I’ve been in Mexico City for nearly 14 days. My determination to source VEGAN friendly products is being RICHLY rewarded. I am FEASTING out here!
HAPPY COW is of course a HUGE source of knowledge. Not just in Mexico City but the world. They list stores and vegan friendly restaurants. In the next few posts I’m going to share with you what I’ve found. I want to help you hit the ground running. I’ll let you know about cool cafes too.
When I was in Buenos Aires, Dieteticas were bounteous. It is not the case in Mexico City. But I’ve visited a few places listed on HappyCow and I’ve found some products in ‘everyday’ supermercados. Of course. A lot of Mexican food is VEGAN. Nature provides an abundance of vegan FAST food. Give me an avocado and some salt and I’m happy!
Here are some products you can find at SUPERAMA in the Condesa area (Walmart Mexico…they have some produce/products from the USA ..you can get AMY’s here..but alas they either contain cheese or gluten. They have a small gluten free and natural section and organic products too). They have a rack of numerous dehydrated (not raw) fruits and veggies, the tomatoes are like thin chips!
You will also find The Green Corner…kind of an upscale Whole Foods. They are 100% Mexican company selling organic food. They have 2 stores in Mexico City – Polanaco and Condesa. They are a fair trade organisation, giving most of their revenue to the providers. They try and make their stores as green as possible. One uses electricity from solar panels. They also have an organic farm/ranch that produces organic fruits and vegetables and their brand La Cocina Verde. An amazing range of sauces and marmalades/jams. I am so hooked on the mermelade tejocote with stevia that I’m eating it out of the jar with a spoon. Tejocote is a native Mexican variety of hawthorn. It has lots of nutritional properties and is thick, subtly sweet and divine.
FAST FOOD – done healthy. Momentos to make. I was keen to try a Mexican delicacy called huitlacoche or cuitlacoche . Basically corn fungus. Yeah, doesn’t exactly make you salivate but I was curious to this new and unchartered flavour.
I’m being a whimp and my overwhelm with all the choice at the food stalls/trucks/cantinas and restaurants, together with my lazy ass to brush up the smattering of Spanish I collected in Argentina is making me swerve around huddles of standing diners and take it at my pace right now.
Anyway, I spotted a can of the stuff in Superama and threw it into my basket. Along with a packet of Mexican made Bacon Bits (vegan and with soya…I do try and steer clear of heavily processed foods but a little is ok), a carton of tomato/passata flavoured with cebolla (onion) and garlic. Oh, and garbanzos. Me and garbanzos are never far from each other. I returned to my studio and assembled a meal.
My recipe for Speedy Huitlache tortillas and Sopa de Garbanzos.
I put a half can of garbanzos, 1/2 carton of passata, garlic clove, salt, and a little water into the blender and whizzed for 30 seconds. Leaving some texture. Poured the mix into a pan and warmed through. I shook on some chill spice, a spoon of ‘bacon’ bits and fresh black pepper. Verdict? Delicious. Comforting. With it I had a stack of corn tortillas containing natural prebitoics and nopal (Mexican cactus), with sliced, buttery avocado. With the excitement of a food explorer, I cracked open the can of ‘corn smut’ (huitlacoche). I ate a little from the spoon first, afraid it might have tasted malo (bad). I found it earthy, mildly sweet and a little bitter. The texture was like cooked greens. It got my vote. I’m keen to try it fresh, home cooked, see how it compares. So, rolled up within a maize tortilla and married with soft and buttery avocado…well, I’m beaming with food love!
My mind is firing with recipe ideas! The simple afternoon feast took all of 5 minutes to prepare and the flavours were intense and wonderfully satisfying. Sitting in a cafe writing this I see the photo is a sad reflection of what it actually tasted like. You’re going to just have to trust me on this one.
I’m scouting out raw foods too. I found these by a company called VerDeSer in a little cafe in Condesa.
The tube is filled with herbed, dehydrated sprouted legumes and nuez (nuts). Crunchy. Salty. The foiled packet had spirulina and ciltrano flavoured raw crackers and were some of the best I’ve ever tasted. They were not cheap, especially by Mexican standards. $58 pesos or £3. The beautifully flecked pink and sandy coloured discs were an indulgent bag of delightfully crispy fried taro chips. So good! I ate the whole bag whilst walking through Parque de Mexico, enjoying a spot of people and doggy watching!
More coming soon…!
|some vegan staples I’ve managed to track down|
Hola! mi amor. I’m currently ensconced in the sweltering heat and noise of Buenos Aires. It’s day 3 and I’ve not eaten out yet. Day 2 my attempts to find not one but two options for vegan restaurants failed when I forgot to write down the street numbers. In the UK, the streets are usually pretty short. Not so in Argentina, they are more like American streets and the numbers reach into the thousands. Last night, I located a raw food vegan place I wanted to try and the bloody power was down. Now, it’s a raw food restaurant…who needs power right? Apparently, their back-room kitchen was so dark they could not see to doing any prep. I happened across an Indian Krishna restaurant in Palermo and couldn’t read the menu – a) because the writing was so small and b)because I couldn’t make head nor tale of what it had on it and my travel dictionary was lacking. Sheesh!
Today I am going for a private Spanish lesson to learn how to order food. Ah…so then the feasting can begin. My ‘wish list’ notebook has pages of vegan eateries to try in Buenos Aires. So surprising in a predominantly meat-eating country. I wonder whether one can really get into a culture if you remain in a minority…of course, it is the same as being in any country. I do as I am and find those that share my life philosophy. I do worry that I won’t blend with the portenos (locals), if I am not eating at 10pm? Jesus, how do they do that? My normal eating pattern is to have finished chowing by 6pm at the latest! Who’d want a gut full of food at bedtime? Can’t be right, can it?!
I’ve been eating really lightly, because the heat just isn’t getting me hungry. I’ve a juicer in my room which is a Godsend. For lunch and dinner I’ve just been preparing raw cauliflower nori wraps and enjoying lots of flavourful sun dried tomatoes. I’ve been making a wrap sauce out of nutritional yeast, kelp powder, chlorella and spices (I had stashed in my suitcase from the UK) which has been serving me well. But today, I’m heading out again and this time I WILL eat out, dammit!
Here is a sample list of vegetarian/vegan foods translated into Spanish. Not everything is listed. I hope I’ve covered the basics to help you buy your staples or eat out in a Spanish speaking country ¿”Por favor, puedo ver el menu?”
I promise mucho food porn in my next post!
Aren’t these useful?! Print them out and keep them in your bag!
That done I’m back to watching South American TV and, of course, the cooking channel. Currently a fast speaking, very hairy handed and mucho shiny, bald headed man is cook tamales. He keeps saying vegan and vegetariano. I think I love him!
Nearly forgot, this will help too…
Vegetariano estricto, or vegano
To say “I am vegan” it is “Soy vegano”
Happy travels..happy eating!
Oh, and for the mosquito bites (honestly, I love creatures but what are they for in the scheme of things!) I recommend vinagre de sidra de manzana (apple cider vinegar).
I will be posting vegan friendly supermarkets in Argentina soon too. Come back and see.