Traveling in Mexico as a Vegan on business was more challenging that I expected. I love Mexico, the people the culture the beaches the jewellery the history. I am certain there are many amazing options for Vegan choices of food. My business schedule was full each day with very little time to do much searching for the foods for the Vegan Lifestyle. That being said there was SOME offerings however I really did need to know more of the language to ensure I was not eating animal products. Mexicans love their pollo (chicken) and leche (milk) and it’s in everything. Rice almost always contain pollo broth.
Gluten Free – that is a whole other topic that I didn’t have a need to search for as I didn’t have time nor did I eat any that I know of.
TAKE NOTE: especially if you are traveling to areas off the main tourist routes or larger cities you will need to have some words / phrases otherwise the chances of you eating animal products hidden in foods are very high indeed.
We went to one very beautiful high end restaurant with amazing attention given to our table and lovely people however they really couldn’t understand a few things a) you don’t eat animals? huh? many really couldn’t understand that b) that cheese and other products (sauces/milk) were part of that request. They kindly made me a special meal of vegetables – my request created a bit of curiosity stir, which was interesting; however it still arrived with cheese on top and a dressing with animal product in it anyway.
It was all good and I wasn’t upset at all, perhaps the shot of tequila helped :). It was an interesting learning experience for both parties. Of course good sign language skills help too. I am well traveled and can get by for sure. I haven’t kept my Spanish brushed up and haven’t been to Mexico since becoming Vegan so I wasn’t equipped properly with the language barrier in play. I would suggest that especially when traveling outside of areas that perhaps don’t see alot of western tourists with such requirements as Vegan could be different in a resort town like Cancun with big resorts and years of experience with tourists. To be sure all the people I talked about Vegan with were engaged curious and accommodating and we made a good experience of it quite easily. I am a well traveled curious social person so it was all cool.
If Spanish is new to you or you are a little rusty I highly recommend catching up on some of these words and phrases below so you are more equipped to navigate the food challenges to minimize the trauma of eating animals where perhaps for many years you have not and you want to stay with the lifestyle no matter what and that’s fair enough. I have done some quick research now that I am home that offers some words / phrases for Vegans/Vegetarians. Sharing with you as it will really help to have some words down especially if you are pushed for time at business meetings need to order special plates in advance etc.
Helpful Phrases for Vegetarians & Vegans in Mexico from http://www.vagabondroots.com/vegan-in-mexico as shown below.
Here’s a few hand words to know for the vegan traveling Mexico to know so they can be able to avoid animal products. This list is far from complete but it is helpful to be able to go to a store and put together ingredients for a veggie friendly meal.
puerco or carne de cerdo – Pork
pollo – chicken
aves de corral – poultry
pavo – turkey
pescado or pez – fish
mariscos – seafood
Animal Products (Productos Animales):
huevos – eggs
leche – milk
lácteos – dairy
queso – cheese
mantequilla – butter
crema – cream
yogur – yoghurt
manteca (de cerdo) – lard
caldo de pollo – chicken broth
miel – honey
mayonesa – mayonnaise
gelatina – gelatin
Other Useful Phrases for Vegetarians and Vegans in Mexico
I am vegan – Yo soy vegana (female) / Yo soy vegano (if you’re male)
I am vegetarian – Yo soy vegetariano/a
I don’t eat meat. – Yo no como carne.
I do not eat meat, pork or chicken. – Yo no como carne, cerdo/puerco, ni pollo.
I (do) (do not) eat eggs, milk/milk products or cheese. – Yo (como) (no como) huevos, leche/lácteos, o queso.
I don’t eat fish. – No como pescado.
I only eat vegetable and fruit. (for the times it’s just far easier to simplify) – Solo como vegetales y fruta.
Are there some vegetarian restaurants in the city? – Hay algunos restaurantes vegetarianos en la ciudad?
How is the rice prepared; with chicken broth, or only with water? – Como se prepara el arroz; con caldo de pollo, o solamente con agua? (Agua (water) is the answer you’re looking for)
leche de soja – Soy milk
No pollo no leche no carne no huevos no animales – repeat after me ..
I hope this helps you. Happy food travels.