The culinary heritage of Mexico is incredibly rich. Think of the 7 varieties of tomatoes, 140 varieties of chili or other food originated in Mexico that we enjoy everywhere such as cocoa, avocado, amaranth, corn and other beauties of the culinary world. And all this happened before the Europeans looted and razed these lands. Of course, now our food is also influenced by Spanish, Italian, German, British, Indian, the Middle East and the entire Latin American region that migrated here.
In the Mexican culture, food from animals is key and it is considered that a meal without meat is incomplete. Whether it is a business lunch or a lunch with friends, meat is always present and here we come to the main idea of my article. I’ll tell you how to spend 24 hours in the State of Mexico when you are a vegan (or a vegetarian) without dying in the attempt. Just to make it clear – as I have noticed that many people do not know the difference between vegetarians and vegans. Vegetarian is one who does not eat meat but still consumes animal products such as eggs and cheese, for example. Vegan is one who eats no animal derivatives, carrying a diet based on vegetables, fruits, grains and seeds and, in addition, he or she does not use any animal products including some shampoos or wool sweaters. Sandy, my beautiful wife from Veracruz, and our two amazing children Lucas (3 years) and Frida (7 months) are vegetarians and we walk our way to veganism by phases. This helps a lot because we make a cult of the food at home. We not only enjoy cooking but we also have everything that we need to eat organic and healthy without animal protein. Today in Mexico there are already few specialized small shops and some supermarkets where you find vegetarian food – from rice and beans to organic vegan sausages. The problem starts when we leave our sanctuary and then it is worth to adapt and not to suffer.
If we should draw our gastronomic vegetarian route from Metepec, the city where we live, to Mexico, I think this would be our favorite:
Breakfast would start in La Esmeralda, our favorite vegan shop where we not only eat rich but we also enjoy chats while Frida enjoys the company of the local girls and Lucas talks to everyone. We begin with a shot of ginger apple after which we all feel revitalized. One can also enjoy delicious healthy food such as red chilaquiles (baked tortillas cut into pieces with tomato sauce), enchiladas with cheese almond (rolled tortilla stuffed with almond cheese and vegetables) or chickpeas sandwich. The variety of smoothies is what I like the most, while Lucas constantly asks for Kombucha (a drink made from fermented black tea full of probiotics). After buying provisions for the way, we go to La Condesa, one of the most lovely areas in the city. We walk in the park Mexico, digest our breakfast and at noon we go to Tandoor where we enjoy an excellent Indian meal.
This restaurant is decorated with materials from India and has a variety of interesting dishes including vegetarian. Undoubtedly, curry is something we cannot stop trying in different variations – with potatoes, peas or cauliflower. Lentils and rice with a portion of the classic bread called Naam is a must have. If there is still room in our stomachs, we choose dessert balls in syrup, which are the culmination of the day. Having our bellies full, we return to the Mexico Park to get a real chai tea served in a very small place called the Chai Bar. The tea options with soy or almond milk are very good but I prefer it without milk. In this place we also buy a bottle of natural chai that we take home and continue the chai experience. At this point, you are lucky when you left the car at a reasonable distance to walk. 🙂 Later in the evening, we are always up for a light dinner. My suggestion would be to have a dinner at home, where I make a bruschetta with rye bread, fresh spinach, sun dried tomatoes, capers and fresh blueberries with a glass of fine Argentine Tannat. It may be hard being a vegetarian, but as you can see it is possible even in a meat cherishing culture like Mexico. However, I am optimistic that sooner or later more restaurant chains will serve more vegetarian dishes and soon we will get to the Green Vivant fashion. Then we will put our autograph on a lettuce leaf.