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 Post subject: Yucatan Peninsula eats (Mexico)
PostPosted: Tue Jan 21, 2014 6:48 pm 
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Lime and a Coconut
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I didn't find any other threads on the Yucatan or any of its cities or regions, so thought I'd start a thread. I'm headed to Merida and surrounding areas for a week in March and although I'm excited, I'm also a little nervous about how vegan-friendly or not it will be.

Anyone have any tips or recommendations? Of course, tips on things to do/see locally are appreciated, too!

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 Post subject: Re: Yucatan Peninsula eats (Mexico)
PostPosted: Sat Jan 25, 2014 12:13 pm 
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I can't really help with food since I've only stayed at resorts with my family, but as far as things to do the ruins are really interesting. Merida is pretty far west from all the places I've seen. Tulum was really neat but is on the other side of the Yucatan from where you'll be. Coba was fantastic because when I was there you could still climb up it. Not sure if you still can, but I know you can't at Chichen Itza. I've been to Mexico with my beach-loving, but culturally scared family so the only thing I could really convince them to do was the ruins. I don't really have any other suggestions. The Yucatan is a neat place and I'd love to go back and see it outside of the resort gates.

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 Post subject: Re: Yucatan Peninsula eats (Mexico)
PostPosted: Sat Jan 25, 2014 6:03 pm 
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Have fun! On the yucatan side, I've only been to Cancun and I wasn't vegan at the time. Considering that you live in California, you probably already know how unvegan traditional Mexican food can be but I'll say the usual stuff in that rice you can expect chicken stock, tortillas may have lard (I'd try for corn) and the beans may have lard or possibly beef/chicken stock. The good news is there should be plenty of fruit and avocados. I've heard various places in Mexico will often surprise you with vegan friendly places, I'm hoping you find one.

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 Post subject: Re: Yucatan Peninsula eats (Mexico)
PostPosted: Sat Jan 25, 2014 7:16 pm 
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Erika, that's a bummer you can't go up Chichen Itza, either inside or outside anymore - when I went you were still allowed to. It'd still be worth visiting, I think! It was like a three hour bus ride from Cancun, if I remember correctly.

I was a vegetarian when I was thereabouts and it was easy enough, so I think you'll be fine. I don't have any specific recommendations though, since I was there...16 years ago, holy crepe I'm old.


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 Post subject: Re: Yucatan Peninsula eats (Mexico)
PostPosted: Sat Jan 25, 2014 7:23 pm 
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I wasn't veg when I went to the yucatan but I still have dreams about all the amazing fruit I ate there. I stayed at a hotel in Merida that had a courtyard restaurant and every morning I got this gigantic platter full of the freshest, most delicious fruits ever. I also ate lots of tomato and mozzarella salads...not vegan, I'm just daydreaming about the tomatoes.

I wonder if the whole beans are vegetarian there like they are here? I had black bean nachos at a beach bungalow place that was covered in fresh veggies and would've been delicious even without the cheese.

Please post loads of photos when you get back! I want to vacation vicariously.

Eta, I just read about chichen itza. That was my favorite part of the trip, going on and inside the pyramid. Definitely still worth a trip though. When I went, there were still tons of ruins covered in jungle that you could bush whack to.

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 Post subject: Re: Yucatan Peninsula eats (Mexico)
PostPosted: Sun Jan 26, 2014 2:02 pm 
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I visited a small village in the Yucatan for a week as a vegan and relied on home hospitality for meals. It was totally easy. Lots of corn tortillas, beans and rice without animal products, a wide variety of fruits and veggies, lots of vegan stews featuring local veggies. Breakfast was hardest, but I ate a lot of peanut butter on bread and clif bars that I had brought. I think it might be harder in the city because animal products might be more plentiful, but it seemed like the local cuisine was actually really vegan friendly.


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 Post subject: Re: Yucatan Peninsula eats (Mexico)
PostPosted: Sun Jan 26, 2014 2:40 pm 
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If you find yourself at Playa del Carmen, go to 100% Natural! They have yummy vegan tacos (be careful and be sure to specify vegetariano estricto, nada queso otherwise they'll put cheese on)

We also had an AMAZING meal on the main strip in Playa, it wasn't a remotely veg-friendly restaurant but the chef came out and talked to us and made us amazing black bean tacos, fresh guac and chips, big frosty drinks, tons of roasted peppers and fresh salsa for condiments...mmm.

Also, gorge on fruit. I still miss the fresh papaya I had each breakfast I was there.

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 Post subject: Re: Yucatan Peninsula eats (Mexico)
PostPosted: Sun Jan 26, 2014 2:43 pm 
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Oh and if you go to Xelha (and I recommend you do!) we found it pretty vegan-friendly. Well, like, chips and salsa, fruit and coffee, that kinda thing. It kept us going all day while we snorkeled.

