Vegan Korean BBQ

I know. “Vegan Korean BBQ” sounds like an oxymoron.  We live close to the largest Koreatown in the country, but can’t take proper advantage, since very few restaurants offer vegetarian options. I usually wait til Abe goes out of town to get my bulgogi on with other carnivores, but last night we finally got to dine together!

The restaurant, Shin BBQ, isn’t far from K-town, in Hollywood on Wilcox and Selma. There’s valet, but we were able to find street parking pretty easily at 7:30 on a Saturday night.


I had looked over the menu online, and knew exactly what to get – the Seitan Bulgogi and Vegetable Plate. I ordered right away from our very friendly and knowledgeable waiter.  So basically, from the time we sat down to the time we left, dinner took less than 40 minutes! They started bringing out food STAT.

A giant salad.  Beautiful veggies, perfectly dressed in a yummy vinaigrette!



And other banchan – broccoli, daikon, bean sprouts, and kimchi.


Everything was vegetarian, except for these potatoes, which the waiter brought out especially for me 🙂


So yes, to make it clear, Shin is NOT vegetarian. There are just a lot of veggie-friendly options, and when you order those, there is no need for the BBQ grate on all the tables. Our main course was prepared separately, in the kitchen, to prevent cross contamination.


I was kinda bummed we wouldn’t be doing our own grilling. But as Abe pointed out, “Why would we want to go out to eat and pay to do everything ourselves?”  True.  And this way, we wouldn’t have to wait for our food to finish cooking.  Especially since it literally took 5 minutes for this sizzling platter to appear on the table.


Followed by this gorgeous thing.


The veggie assortment is impressive! Sweet potato, pumpkin, eggplant, shrooms – even lotus root!


They go perfectly with these complimentary dipping sauces.


By the way, ALL the side dishes (salad included), and this rice, are free!


Which means this delicious + massive feast (with a Groupon for 1/2 off) cost us each less than $15/person (that’s including tax, tip + Abe’s beer).


They’ll even refill your banchan if you want! Wasn’t necessary though – we were already stuffed to the gills.


We ate every single thing! Every banchan, every onion…


…every kernel of rice!


All I had to do was sit back in my cozy booth, take in the gorgeous decor, and digest!


Needless to say, we are in love and we will be back.


32 thoughts on “Vegan Korean BBQ

  1. Tina

    This place looks awesome! I love the vegetarian Korean restuarants I’ve been to in NYC. I am always weary of eating at places that aren’t 100% vegan/vegetarian. I once went to a veg-friendly place and ordered one of the vegan options, but got sick to my stomach shortly after my meal, so I called the place back and apparantly they used oyster sauce (which I am allergic to) on their vegetarian items…making them non-vegetarian, but still kept those items marked as “vegetarian” on their menu. UGH. Its nice to know that Shin was careful about cross contaimination!

  2. lequan

    What a deal! There were some great variety on that veggie plate. Looks like you lovebirds had a great time :-D. I’m just starting to dab into trying to make some Korean dishes. Gotta start stalking Sophia’s and other Korean bloggers’ blogs for some recipes 😛 Enjoy your Sunday!

  3. Lauren

    Great deal and what a unique place! You’re right, I wouldn’t put vegan and BBQ together, but glad someone thought to. Sounds awesome!

  4. Walking E

    I kinda feel the same way as Abe about cooking the food yourself at Korean BBQ joints. Still, it’s fun to do every once in a while, and for us carnivores, the marinated meats taste amazing. You just have to be prepared – i.e. don’t wear your nice, easily-stained, hard-to-clean clothes to a Korean BBQ place.

  5. Sarena (The Non Dairy Queen)

    That looks like a fun place with amazing food! I want to go to a veg friendly place like that with the boys. I think they would enjoy doing something like that! So glad it was a great time for you two!

  6. Erika @ Health and Happiness in LA

    Very cool! The last time I had Korean BBQ it was in Beijing and definitely not vegan. Now that I’m vegan I’d like to try the seitan version!

  7. leftcoastcontessa

    MMM. Love Korean food in LA. I worked in Korea town last summer (and will again next summer) and lunch was my favorite part of the day because of all the yummy food.

    Random: you were in my nightmare last night! I had nightmare that I was being stalked by a physical therapist (note: I don’t actually have a physical therapist). Me and a bunch of other clients were trying to help each other get away from her and we went to your house to hide out. For some reason to the group it was an obvious choice. But again, weird because obviously I’ve never been to your house. You let us use your phone to call for help. I tried to call the police but the phone line had been cut and I started to hyperventilate and then I woke up. Totally bizarre and random.

  8. KeepItSweet

    Vegan Korean food sounds like a nice change of pace from the typical BBQ! I’d love to try that.

  9. Erica

    What a cool spot! Those sweet potatoes look awesome! Glad y’all enjoyed. <3 groupon. Happy Sunday

  10. edenseats

    First off….I cant tell you how much I love groupon!
    Second, yea, I read the title of your post and was like, “This must be joke, ugh korean bbq is synonymous with meat!” . I usually cringe at vegan restaurants, but this place doesn’t look half bad!

  11. rebecca lustig

    ive never had korean bbq, and as a vegetarian it makes it even harder! i should do some recipe hunting… looks great!

  12. bettermehj

    oh my.. ive never expected to see korean food in here!
    im south korean, ive been reading your blog recently
    really happy to see you enjoy korean food 😉

  13. MarathonVal

    I’m with Abe… if I’m paying for a meal, they better cook it for me! I think whatever restauranteur came up with the idea of a the Mongolian BBQ/Korean BBQ was so brilliant since people get a kick out of cooking their own food but it saves the restaurant from having to do the brunt of the work!

  14. Julie (A Case of the Runs)

    I always try to avoid Korean BBQ, because it’s hard for me (veg) to eat at those. But this I gotta see!

  15. Deb (SmoothieGirlEatsToo)

    JEALOUS! I’ve never had Korean food- can you believe that?!! I love to patronize ANY restaurant that offers Seitan just because it’s so dang cool!

  16. simplyshaka

    I heart Groupon and think I will heart Korean food as well! I don’t know why I haven’t tried it yet as I love Japanese, Thai, Vietnamese food but I decided I will be trying it soon….and properly! One of my best friends married a Korean man and I demanding he take me out for an authentic meal! A triple date of course, asking him to take me out solo may be a tad awkward for our friendship 🙂

  17. Suki

    That vegetarian platter looks fantastic. I love when there’s a good variety so what you’re eating doesn’t always resemble the salad mix one can buy at the store.

  18. emily (a nutritionist eats)

    I just made a korean dinner! (Not veg though) My little cousin in LA lovesss going to the Korean BBQ places, I need to add that to my LA list too!

  19. Nelle @ Living Cliche

    Geez, I tried to take my vegan friend here for her birthday back in November, only to discover that they weren’t open for lunch that day! 🙁 *sigh*

  20. Rubina Aggarwal

    OMG!!! Thats so cool that there’s a vegan Korean BBQ in this world. I wish they had tofu to grill or something, to make it grill something. Awesome blog!!!

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