Welcome to Mexico City, a unique blend of historical heritage and modern culture, vividly reflected in its rich culinary scene. Renowned for its diverse ingredients and complex flavors, Mexican cuisine can seem challenging to navigate for vegans due to the frequent use of animal products. But understanding local food - the ingredients, traditional dishes, and their preparation - is crucial for vegan visitors aiming to enjoy the gastronomic experience while respecting their dietary choices.
This comprehensive guide serves as your culinary compass, guiding you through the city's vegan-friendly eateries, enlightening you about traditional dishes made vegan, and offering tips for ordering plant-based meals even in non-vegan establishments. Buckle up for a mouthwatering journey through Mexico City, where a vegan-friendly food paradise awaits.
With its history deeply entwined with indigenous and international influences, Mexican cuisine traditionally relies on plant-based staples such as corn, beans, chiles, tomatoes, and avocados. However, with globalization and Spanish influences, the inclusion of animal products became more prevalent. Nevertheless, the inherent plant-based nature of traditional Mexican cuisine has allowed for a vegan-friendly reinterpretation of classic dishes, bridging the gap between traditional culinary arts and modern dietary preferences.
The recent surge of veganism in Mexico City, driven by increasing health consciousness, environmental advocacy, and animal rights awareness, has redefined the city's food scene. As a beacon of veganism in Latin America, Mexico City has witnessed a rise in dedicated vegan restaurants, food stalls, and shops. Traditional establishments are also adapting, offering vegan variants of beloved Mexican dishes. With such dynamic culinary evolution, Mexico City's future shines brightly on the horizon of global veganism.
Here's a list of essential Spanish phrases to help you order vegan-friendly dishes in Mexico City:
Remember, while these phrases are very useful, they might not cover all possible non-vegan ingredients. Always double-check, especially with dishes containing hidden animal products, like certain types of bread, dessert, or even drinks.
Here are some of the best vegan restaurants in Mexico City. Whether you're looking for vegan junk food, vegan pizza, vegan sushi, or something else, there's something for everyone.
Gracias Madre, an inviting neighborhood vegan restaurant in Mexico City, masterfully combines affordability with veganized traditional Mexican cuisine. The extensive menu brims with various options, including the delectable al pastor tacos and the hearty Burrito Gracias Madre. They are not just about 'fake' meat but also offer dishes focusing on natural flavors.
Refreshing beverages like their green juice and mezcal cocktail perfectly complement the meals. The place charms with its warm service, hip decor, and limited but cozy outdoor seating. Standout desserts include the traditional buñuelos and a memorable flan.
VEGuerrero is an unpretentious and inviting vegan restaurant in Mexico City, formerly known as Taco Vegan. Open for takeout from Monday to Saturday, the eatery offers daily specials alongside a popular menu item: fresh, flavorful tacos. The fried avocado, chicharron, and seitan tacos are particularly noteworthy, although the latter could benefit from some added fresh veggies. Complementing the meals is their agua fresca with free refills and an available beer option. With its excellent service, delicious food, and reasonable prices, VEGuerrero is a highly recommended spot for vegan cuisine in the city.
Na Tlali offers an innovative twist on traditional Oaxaqueña and Veracruzana cuisines. Its menu features a variety of flavorful dishes, including Molotes, Garnachas Veracruzanas, Picaditas de Frijol, and Tacos Al Pastor, made with unique ingredients like cauliflower and pineapple. The restaurant stands out for its homemade vegan cheese and sour cream, excellent service, great ambiance, and reasonable prices.
Pali Pali del Valle is a standout vegan restaurant in Mexico City, offering a diverse menu inspired by various Mexican regions. Highlights include flavorful vegan meatballs, refreshing beet juice Agua Fresca, and highly recommended mushroom tacos. Their delivery options, such as the sopa de haba and a taco sampler with blue corn tortillas and generous portions of vegan meats, are equally impressive. Despite language barriers, the friendly staff goes above and beyond to provide excellent service. Pali Pali del Valle offers a unique and delicious vegan dining experience.
