Vegan's Chronicles + vegan product

VMF Day 11: The Vegan Bread Patrol

This post will be all about store-bought bread in Korea. This entry has been sitting in my 'drafts' folder for months now. I was putting it off because I knew I would have to do a some research to provide accurate information. Also, I had to go around and get photos for visuals. :) BTW, I'm no investigative journalist- I'm just a simple vegan gal, trying my bestest to be a resource to my fellow veg*ans in Korea, so if I accidentally provide any incorrect information, please don't eat me.

Finding vegan bread is a bit of a challenge here. While there is a 'Paris Baguette' or a 'Tour Les Jours' bakery in almost every Korean neighborhood, none of them have vegan bread! I asked one of the bakers at Paris Baguette, and they said that everything, except the bagels and baguettes, has milk, butter, or eggs in them (and even then, I wouldn't trust their bagels or baguettes). And what bugged me even more was that she looked at me like I was crazy for even asking, and said something to the extent of "All bread has milk and butter in it- you can't make bread without!" *sigh* Ignorant baker. So yea, I pretty much avoid these franchise bakeries like the plague.

So where does one find vegan bread for their PBJ, veggie burger patty, or gourmet sandwich? You can find amazing vegan bread at certain independent, 'artisan' bakeries, but these kinds of bakeries are few and far between. I shall blog about artisan bread in the near future, but for now, I'll focus on generic bread that is more accessible to the masses, and that just happens to be vegan. I know I haven't seen or tried them all, but I have found a couple in mainstream supermarkets that are animal-free.

If you walk into any supermarket, I'm sure you will see packaged loaves of bread from the company 'Shany'. Shany is a Korean brand that produces bread, and other packaged baked goods and distributes them all over the country. You can even see their products at convenience stores, like Family Mart or GS24. Not all of their breads are vegan though, so you kind of have to scrutinize the ingredients list. I wouldn't necessarily promote their bread because they're all white and nutritionally vacant, but I'm just letting you know~ if you're desperate for bread, Shany is an option:

Shany also has burger buns that happen to be vegan. I buy these at E-Mart, and they're actually the only burger buns I've seen in any Korean supermarket-- Koreans aren't big on making their own burgers (they just go to McDonalds or Lotteria for their burger fix), so finding burger buns, vegan or not, is kind of rare. (BTW, that's also why you'll have trouble finding pre-shaped burger patties in supermarkets.)

I also found whole wheat bread called "Natural Bread" at my local HomePlus Express store. I didn't buy it, so I can't say anything about the taste or quality, but it did look soft and tasty. The brand of this bread is Samlip, which is another Korean bakery brand, very similar to Shany. Infact, they are both owned by the same corporation 'SPC Group'. Now here is where we go deeper down the rabbit hole and delve into a little bit of food politics. SPC Group is actually also affiliated with the bakery/cafe franchise Paris Croissant, which in turn owns Paris Baguette-- the exact bakery that I am trying to avoid! Argh. And to make it even worse, SPC also owns or runs the Pascucci, Baskin Robbins and Dunkin Donuts franchises in Korea (among others), all of which are very non-vegan friendly! *phew* When I started this post, I had no idea how complex and interconnected the bakery/cafe industry is in Korea. So while these companies do have a few vegan options, I just want to let you know that supporting these brands, and in turn, this mega corporation, may not be a good thing.

Anyway, moving on... .

I have also found vegan bread made by 'E-Mart'. You will find it in their packaged bread aisle, as opposed to their in-store bakery section. It's called 'whole wheat bread', but it might as well be 'white bread,' it's so white. In the past, I've bought this for making sandwiches- the size and thickness of the slices is pretty good.

So those are breads that are accidentally vegan. Now if you want to support intentionally vegan-specific companies, here are some options:

I know this is not exactly 'accessible,' but you can also find packaged vegan bread at any of the 'Loving Hut' or 'SM Ching Hai Supreme Master' restaurants/buffets around Seoul. Just make sure you get it when it's fresh, as I always seem to end up getting a slightly stale loaf! You can read my review of it here.

endorsed by the Supreme Master herself? teehee~

And last but not least, there's the Sticky Fingers bakery that has 100% organic, vegan bread. They're pretty pricey (6,000-7,000 won for a small loaf), so I don't go there much. They're also a little less accessible, since their stalls are mainly only at fancy department stores around Seoul.

Sticky Fingers' loaf

So! That's what I have so far. Ofcourse, there are others out there, I just haven't had the chance to photograph or taste them myself, so they didn't make the list. I don't even know if anyone else cares about finding vegan bread in Korea, but I just wanted to put this information out there...

I have to say, that I don't eat store-bought bread much, if at all. While these breads are decent options when you're desperate, they're just not gooooood, hearty bread that I like. And plus, now that I know that many of them are produced by a corporation that I feel is out to destroy the true art of bread-making, I'm turned off even more. But that's just my opinion.

bakery, grocery shopping, organic, sandwiches, Sticky Fingers Bakery, and more:

VMF Day 11: The Vegan Bread Patrol + vegan product