Traveling through Mexico as a vegan isn't as hard as you think. The bases of many regional dishes are already veg friendly, you just need to ask to remove a few key ingredients and have the lingo down pat so you don't get a plate covered in cheese in front of you.
I have been in Mexico for nearly two years and I have been able to eat nearly everywhere I have walked into or stopped on the street for. The choices are not always the best, but I have by no means ever gone hungry due to there being nothing for me to eat.
So, I shall walk you lovely veggie eaters and possibly aspiring veggie eaters through the things to say and resources to use to use during your adventures in Mexico so you can feel confident eating everywhere.
Los Loosers - Vegan Ramen, Mexico City
Sweet treats at Vegamo, Mexico City
Let us begin with the basic Spanish words you will need to ensure your food comes out cruelty free.
Yo soy vegana (female) Yo soy vegano (male) - I am vegan
Tienes comida vegetariana? - Do you have vegetarian food?
Tienes leche de soya, almendra o coco? - Do you have soy, almond or coconut milk?
(These plant based milk options are very common throughout Mexico and they wont be hard to find in corner stores)
Sin Carne - Without Meat
Sin Leche - Without Milk
Sin Queso - Without Cheese
Sin Aciento o Manteca - Without Pork Lard
(I know, gross...but pork lard is used on many tortilla based dishes, such as Tlayudas in Oaxaca and also in some bean dishes. So be extra careful when ordering)
An example if you are ordering a salad, but want to take the cheese out of it - Puedo pedir una ensalada sin queso, por favor - Can I please order a salad with out cheese.
Salad is a pretty cliché order for a vegan, but there will be a few places where a salad is your only option. I normally add little sides to boost my meals if this is the situation. Order a serving of guacamole and totopos (corn ships) for a starter helps and a big fresh veggie or fruit juice.
And of course you need to say Por favor and Gracias - Please and Thank you
Elotes (Corn) - Common Street Food
I love that vegans have made communities around the world to help others who are travelling to find awesome food easily.
My favourite app to use to find veg friendly restaurants, shops and eateries is HappyCow. It is free app that just makes life so damn easy for a travelling vegan. The best part is, if you find a hidden gem that isn't listed on the app yet you can add it, so others just like you can visit the same place. So really you are an angel supporting local businesses and helping your fellow traveller out.
The Vegan Society has a very handy app, The Vegan Passport, that is a multi lingual phrase book to help you order anywhere in the world. It covers 96% of the worlds languages! So if you get stuck, have this little app on your phone to dig you out of any sticky situation.
Bloggers have helped me find my around the food hurdles in Mexico too, Chronicles of a Travel Addict (Cristina Luisa) has been a huge guide through Latin America and Mexico for me. Her easy to read blogs and tips are priceless. She also has a vegan blogger directory on her site, so you will find someone who has been there and eaten that, wherever you are in the world!
Plant Eaters is another awesome app for finding veg friendly eateries around the globe. The best thing about these apps is that you can find restaurants that everyone will be happy at. So, if you are travelling with people who aren't veg, this handy app allows you to find establishments where there is some thing for everyone.
Vegan pizza and empanadas at La Matatena Pizzería, Oaxaca City, Mexico
Rejoice my vegetable eating beauties, there are plenty of choices for you!
There are many street eats that we can indulge in throughout Mexico so there is no need to feel left out when everyone is scoffing tacos.
Elotes - Grilled or Boiled corn on a stick (add lime, chilli and salt for a tasty snack)
Fruit and Veg cups - Sliced up fresh fruit and veg in big cups or bags.
Fruit vendors - Many locals have setups selling fresh fruit to go, grab a bag and enjoy!
Jugos - Fresh Juice stands are everywhere.
Chips - Super common in plazas and parks. Small carts with a variety of chips like, salt, chilli, lime and sauces too.
Raspas - The Mexican version of a snow cone. They have heaps of flavoured syrups to add, tamarind, mango, chamoy to name a few.
Tortas - A Mexican sandwich kind of thingy. If it is an equipped stall they should be able to make you a full veg one. But, some only stock meat.
Tamales - A veg tamale is a bit rare, if you find one, snatch them up.
Tacos - Don't rule tacos out, if you are confident with your Spanish, go for it. Ask for 'tacos con nopales, cebolla, arroz y frijoles" (Tacos with cactus, onion, rice and beans)
Tostadas - Little crispy round tortillas topped with whatever you ask. Sub the meat options for beans, onion, avocado and tomato salsa.
With these tools you should have the basics to find food everywhere in Mexico!
Rambutans Fruit Vendor - Oaxaca City, Mexico
Follow my travel adventures - @breakloosejournal