Mexico is a true foodie destination - and that's no different for vegans.
Some come to Mexico for its unique North American Latin culture, others for its pristine beaches... but for me, it's always been about the food. Mexico is one of the best cuisines for vegans because it's so easy to adapt (or veganize) with the use of beans, rice, and veggies.
But, while Mexican food is generally vegan-friendly, Mexico as a nation is still far off veganism from a cultural standpoint. This means vegan options tend to be more widely available in tourist hotspots, reserved for foreigners than the people themselves.
In this guide, we explore veganism in Mexico, how to survive the hardest times, and the best places for vegan foodies.
Veganism in Mexico
Mexico is one of those countries where veganism is both easy and difficult, depending on where you are.
Generally, a consciousness of veganism exists throughout Mexico. Typically you won't encounter many people who have never heard of veganism.
Veganism is most common in large cities like Mexico City, Guadalajara, and Monterrey as well as areas with high tourism like the Yucatan Peninsula. Going rural is where veganism fades in Mexico and finding vegan food can become more of a challenge.
While traditional Mexican food relies heavily on beans, grains and vegetables, meat and dairy are also staples. Often you may also encounter foods with lard, cheese, and meat broth hidden within dishes too.
However, don't let that stop you from traveling to Mexico. The country is still a very enjoyable and accessible country for vegan travelers.
Veganism in Mexico Overview:
- Spanish word for vegan: Vegano
- Best vegan locations in Mexico: Mexico City, Playa del Carmen, Tulum.
- Popular local fruit: Dragon fruit, soursop, rambutan, lime.
- Naturally vegan Mexican meals: Veggie burrito, fajitas, chips and guacamole.
- Common non-vegan ingredients: Meat, cheese, lard.
Local Vegan Meals To Eat in Mexico
Mexican food is extremely easy to make vegan... if the person serving the food has the ability. However, many street food taco trucks serve simple tacos with meat, onion, tomato and salsa - and because an onion-tomato taco isn't why you came to Mexico, these trucks are often not great options.
However, here are some easy local vegan options you can find widespread throughout Mexico.
Vegan Mexican Food: Starters
- Guacamole and chips: Made with avocado, lime, and tomato, guacamole is a staple in Mexican cuisine and is often served with chips or as a side dish.
- Pico de Gallo: A popular Mexican salsa made with fresh chopped tomatoes, onions, jalapeno peppers, cilantro, and lime juice. It is often served as a condiment with a lot of Mexican dishes.
- Nachos: You'll likely only find vegan nachos at a specialty vegan restaurant where they have vegan cheese available.
Vegan Mexican Food: Meals
- Chilaquiles: A popular Mexican breakfast that is baked tortilla chips with either verde or roja salsa. While this dish often comes with meat, egg and cream, it's common to find a vegan option with soy meat or to simply ask for no meat, egg and cream.
- Soy meat or frijole tacos: Soy meat is super common in Mexico, especially in cities.
- Sopa Azteca: A traditional soup made with vegetables, tortilla strips, and tomato-based broth.
- Enchiladas verdes: These enchiladas are made with a green tomato-based sauce and typically filled with beans or vegetables.
- Chiles en nogada: This is a seasonal dish made with poblano peppers filled with a mixture of fruits, nuts, and spices, topped with a creamy walnut sauce and pomegranate seeds.
- Vegan burrito: A classic Mexican burrito built with beans, rice, guacamole and sometimes cactus.
- Veggie Tamales: Corn dough filled with vegetables, wrapped in a corn husk and steamed. Meat tamales are common, so be sure you're ordering a vegan one.
- Vegan Flautas: Small rolled-up tortillas that are filled with potato, beans, or faux meat, then deep-fried until crispy.
Vegan Mexican Street Food
- Churros: A sweet fried dough pastry dusted with cinnamon sugar.
- Elotes: Grilled corn on the cob with chilli powder (Be careful of butter, mayonnaise, cheese which can sometimes be added).
- Tostadas de Coyoacán: A popular street food in Mexico City, consisting of a tostada topped with refried beans, lettuce, and salsa. It often comes with cream and cheese, so make sure to get without.
Best Places in Mexico for Vegans
Mexico City is a vegan paradise and has an incredible amount of vegan options from fully vegan restaurants to vegan street food stands. The suburbs of Roma and Condesa have the highest concentration of vegan restaurants.
- Por Siempre
- Los Loosers
Playa del Carmen
Playa del Carmen is one of the most popular tourist spots in Mexico. The rise in foreigners has influenced the amount of vegan options that have become available in the beachside town.
- Comet 984
Oaxaca is packed with hidden vegan gems throughout the aesthetic city. You'll get a real taste of Mexican culture here.
- Los Muchitos Comida Vegana
While not on the level of Mexico City, Guadalajara is a city with a lot of vegan options to choose from most within walking distance of each other.
- La Vegana Garnacha
- La Flaca
Tulum is widely considered the hippy center of Mexico. The town has become a hotspot for vegan eats, from street food stalls to uppity restaurants.
- El Bajon Vegan Tacos
- Burrito Amor
Monterrey has a number (approximately 6-7) vegan restaurants to choose from in the Centro area.
- Shiva Station