Vegan's Day + [vegetarian]

Korean Soy Milk

*Update 03/12* Many of these products are fortified with Vitamin D3, which is derived from lanolin (sheep wool), and therefore is not vegan. For totally vegan soy milk options, please refer to this link.

After 3 years in Korea, I think I can claim to know a thing or two about Korean soy milks. I won't say that I've tried ALL of them out on the market, but I will say that I have tried enough to know which ones I prefer over others, afterall, not all soy milks are created equal.

Unfortunately, Korea still has a ways to go in terms of providing a variety of different non-dairy, non-soy milk options. You won't find almond milk, rice milk, or coconut milk beverages and creamers like they do in the US. So if you're looking for something for your oatmeal or English breakfast tea, you're pretty much stuck with soy milk.

If you're used to drinking American soy milk brands, you'll probably notice that Korean ones are a bit thicker in consistency, and they taste, for lack of a better word, 'beanier'. They're generally slightly thicker because Koreans don't do the low-fat thing. It's kinda like drinking full-fat dairy milk, as opposed to 2% or skimmed. At least that's what I noticed when I first came here. It might be weird at first, but you adjust to the taste.

You'll also find that typical flavor varieties like chocolate or strawberry-flavored soy milk are not that common. Instead, you'll see lots of other equally awesome flavors such as green tea, black sesame seed, black and red bean, and even peanut/walnut-flavored soy milks. Korean-style! As much as I would love to taste-test, photograph, and blog about every single bizzare soy milk flavor out there, this post would simply never get finished. So please don't get upset if I left out your favorite Korean soy milk brand or flavor... :) Also, right now I will talk about the soy drinks that are dairy-free. That's right, not all soy milks in Korea are dairy-free, but I shall go over that in another blog post, so stay tuned.

BTW, it might help to learn the words for 'soy milk' and 'dairy milk' in Korean:

Soy milk - 두유 - pronounced 'du-yu'
Dairy milk - 우유 - pronounced 'u-yu'

First up: Sahm Yook Soy Drink, which is just your standard plain soy milk. While I like the taste, I found that the lid (pouring spout) on the cartons isn't exactly air-tight, which allows the soy milk to go bad faster. These cartons are usually in a non-refrigerated aisle of the supermarket. Also, this SahmYook company is owned by Seventh-Day Adventists, a denomination that promotes a vegetarian lifestyle. *contains Vitamin D3

Next up, 'Du Yu Ro Good Morning,' which translates to 'Good Morning with Soy milk,' from the company 'Maeil'. They definitely have a unique flavor from most other soy milks. I haven't had them in a while, but from what I remember, they taste more wholesome, and even slighty... savory? I wouldn't recommend using these for anything sweet, such as fruit smoothies or hot chocolate, as they will probably make it taste weirdly savory. The one with green packaging is normal soy milk, whereas the one in brown packaging is soy milk that contains different grain/bean extracts. Although the carton shows a picture of grain on it, don't get confused and think that this is rice milk- it's mainly soy milk with only about 1% of grain/rice milk (very misleading...). *contains Vitamin D3

These are soy milks from the same 'Maeil' company. I drink the plain one (on the right) a lot with my coffee or tea. You can find them at any convenience store, cold or even hot. It's just like your average, normal soy milk. The one on the left side is peanut/walnut/almond-flavored soy milk...it was a bit weird... Again, just to be clear, it's not nut milk. It's definitely soy milk, but just with some nut-flavor extracts added. *contains Vitamin D3

This 'Dae-Dan-Han Kong' drink (which basically translates to 'Incredible Bean') isn't so much 'soy milk' as it is just blended up, unsweetened soybeans. You can definitely taste beaniness here, and you can even feel the thick and sort of grainy texture of the blended soy beans. At first I did not enjoy this, but now it has grown on me.

And now we have 'Vegemil' which you can find pretty much anywhere and everywhere. There are two basic types of soy milks. 'Vegemil A' is the plain one, while 'Vegemil B' is the sweeter soy milk. You can find these in different types of cartons (paper, plastic, large or small), as well as in small glass bottles. *contains Vitamin D3

Black bean & black sesame seed-flavored soy milk. *contains Vitamin D3

Vegemil also has other vegan soy milk flavors such as black bean and red bean-flavored soy milks. I haven't tried the black bean one, but their red bean flavor is delicious! Koreans like making sweet things out of red beans, like sweet red bean porridge, red bean ice cream, and now red bean soy milk. Don't knock it til you try it. It's awesome:

Here's some green tea soy milk from Vegemil. As you can see, Vegemil is indeed the big soy milk company in Korea.

'Cham Du' is another brand which is very common at convenience stores like 7-11 or Family Mart. This is one of my favorite soy milks in Korea. And not just because they have koalas on the front (which have nothing to do with soy milk or Korea), but also because I like its smooth, lighter consistency. It could all just be in my head, but it doesn't seem as thick and fatty as some of the others I've had, and it seems to go well with my morning coffee or tea.

These three GT soymilks just recently came on the market. I haven't tried the sweet soy milk (orange packaging) or the Black bean soy milk yet, but I did taste the plain one (green packaging). I think this has a slight coconutty flavor to it. I'm not yet sold on this one, but maybe after some more time...

Anyway. Before I bore you and myself by droning on about soy milk, I shall wrap things up. Here are just some other ones out there that I haven't tried:

Black bean soy milk & multi-grained soy milk

Peanut & Walnut-flavored soy milk

Black bean milk

Jin-Kong soy milk