Meatless Monday. Vegan. Vegetarian. These are just some of the buzzwords trending in health and wellness nowadays and finding a vegetarian restaurant in a town is not an easy task sometimes. One had to find the right keywords to search for in the local language and figure out how to get there. But in Cheonan? Sure, why not? It’s not that easy but it is possible. We found two vegetarian buffet restaurants in Cheonan just for you.
There isn’t a lot in Cheonan but they do exist. There were two vegetarian restaurants that came up after the search for 채식뷔페: Sandeul (산들) / Mountains and Ddeul Ahn Chae Vegetarian Buffet (뜰안채채식뷔페). The first one had a little information in English but the other one doesn’t have much so we will cover that one in this post. These vegetarian restaurants are usually buffet restaurants and have a specific serving time. One cannot just show up anytime but with a little research and careful planning, it can be worth the visit.
So are you up for a challenge? You don’t have to be a vegan or vegetarian to fully appreciate the food. You just have to be adventurous and — hungry.
1. Ddeul Ahn Chae Vegetarian Buffet / 뜰안채채식뷔페
This family-owned restaurant first opened in Suwon and has branches in Yongin, Seongnam, and Cheonan. The 70-year old lady who owns and runs the branch in Cheonan told us that it was her sister who encouraged her to open a branch here a few years ago.
The first thing that one will see upon entering the door is the buffet table filled with the promise of all vegetarian dishes. It was still a few more steps from the door but if you will come as hungry as we were, you would want to just head straight to it. Please stop! Look to your left and appreciate the spacious register that exudes hotel reception-like ambiance. This is where you will most likely meet the owner who is ready to accept your cash or card before you partake the dishes that lies ahead.
On the right is where you will find the drinks’ station with cups, water dispenser, coffee, cocoa, sodas, and a couple of soju. The last two kinds of drinks are not included in the buffet price though so you might want to keep that in mind.
The dining hall itself doesn’t really feel cramped even if it’s furnished leather dining tables and chairs that can possibly accommodate 80 people. Surprisingly, there were quite many diners at that time even if it was a rainy day.
THE BUFFET SPREAD
The buffet table isn’t really that big compared to typical buffet restaurants but it has a variety of dishes that starts from two or three kinds of soup to other vegetable side dishes.
The soup choices we found that day were miyuk-guk, daenjang-guk and what is turning out to be a personal favorite for me, Deulke Tang. This is a slightly creamy soup made from ddeulke (perilla seeds) with what looks like hand-torn rice dough. It has a creamy and nutty taste with a bit rough texture because of the seeds.
There were Korean side dishes like lotus roots in deul-ke dressing, crunchy tofu, beets salad, soy-based meat substitute, radish wrap that you eat with slices of fresh bell peppers, radish sprouts and alike. You can have these as it is or eat them with rice that you can find at the end of the table. There are two big rice cookers as options, one has plain white rice on the left and the other one has black reddish rice.
The limited dessert choices come before the rice area though. Sticky rice cake and sweetened pumpkin with red beans on top that make it look like a pie were the choices that day. I don’t know about you but I like my pie with a solid bottom so this isn’t really my kind of dessert. I did try it though and it wasn’t as bad as I thought. It actually turned out to be an interesting combination and not just the usual sugar-sweet dessert.
This isn’t exactly the dessert place to be but if you’re looking for a meal with options to taste different dishes or binge on your favorite Korean vegetarian fares, then the 12,000 W price per person will not be such a bad idea.
How to get there:
From the bus terminal (right in front of Shinsegae Department Store), it would take 20 mins by taxi or 40 minutes by bus no. 600 or 650. Get off at Tongsegol bus stop (#173 통세골 정류장) and cover the rest of the way on foot for about seven minutes.
Another option is to get off the Ssangyong subway station and take a taxi from there. It would cost at least 5,000 for a 10-minute ride.
The restaurant is located just a bit further from an apartment area so you would really have to go out of the way to get there. There is an ample parking space if one opts to drive.
Here’s the address in Korean for easy navigation.
충청남도 천안시 동남구 신방남부길 79-17
Hours (currently posted one but better call in advance to double check):
Open on Thursday to Tuesday. Closed every Wednesday
Lunch service: 11:30 AM – 3 PM
Dinner service: 5:30 – 9 PM
Kids (elementary age) – 6k
Five-year-old and below – 4k
2. San Deul (산들채식뷔페)
This is the more popular one since it is near Hoseo University and other univerisities in the area. It costs slightly a bit more but the hours are almost the same.
How to get there:
It takes roughly about 20 minutes if you hop on bus nos. 24 or 81 starting across from the Shinsegae Department Store (Bus Stop No. 685) heading to Hoseo University. Get off at Shinan 25 Tong bus stop (Bus Stop #1043). Walk a little further up the hill for about 2 minutes past other restaurants that seem to fill the area around universities.
충남 천안시 동남구 각원사길 150
(+82)41- 558- 5500
Opens every day at 11:30am – 3:00pm, 6:00pm – 9:00pm
If you’re looking for a meat-free restaurant, your search keywords can be 채식 (vegetarian), 비건 (vegan), and 사찰음식 (temple food.) One can also get by with these keywords even if you are in a regular restaurant by politely asking if there is any meat in the dish. There are vegetable side dishes that go with the regular dish so you will survive even if you don’t eat meat.
Try not to leave any leftover on your plate even if it’s a buffet restaurant. It will make cleaning up easier for you as it is usually DIY way. You pick up after yourself and put the plates and utensils on a designated place. You can always get a new and clean plate after.
It’s kid-friendly. There are high chairs available for little ones so you can make it a family affair and bring the baby.