Being vegan in South Korea isn’t the easiest thing in Asia. I thought the situation was dire when I was in Japan, but I felt that it was even worst in Korea. Even though it is changing and more and more people have learned about vegetarianism, there are still many people who think that only Buddhist monks are vegetarians.
Unlike many Asian countries, who have embraced the shift towards ethical purchase decisions, Korea has fewer eateries and specialty items available. But as Seoul’s vegan and vegetarian communities have grown in recent years, so have the choices.
Upon arrival at Seoul, we were quite excited to discover that Mimi & Kelly’s Vegan Cafe is just right down the street of our hotel. Because we are starving! We quickly checked in and quickly dashed to the cafe get a late night feed.
Mimi and Kelly’s Cafe serves a very limited menu that is mostly consists of beverages, a handful of light meal option and desserts.
When we entered the cafe, we are warmly greeted by two lovely ladies, Mimi and Kelly. After being seated and receiving the menu, I decided for the Mac n Cheese and my partner got the Hot Dog and Chips.
The Mac n Cheese is phenomenal! It’s very creamy and savoury, and reminds me of the ones my partner used to make at home. My partner and I have been traveling for a month now, and boy, I miss home made food from time to time. This Mac n Cheese is the ultimate comfort food. It’s got a homely taste and authentic cheesy texture, just like the real thing. The owners, Mimi and Kelly are very proud of this dish too. They highly recommended it to us.
The Hot Dog was yum too. It’s got a little side relish which you have to drizzle on top or dip your bun into. We turned down the relish since its got onions in it, and we hate onions. The quality of the Hot Dog is like any other vegan hot dogs out there that mirrors the taste of a grilled, juicy hot dog straight from the ballpark. I’d say there is nothing so special about this but perhaps if you give their relish a try, it might just perk the quality up a bit.
We were very satisfied after that meal, but we couldn’t help ourselves to some dessert. We noticed that they had some baked cheesecakes on their shelf, we couldn’t control our urge to try some. There’s something about cheesecake. It’s a dish that combines two culinary power players (cheese and cake) into one opulent dessert that barely anyone can resist. So we got one of each flavour. One mocha cheesecake and one lemon cheesecake, please.
The mocha was so decadent! Where do I even begin describing this dessert. It’s a delicious baked cheese cake, thats nice and firm outside and fudgy centre. You will want it to last forever, but its so good that you’d devour it in just three bites.
The lemon cheesecake has that classic baked cheesecake flavour. The combination of lemon and cheese syncs perfectly together in this baked cheesecake for a creamy and slightly tangy taste. We personally think that it lacks a zesty flavour, but never the less it is still an enjoyable treat.
Aside from cheescakes, they also serve other desserts such as Soy Chocolate Soft Serve and Gluten Free Fudgy Brownie. Having devoured all that in one seating, we were quite satisfied with the overall price and value of the food we ordered. We then happily rolled ourselves back to the hotel. XD While on our way back, my partner and I were discussing the items we wanted to try next. We got ourselves excited and went back the following morning and ordered a full bunch of other food.
Another thing that intrigued me was the Coconut Cheese Toast. There are countless ways to mimic cheese in vegan recipes, but this one is particularly good. There is nothing fancy about this toast, it is simple and has that classic grilled cheese flavour. It is crispy on the outside and ooey-gooey in the inside. Heavenly goodness!
Going vegan doesn’t mean having to give up on the ultra-comfort food, going vegan means getting creative and replicating the food we once loved! I can really say that, Mimi and Kelly really excels at this area!
Mim and Kelly has a lot more to offer. On their menu, they also offer fruit yogurt parfait, pineapple lassi, chocolate soft serve and a whole lot of flavoured coffee, tea and virgin cocktails! They also have a secret menu, they will cook up any dishes that aren’t on the menu but which they have in stock! They once made us an Oreo Shake with Vegan Cream on top and Korean Rice Cake!
Mimi and Kelly’s Cafe opens from 3:00pm to 10:00 Monday, Tuesday and Thursdays, 11:00 – 10:00 pm on Fridays to Sundays and . The cafe is closed on Wednesdays. In addition to the food being amazing, another plus for Mimi and Kelly’s is the location. Just off to the side of Insadong, a populartourist spot, it’s the perfect place to rest your feet and fill your vegan belly after all your Korean souvenir shopping.
It may be hard to spot it on first glance as the cafe has no proper signage and seems to be is part of the ‘Good Morning Hanoi’ building, giving passers by the impression of a Pho noodles place. Very confusing at first, but if you walk closer you will notice a bright red board with Vegan Cafe written on it. Mimi & Kelly’s Cafe will just be on the first floor of the building.
After eating in there for a couples of times and spending afternoons seating there, I got curios about the set up of the Cafe. I observed how people are coming in the cafe and asking if this is a Pho noodles restaurant. Mimi and Kelly will quickly tell them that its on the second floor and direct them to the staircase leading up to the right location.
Having seen this for several times, I couldn’t help but wonder if Mimi and Kelly’s Cafe is affiliated to the Pho restaurant on the second floor. So on a not so busy afternoon, I caught the chance to sit down with Kelly and ask her about the space and the cafe. I quickly learned that the Cafe is not part of the Pho restaurant but the space they rent is owned by them.
The Pho restaurant is very popular and despite its spacious dinning area it gets packed quite quickly during lunch hours. Since they own the cafe space they use it during peak hours to accommodate extra customers. It is because of this reason, Mimi and Kelly only opens after 3pm and an obscure signage. Despite the disadvantages of the space, Mimi and Kelly thought the location is still fantastic and would be a great place to start their Vegan Cafe dream.
Mimi and Kelly’s Cafe was born from their passion for food and vegan cheese. Creative fun cooking is probably their specialty! They love experimentation and are not afraid to fail. They have been working to perfect their Vegan Churro, which might be available soon. To date, they are still constantly expanding their menu. Their most recent addition is the Bubble Milk Tea, which I can’t wait to try out when I go there again!
So for all the famished herbivores out there, Mimi and Kelly’s Cafe is definitely something you have to try out!
Address: 188-4, Insa-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea