.) Bibimbab is normally served with beef, but it is marinated in soy sauce. You should therefore only order vegetarian bibimbab.
2. Korean BBQ (served with a soybean paste dipping sauce. Do not eat this if you are allergic to gluten)
3. Gimbap (order without ham as it often contains wheat)
4. Yubuchobap (tofu pockets stuffed with rice)
5. Dakjuk (Korean Chicken Porridge)
6. Hobakjuk (pumpkin soup)
Gründerin von Blogibon
Ich teile gerne meine Erfahrung mit der Koreanischen Sprache, Kultur und Kosmetik. Mein Name wird in der koreanischen Sprache als Ibon ausgesprochen, daher kommt der Name Blog-Ibon.
Ich koche leidenschaftlich koreanisches Essen seit 2017 und entschloss mich den Blog zu eröffnen als mein eigenes online Rezeptbuch. Daraus wurde aber schnell mehr und immer mehr Leser fanden meine Webseite. Heute kann ich mir nicht vorstellen, was ich mit meiner Zeit ohne den Blog anfange würde. Vielen Dank für euren netten Kommentare und Zusprüche weiter zu machen!
Nebenbei bin ich ein großer Fan von koreanischen Beauty Produkten sowie Fashion und teile meine Erfahrungsberichte von Beauty Brands wie Innisfree, Cosrx (und noch viel mehr) sowie der Webseite Yesstyle.
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