Vegan Ramen Mei is a culinary gem in Mexico City, offering a range of delicious vegan Japanese dishes like ramen and mapo tofu. The flavorful vegan ramen, enormous servings, and refreshing lemonade are highlights. Nestled in a hip neighborhood, it attracts a diverse crowd, making it a great spot for a casual dinner. A comforting bowl of Yokohama Tantanmen can even lift your spirits on a down day. With its delightful food and comforting atmosphere, Vegan Ramen Mei offers a memorable dining experience worth revisiting.
Malportaco, a small restaurant in Mexico City, offers "fancy tacos" and quesadillas that are incredibly flavorful. It's a popular spot with a charming outdoor dining area, perfect for enjoying their refreshing agua del dia and attentive service. Their 'meats' are superb, especially in their Pinche Chamaco dish. Although their brownie dessert falls short, their soups are hearty and flavorful.
As a food lover, I can't recommend Por Siempre Vegana enough. This vegan food stall in Mexico City has won my heart with its exceptional and affordable vegan Mexican dishes. I particularly like their gringas with salsa verde, tiramisu, and donuts. Their authentic, spicy street-style tacos, especially the tacos al pastor, are some of the best I've had in the city. I also enjoyed the magón. Although most dishes are soy-based, their creative and delicious tacos are impressive. With its perfect location and great prices, Por Siempre Vegana is my go-to spot whenever I'm in Mexico City.
Viko is an all-vegan food stall in Mexico City offering a variety of dishes, including tacos, hamburgers, burritos, sushi, and desserts. I tried three different tacos and a guava mint agua fresco, all of which were delicious and reasonably priced. The hot dog, three tacos, and lime water were equally delectable on another visit. The restaurant is 100% vegan, with friendly, fast service.
Gatorta is a vegan street food stall known for its tortas (Mexican sandwiches) and desserts. Their brownies were so delightful that I returned the next day for more. The highlight, however, was their heavenly tortas, which left a lasting impression. Gatorta offers a fantastic vegan street food experience and is a must-visit spot in Mexico City for flavorful vegan cuisine.
Navigating the menu at non-vegan restaurants can be tricky when adhering to a plant-based diet. However, with a little knowledge and the right approach, you can enjoy a satisfying meal anywhere, even in Mexico City's bustling food scene.
When dining out, it's essential to be aware of hidden animal products that might sneak into seemingly vegan-friendly dishes. Here are some common ones to watch out for:
Don't be shy about asking for modifications to make your meal vegan. Here are some tips on how to go about it:
Mr. Tofu is a chain of vegan stores around Mexico and a leading importer of vegan goods into the country. They stock many well-known products and brands, including frozen and chilled items.
Green Republic, located in Mexico City, is a popular health market offering various nutritious products, including snacks, superfoods, and drinks from their 'Matcha Bar'. The store also provides delivery services via Uber Eats. With a strong online presence and high ratings, it's a go-to spot for those pursuing a healthier lifestyle in the city.
Healthy Boutique, located in Zentrika Santa Fe, Mexico City, offers a wide selection of healthy products and home delivery services through Uber Eats. Known for promoting a healthier lifestyle, it's highly recommended by customers and is a key part of the city's health scene.
Green Paradise Vegan Market in Mexico City is a beloved store for vegan and organic products. With over 2,000 items, they offer a wide variety, including vegan cheese, superfoods, and even vegan yogurt. Highly rated, the store is also known for hard-to-find meat substitutes and pet essentials.
BIEN Mercado Vegano is a popular vegan market in Mexico City, offering a range of 100% plant-based products. Open from Monday to Saturday; the store carries everything from vegan ice cream to functional foods. It supports local trade, with over 80% of its products being Mexican.
Culinaria Vegetal is a renowned health food store in Mexico City, known for its variety of local and imported vegan products. The store offers an extensive selection from bread, veggie sausages, pasta, and cereals to dairy substitutes. Open six days a week, it's a popular spot for plant-based shopping.
