Vegan's Chronicles + [travel]

Busan trip

This past weekend, I went to Busan for my grandmother's 80th birthday hoopla. Both sides of my family are originally from Busan, and I was also born there. I don't go often, but when I do, it's always entertaining to see all the relatives get together and jabber on with their crazy sa-tu-ri (a southern Korean dialect/accent).

Since Busan is a port city, everyone there is really serious about their seafood, and my relatives are no exception. I also used to enjoy eating fish, and whenever I visited Busan, my aunt would prepare this specific kind of fish that she knew I liked. But since this was my first visit to my relatives' place as an 'Out-Of-The-Closet-Vegan,' I wasn't sure what to expect. In the end, I shouldn't have worried though, because all of my relatives were super cool about it.

As soon as my parents and I arrived in Busan, my aunt took us to a Japanese-style restaurant where I could order Japanese soba noodles, which are vegan! :) .

And then for dinner, since everyone else was going to be eating raw fish, my aunt made a bunch of vegan side dishes for me.

The next day, we went out to the market to shop and ended up having street food for lunch. I had some seriously good 전 (Korean-style pancakes?), and ddukboggi (rice cakes drowning in hot pepper sauce). Someone else ate the fishcakes on the top there.

And finally, for my grandma's birthday dinner, we went to a buffet. Even though only about 1/4 of the entire menu was animal-free (or at least what I think/hope was), they had a pretty big selection, so there was still a lot I could eat. I am definitely no starving vegan!

I also tried a new food called "마" that was made into a type of pudding. After a ton of searching online, my dad finally found the English name: Dioscorea batatas. I guess it's basically a type of Asian yam. The pudding looked pretty, but it tasted gross. The texture was really slimy. I can't even remember the taste properly to describe it... I just know I took a tiny lick and then needing to chase it with some pumpkin soup. I generally like yam, so next time, I'll try it in a non-pudding format.

So that was the food scene during my Busan trip. In some ways, I think living as a vegan in Busan would be harder than in Seoul. There's seafood in practically everything, and there are just fewer specifically vegan restaurants and buffets, like Seoul. But I guess there's a learning curve anywhere you go, and it just takes a little adjusting.

Oh, and on Saturday morning, I woke my parents up at 4:30AM to go see the sunrise on the beach (my aunt's family lives about a 10-minute walk from Songdo beach). Too bad there were too many clouds on the horizon to even see the sun! No matter, we still had a good stroll and it was refreshing to wake up that early and breathe in some ocean air.

All in all, I had an awesome time and I look forward to my next visit. And a shoutout to my grandmama: Saranghaeyo, and Happy 80th!

And here's a photo of my aunt's awesome rooftop vegetable garden: