Is Buldak Vegan?

By Olivia

Buldak, a popular Korean dish known for its spicy flavor, has gained attention among vegans. But is buldak vegan?

Ingredients Used in Buldak

Understanding the ingredients used in buldak is essential to determine if it aligns with a vegan diet. Here are the common components found in buldak:

  • Chicken: Traditional buldak recipes typically use chicken as a primary ingredient. Therefore, traditional buldak is not vegan.
  • Vegetable Oil: Vegetable oil is commonly used for cooking buldak. It is vegan-friendly.
  • Soy Sauce: Some variations of buldak contain soy sauce, which is usually made from fermented soybeans and wheat. While soy sauce itself is vegan, individuals following a gluten-free diet should be cautious of potential gluten content.
  • Gochujang: Gochujang, a Korean chili paste, often adds the distinctive spicy flavor to buldak. Most gochujang brands contain fermented soybeans, making it unsuitable for those following a soy-free diet.
  • Sugar: Sugar is a common ingredient in buldak marinades. It is vegan-friendly unless processed with bone char, which is typically used in refining some sugars.
  • Ginger, Garlic, and Spices: These flavor-enhancing ingredients are vegan-friendly and commonly used in buldak recipes.

While traditional buldak includes non-vegan ingredients like chicken, variations of the dish have emerged to cater to different dietary preferences, including vegan options.

Vegan Buldak Alternatives

If you follow a vegan diet or wish to enjoy a cruelty-free version of buldak, consider the following alternatives:

  1. Plant-Based Chicken Substitutes: Substitute chicken in traditional buldak recipes with plant-based chicken substitutes made from soy, wheat, or pea protein.
  2. Vegetable-Based Buldak: Create a vegetable-centric version of buldak by using a variety of vegetables like mushrooms, zucchini, carrots, and bell peppers as the main ingredients.
  3. Tofu Buldak: Replace chicken with tofu to make a vegan-friendly tofu buldak. Tofu readily absorbs flavors and provides a protein-rich alternative.

Experiment with these alternatives to enjoy a vegan-friendly version of buldak without compromising on taste or texture.

Is Store-Bought Buldak Vegan?

When purchasing pre-packaged or restaurant-made buldak, it’s crucial to examine the product’s ingredients or inquire about the specific recipe. Commercially available buldak sauces and marinades may use different ingredients, some of which are not vegan.

Here’s an example table showing the potential vegan status of popular store-bought buldak sauces:

Brand AChicken, Sugar, Soy Sauce, Vegetable OilNo
Brand BMushroom, Soy Protein, Soy Sauce, Vegetable OilYes
Brand CWheat Gluten, Sugar, Gochujang, Sesame OilYes

Always read the label or consult the manufacturer to determine if store-bought buldak options are vegan.

Tips for Making Vegan Buldak at Home

If you enjoy cooking, preparing your own vegan buldak at home allows full control over the ingredients. Here are some tips:

  • Use plant-based chicken substitutes or tofu as the protein source.
  • Opt for vegan-friendly sauces, such as soy sauce and gochujang, that exclude animal-derived ingredients.
  • Experiment with various vegetables and spices to enhance the flavor profile.
  • Consider marinating the plant-based protein in a homemade vegan buldak sauce to infuse it with authentic flavors.

By cooking buldak at home, you can personalize the dish to suit your taste preferences and ensure it aligns with your vegan lifestyle.


In summary, traditional buldak is not vegan due to its use of chicken as the main ingredient. However, vegan alternatives have emerged, utilizing plant-based proteins or vegetable-centric variations. When purchasing store-bought buldak or its sauces, it is crucial to check the ingredients for their vegan status. Making your own vegan buldak at home also provides an opportunity for creativity and customization. By adapting the recipe and ingredients, vegans can savor the spicy and flavorful experience of buldak while staying true to their dietary choices.