La Ola Festival Vegano is an exciting event that takes place in Mexico City. It gathers Mexico's most committed and innovative vegan projects in a relaxed, friendly, and fun atmosphere. The festival is now in its third year and is a must-attend event for anyone interested in discovering more about veganism.
Bazar la Veganería Vegfest is a vibrant event in Mexico City that celebrates vegan cuisine. The festival brings together enthusiastic exhibitors who offer a wide array of vegan foods, including ice cream, chocolates, and traditional Mexican dishes. The environment is family-friendly and pet-friendly, making it a fun experience for all attendees.
Offers a hands-on experience with a duration of 4.5 hours, available on Wednesdays and Saturdays.
A half-day cooking lesson focused on authentic vegan Mexican food with a professional chef.
Provides vegan options of traditional Mexican recipes, with each class being hands-on.
A group that hosts vegan picnics in Mexico City.
A group for people in Mexico City that are interested in vegan and raw vegan cooking classes.
Start your day with a hearty breakfast at one of the city's many vegan-friendly eateries. At Pan Comido, you can enjoy a range of vegan breakfasts, from tofu scramble to Mexican-style chilaquiles with vegan cheese. Or head over to Frutos Prohibidos for their delicious acai bowls and fresh fruit juices. If you're in the mood for pastries, visit Catamundi, where they serve a variety of vegan baked goods.
For lunch, indulge in a flavorful feast at Los Loosers, a restaurant that serves vegan versions of traditional Mexican dishes. Try their famous vegan mole or the mushroom carnitas tacos.
As evening falls, Por Siempre Vegana Taquería specializes in vegan tacos.
Mexico City is a paradise for vegan snacking. Street vendors sell fresh fruits and vegetables; many traditional snacks are naturally vegan. Try esquites, a cup of corn kernels served with lime, chili, and vegan mayo. Visit Vegan Ville, a food market dedicated to vegan products, for various snacks from local vendors.
It's becoming increasingly easy to find vegan options in Mexico City. The city boasts a vibrant food culture, with a growing number of vegan and vegetarian restaurants, cafes, and markets. Some non-vegan restaurants also offer vegan alternatives. However, double-checking with the restaurant staff or researching beforehand is always a good idea.
Vegan versions of traditional Mexican dishes are popular. You can find vegan tacos filled with mushrooms, beans, or nopal (cactus); vegan pozole (a traditional soup), made with mushrooms instead of meat; and vegan tamales. There are also innovative dishes like vegan ceviche made from jicama or hearts of palm.
Some street food stalls may have vegan options such as corn on the cob, roasted plantains, or fruit cups. However, asking about the ingredients is important, as some items may be cooked in animal fat or contain hidden animal products.
Knowing some Spanish phrases can be helpful. "Soy vegano/a" means "I'm vegan," and "sin carne, sin lácteos, y sin huevos" means "without meat, dairy, and eggs." Using a translation app or carrying a vegan phrase card can also be helpful. Don't hesitate to ask for clarification; most people are very accommodating.
Traditional Mexican desserts can be made vegan. Arroz con leche can be made with plant-based milk, while pastel de tres leches can use coconut milk. Other options include fruit paletas (popsicles) and flan made with agar-agar instead of gelatin.
Veganism in Mexico City is on the rise. Many restaurants and cafes are offering vegan options, and there are even vegan grocery stores and festivals. While the percentage of the vegan population is still relatively small, there is a growing interest in and acceptance of the lifestyle.
Yes, traditional Mexican dishes can often be made vegan. For example, beans and rice, staple ingredients in many dishes, are usually vegan. Tacos can be filled with vegan ingredients like mushrooms, beans, melted vegan cheese, avocado, and nopal. Vegan cheeses and creams can replace traditional dairy products.
Absolutely! Horchata, a traditional rice drink, can be made vegan, and atole, a warm corn-based beverage. Many margaritas and Mexican beers are also vegan, but it's always a good idea to check.
Some common hidden animal products include lard, used in cooking and baking; chicken or beef broth, used in soups or rice cooking; cheese and cream in sauces and dishes; and gelatin in desserts. It's important to ask if these ingredients are used when ordering.