One cafe that has long been on my list of places to check out is Cook and Book which is tucked away in one of the residential streets of Hongdae. It’s actually run by the lady I took a few baking classes from several years ago. When I took her classes, she was super kind and accommodating to my vegan needs, and I’ve been wanting to visit her and support her cafe. I also bought her baking book and plan on buying her new cookbook that just came out the other week. She is not vegan herself and her cafe does not claim to be specifically vegan, but it has plenty of vegan choices on the menu (or almost vegan, as I later learned…).
The first time I went, I ordered the soy maple yogurt after the server confirmed that it was “vegan” (sorry, no photo). It was impressively delicious and tasted exactly like regular yogurt with that tangy, slightly sour taste. However, I later learned that it’s made using Yogourmet kefir starter which contains dairy milk powder. :(
Also, while she does not use dairy milk, eggs, or butter in her baked goods, drinks, and puddings, vegans should know that she uses Samyook soy milk, which is a brand that contains vitamin D3. So technically, it’s not vegan…. If you let her know that you are strict vegan, she will use Yonsei organic soy milk in your drink, but everything else is currently made with Samyook soy milk.
I don’t want to sound like the Vegan Police because I really hate legalism and I don’t want to criticize omnis who have good intentions and try to accommodate us vegans, but I’m just letting you guys know, so you can make your own informed decision…. I still love the cafe. The fact that she uses whole, natural ingredients with very minimal amounts of animal products in her baking and food is pretty rad. Infact, there’s a good chance that she will switch to a vegan brand of soy milk for everything in the future, in which case, Cook and Book will probably become my new fave cafe in Seoul. :)
On one of my visits, I got the berry jelly which is made with agar. Since there’s no gelatine in it, the texture is different from traditional jello in that it doesn’t exactly ‘jiggle,’ but rather melts in the mouth.
In addition to loads of soy smoothies and delicious-sounding milkshakes (just ask for vegan soy milk), there are also two veggie sandwich options for those who are hungry for a meal (around 8,000 won). I’m definitely gonna try them on my next trip to Hongdae.
Directions to Cook and Book Cafe:
Hongdae Station, Line 2, Exit 8. About a 7 minute-walk from the station.
It’s a bit complicated to give proper directions, so please refer to this Naver map.
There is also a map on this bottom of this blog post.
English spoken, free wifi available (with password).