Korean food is surging in popularity in the US right now, and it’s not surprising. The cuisine offers a diverse range of flavors—spicy, tangy, savory, and sweet—and its dishes have a unique flavor profile that is otherwise hard to find in the country. Take bulgogi, for example, which is a favorite across the US thanks to its charred aroma and combination of savory, sweet, nutty, and umami flavors. And kimchi, which gets its distinct flavor from lacto-fermentation. Neither are usually vegan, but both can easily be created with plant-based ingredients. And it’s the same for bibimbap, a vibrant, satisfying dish that has quickly become a popular order for many US consumers. If this nutritious rice bowl is your go-to, here we’ve listed a few of the best restaurants in the country (in no particular order!) to find vegan bibimbap.

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What is bibimbap?

Bibimbap translates to “mixed rice” in English, and that’s because it consists of a bowl of warm rice that is usually topped with an assortment of sautéed and seasoned vegetables, as well as meat (often beef), a fried egg, and gochujang (a fermented Korean chili pepper paste). To get the best out of their bibimbap, most people mix all the ingredients together thoroughly, which helps to distribute the flavors evenly throughout the dish.

Can bibimbap be made vegan?

While traditional versions of bibimbap often contain animal meat and eggs, it’s easy to make the dish without these ingredients. Instead, you can omit the egg completely (or swap in a vegan egg!) and use tofu, jackfruit, or vegan meat for the protein (depending on your preference). But you can also make the dish with just your favorite vegetables.

In this recipe on Okonomi Kitchen, for example, recipe developer Lisa Kitahara makes an ultra-flavorful, ultra-satisfying bibimbap with ingredients like cucumber, daikon, zucchini, soybean sprouts, spinach, and shiitake mushrooms. But the real secret to making bibimbap delicious is the sauce, says Kitahara, who has come up with her own signature recipe.

“I think what differentiates a good bibimbap vs. a really delicious bibimbap is all in the sauce,” Kitahara writes. “After many bowls of bibimbap, I’ve perfected this sauce, and holy moly you guys, I am so excited for you to try it! It’s so flavourful, perfectly spicy balanced with a touch of sweetness from the apple.” Find her recipe here

Where to find vegan bibimbap: 8 restaurants to check out

In 2011, there were less than 10,000 Korean restaurants in the US, but by 2020, that number had soared to around 40,000, research suggests. This means that when it comes to flavor-packed Korean cuisine, the choices just keep getting better and better. And it’s the same for vegan Korean cuisine, too. Find just a handful of our go-to vegan-friendly Korean spots for delicious bibimbap below.


1 HanGawi

New York City

HanGawi is a must-visit if you’re in New York City and you’re craving Korean food. It has not one, not two, but seven types of vegan bibimbap on the menu. If you’re craving something nourishing and green, check out the Avocado Stone Bowl Rice, which comes with avocado and mountain greens. But when you’re in a meaty mood, you can’t beat the Plant-Based Korean ‘Bulgogi’ Stone Bowl Rice.
Find it here

VegNews.kimchistonebowl.franchiavegancafeFranchia Vegan Cafe

2 Franchia Vegan Cafe

New York City

Another New York City favorite for vegan Asian food has to be Franchia Vegan Cafe on Park Avenue. As well as Thai favorites like tom yum noodles and pad Thai, and Japanese classics like sushi and ramen, the restaurant offers many delicious Korean-inspired dishes. There’s Sizzling Bulgogi made with marinated shiitake mushrooms, plenty of kimchi, and a whole range of bibimbap to choose from. Fancy a fusion dish? Go for the Crunchy Tempeh topping or the Vegetarian Duck.
Find it here


3 Seoulmates

Los Angeles, CA

Seoulmates has three locations across Los Angeles: one food truck, one restaurant in Santa Monica, and another on 3rd Street, and all of them serve outstanding Korean street food. It’s not all meat-free, but the Vegan Bibimbap with bulgogi jackfruit, carrots, zucchini, shiitake mushrooms, and spicy bibim sauce is a must-try. Other vegan menu choices include the Korean BBQ Glazed Shroom Hoagie, Bulgogi Jackfruit Tacos, and Veggie Dumplings.
Find it here

VegNews.seoulfoodbibimbapSeoul Food DC

4 Seoul Food

Takoma Park, MD

Seoul Food started out as a food truck, but the food was in such high demand that a brick-and-mortar restaurant opened in Maryland’s Takoma Park in 2013. More than 10 years later, it’s still serving up top-notch Korean cuisine. The eatery’s bibimbap can be made with any protein of your choice, including bulgogi tofu beef, braised shiitake, and vegan croquettes.
Find it here


5 Gokoku

Los Angeles, CA

Gokoku is a go-to spot for Japanese favorites like sushi and ramen, and both are delicious, of course. But the Korean-inspired menu items are also not to be missed. Check out the vegan bibimbap, which is made with a spicy, sweet gochujang sauce, tofu, and plenty of nourishing vegetables.
Find it here


6 Amitabul

Chicago, IL

At Chicago’s popular vegan spot Amitabul, you’ll find bibimbap characterized as bi bim bop, but it’s the same basic dish. The eatery offers five different delicious versions, including one with spicy kimchi, one with mushrooms, and one with “heavenly” tofu. Rice bowls aside, you can also expect to find flavor-packed specials on the menu, including the Grilled Tofu Curry Stir, which is a tasty fusion of Korean and Tibetan flavors.
Find it here

VegNews.bibimbap.blossominglotusBlossoming Lotus

7 Blossoming Lotus

Portland, OR

Portland is one of the best places in the US for plant-based food, so it makes sense that if you’re in the mood for delicious vegan bibimbap, it won’t be hard to find. Head to Blossoming Lotus for a flavorful, vibrant bowl filled with ingredients like marinated mushrooms, BBQ soy curls, broccoli, and chili sauce.
Find it here

VegNews.bibimbap.omabapOma Bap

8 Oma Bap

Seattle, WA

For fast, fresh, flavor-packed Korean food, check out Seattle’s Oma Bap, a fast-casual spot in the heart of the city. It’s not a totally vegan menu, but the dishes can be customized to your preference. When you order your bibimbap, choose tofu as your protein, and make sure to ask for no egg.
Find it here

For more on vegan-friendly restaurants, read:
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