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8 easy ways to go organic in Seoul
Change your pet's menu. Eat ice cream. Going au natural doesn't have to be a chore thanks to these city shops and restaurants
Converting to an organic way of life in Seoul isn't as challenging as it once was. These days, it's as simple as making a few tweaks to some of the things you're already doing on a daily basis.
Here are eight easy ways to give your organic street cred a boost.
1. Get your pet in on the act
There's no shortage of 24-hour animal hospitals in Seoul's Nonhyeon neighborhood. But the kind staff at spacious and eco-conscious Grace Animal Hospital make things a little easier when it comes to choosing where to take your furry friend for all its basic necessities.
Organic food brands such as ANF and Natural Balance are sold here, as well as the adorably packaged Wagatha’s dog biscuits. Grace also offers all the typical animal hospital services including grooming, vaccinations and medical checkups.
Consider putting Snowball up for a night or two in their pet hotel while off on holiday. Dogs run ₩15,000/night while cats are ₩20,000/night.
122-20 Nonhyeon-dong, Gangnam-gu (서울시 강남구 논현동 122-20); +82 2 3442 5554; www.grace-ah.co.kr
2. Change your shampoo
If Sephora had an eco-conscious long lost baby sister in Korea its name would be Ontree. Stocked with nothing but organic brands -- mostly from Europe -- this cosmetics chain has shops all over the peninsula.
You can find products for men, women and babies including shampoo, anti-aging solutions and baby lotion.
159-7 Hyundai Dept Store B1, Samsung-dong, Gangnam-gu (강남구 삼성동 159-7 현대백화점 B1.); +82 2 3467 8880
30-33 Hyundai Dept Store B2, Cheongjeon-dong, Seodaemun-gu (서대문구 청전동 30-33 현대백화점 B2); +82 2 3145 2260
620-69 Lotte Plaza Jeonnong-dong, Dongdaemun-dong (동대문구 전농동 620-69 번지 롯데철량리 플라자); +822 3707 1004
3. Go carb crazy
There are very few restaurants in Seoul where carnivores and vegans can eat in harmony. Veggie Holic is one of them.
A self-proclaimed “vegetable and organic brunch café” located in the art and design school district of Hongdae, this is the perfect place to load up on carb filled favorites.
Brownies, cookies and muffins are there to tempt sweet tooths (₩2,000-₩6,000), but not all of them are vegan so be sure to double check with the staff for each item.
They also have a dairy-free ice cream that could fool anyone into thinking otherwise, as well as tea and coffee.
Open daily, 10 a.m.-10 p.m. 204-59 Donggyo-dong, Mapo-gu (마포구 동교동 204-59); +82 70 4114 0458; www.veggieholic.co.kr
4. Get a caffeine fix
The interior of Seoul café Episode #3 is just too darn cute. There are little cubby seating areas reminiscent of childhood bunk beds and a cave-like room in the back that makes this the perfect place to sip coffee over a little business talk.
Their coffee is not only organic but the coveted hand-drip style, made with beans from all over the world.
Other organic offerings include 12 cold/hot variations of Rishi teas and espresso drinks. Waffles, toast and beer are also sold at Episode #3, but are not organic.
813-9 Yeoksam-dong, Gangnam-gu (강남구 역삼동 813-9); +82 2 553 9545; Open daily, 10:30 a.m.-11:30 p.m.
5. Eat a buffet dinner
Buffets have been gaining popularity in Seoul for a while so it was only a matter of time before an organic Korean food buffet popped up on the scene.
Enter Chung Mirae, where lunch is ₩15,000, dinner ₩20,000 and ₩10,000 won for kids. There are over 70 items on the buffet, including hot dishes, sides, pickled vegetables, soups and of course rice.
22-1 Lake Tower B1, Samjeon-dong, Songpa-gu (송파구 삼전동 22-1 레이크타워 지하1층); +82 2 422 0567; Lunch: 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Dinner: 5:30-9 p.m; www.chungmirae.net
6. Get your groceries delieved
Heuk Salim started its environmentally friendly agriculture practice 20 years ago and these days is bringing its organic groceries directly to households all around the country.
Offering a welcomed counterpart to the more (in)famous jelly of the month clubs found in Western countries, Heuk Salim will carefully deliver a box of assorted organic and seasonal goodies on a weekly (₩100,000/month), bi-monthly (₩50,000/month) or monthly (₩30,000/month) basis.
Expect to get some leafy things, fruit, eggs, a dairy product and a snack-like item ( i.e. wafer cookies, cereal, etc).
+82 43 212 0935; heuk.or.kr
7. Hit the spa
Park Club Organic Spa, located in the 5-star Park Hyatt Seoul, is a far shout from your neighborhood jjimjilbang. What it lacks in bra and panty clad ajummas armed to scrub the hell out of your skin it more than makes up for in eco-friendliness and class.
The Park Club Spa uses the organic Italian brand Comfort Zone for its treatments. Try 70 minutes of a full body massage, facial or body scrub for ₩180,000 each, or shell out ₩290,000 and get a two full hours of all three.
995-14 Daechi-dong, Gangnam-gu (강남구 대치동 995-14); +82 2 2016 1234; Spa open day, 10 a.m.-10 p.m.; www.seoul.park.hyatt.com/hyatt/pure/spas
8. Change your sheets
Le Style, suitably located in Seoraemaul, the French village of Seoul, is a furniture and home store that stocks a selection of 100 percent organic cotton bedding sets.
Cotton production accounts for a huge percent of pesticide usage in the United States, one of the world's top producers, so making this small change can actually make a big difference.
73-1 Samdeol Building 1F Seoraemaul, Banpo 4-dong, Seocho-gu (서초구 반포4동 서래마을 73-1 삼덜빌딩 1층); +82 2 796 1220; www.lestyle.co.kr