The South Korean military will offer “customized menus” free of meat and hams for vegetarians and Muslim servicemen beginning next year. The measure is being taken to benefit a growing number of vegetarian conscripts and soldiers from multi-cultural families.
Beginning in February, the Defense Ministry and the Military Manpower Administration plan to provide vegan meals if new conscripts clarify as vegetarian or Muslim on their profiles when receiving physical examination by informing their choice to the units where they will be deployed. The military plans to prevent soldiers from having difficulties eating meals because they cannot afford to identify themselves as vegetarians to their superiors or because they fear unfavorable treatment.
“We will accurately figure out the exact number of vegetarians and Muslims and prepare customized menus,” said a source in the military. “Main menus will include tender tofu, laver, vegetables, salads, cereals, vegetarian bibimbap (rice with seasoned vegetables), and canned foods for vegans.”
Currently, the military is providing menus that contain no meat for current active-duty military servicemen and servicewomen in case they indicate as vegetarians and Muslims. The U.S. military reportedly has no problem with this matter because salad bar is available at cafeterias in the barracks.
Vincent Brooks, former commander of the ROK-U.S. Combined Forces Command, followed vegetarianism. When having meetings over meal with South Korean military generals while serving in Korea, Brooks reportedly clarified in advance that he is a vegetarian and chose menus accordingly.
Sang-Ho Yun email@example.com