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 Post subject: Re: Yucatan Peninsula eats (Mexico)
PostPosted: Fri Jan 31, 2014 12:20 pm 
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Lime and a Coconut
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We're actually going to be on the other side of the Yucatan, the east/gulf side. We're flying in and out of Merida and are going to be staying within a 2-hour radius because my bf has medical issues that make extensive car rides out of the question (the flights down there will be an ordeal in and of itself). We will definitely plan to visit Cancun and surrounding areas at some point, but that is going to have to be a separate trip (and hopefully, a direct flight).

I know enough Californian pidgin Spanish to get by- tienes manteca? Sin queso y crema, por favor. etc, and I'll be brushing up with some CDs from the library before I go! I figure if nothing else, I'll get by on delicious fresh fruit. There are worse places to end up as a vegan!

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 Post subject: Re: Yucatan Peninsula eats (Mexico)
PostPosted: Tue Mar 04, 2014 1:24 pm 
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Lime and a Coconut
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I'm leaving on Friday! Can't wait! I've been reading some guidebooks and getting the impression that there is a decent Lebanese population in Mexico and in particular the Yucatan, so I'm looking forward to some falafels saving the day!

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 Post subject: Re: Yucatan Peninsula eats (Mexico)
PostPosted: Sat Mar 08, 2014 9:45 pm 
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Lime and a Coconut
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Hola from Merida! I'm happy to report that, despite about three Happy Cow restaurants I either couldn't find or are only open on weekdays (why?), I just had a delicious dinner of soya tamales with tomatillo sauce.

The restaurant is called Amaro and is on Calle 59 between 60 and 62 for anyone else interested. Not purely vegetarian, but with a decent vegetarian menu that can be made vegan. Beautiful open air, off-street patio dining. And free pan de chimmichurri appetizers- delicious melba toast-style bread bits with an amazing tomato-onion-cilantro vinaigrette. I could eat it all day!

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 Post subject: Re: Yucatan Peninsula eats (Mexico)
PostPosted: Thu Mar 13, 2014 3:55 pm 
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Hey, dudes! We are leaving tomorrow after a delightful week and I wanted to check in and add a few recommendations.

First of all, if anyone ever plans on visiting Izamal, the "yellow city," I cannot recommend highly enough the Hotel Macanche B&B. Izamal itself is kind of small and while they're trying to kickstart their tourism industry, it's still lacking a lot of basic infrastructure (such as, say, a clear sign outside of their tourist info office). That said, you could easily spend an entire day just relaxing at that hotel. Breakfast is included, which for us vegans means fresh fruit and bread and jam (sadly, the breakfast entrees are all eggs and pancakes). There is an extensive dinner menu, however, and I had the chance to try both the vegetable empanadas and the vegetable enchiladas and they were fantastic and filling. Just be sure to ask for the enchiladas without the little squirt of sour cream on top (sin crema, por favor). Overall, two nights and four meals cost us a little over $154 US and it was a PARADISE. Oh, and there are three friendly resident cats who love to cuddle and make belly biscuits.

Back in Merida, we had the opportunity to check out Savia (Calle 59 at 54 and closed on weekends), an all-vegan prix-fixe café that appears to be Hindu-influenced. For 55 pesos ($4 US) you get an agua fresca (made with purified water of course), a soup, and a main plate with rice and salad. We enjoyed a jamaica (hibiscus) and mango-chaya (chaya is a local green also called 'tree spinach') agua fresca, both the vegetable and cream of cilantro soups, and I got a chilaquiles plate while my boyfriend got a soya filet in a very mild tomato-chili sauce (adobo chilis, I believe). I wasn't wild about it but of course was just happy to have a large, filling, and guaranteed vegan meal.

We also ate at Amaro again (and plan to return for a third time tonight). First time I had the soy protein enchiladas in tomatillo sauce and second time I had veggie fajitas. Both times it was ridiculously delicious. Dinner for two with a beer for me came out to about $20, so on the pricier side as far as Mexico is concerned, but totally worth it. My omnivore boyfriend said his chicken fajitas were the best he's ever had! Plus there is an amazing miniaturas store next door that I just want to pack up and take home with me- all of it!

We were looking forward to having Lebanese food, since Merida hosts the largest Lebanese-Mexican population in the Yucatan, but one restaurant appeared to be closed for good, and another appears to have recently changed chefs and/or menus and no longer has Lebanese dishes. There is one more restaurant we'd like to try but it is far enough away to require a taxi ride, and it's just too much of a gamble considering how it's turned out so far. No falafel for me!

Of course, if all else fails, I realized that no matter where you go, you can always just get a big ol' dish of guacamole and chips (or tortillas). I would be happy as a clam just eating that all day. Hope this is helpful to any other veganos heading down Merida way anytime soon!

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 Post subject: Re: Yucatan Peninsula eats (Mexico)
PostPosted: Thu Mar 13, 2014 4:12 pm 
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It sounds like you found a bunch of amazing eats! I feel like I eat fruit and bread for breakfast every time I go out of the us (and even in the us...). I can't wait till veganism invades breakfast more. But, there's probably no better place to get fresh fruit for breakfasts than somewhere near the equator!

I think we might take a trip to the yucatan very soon. Thanks so much for the recommendations. I hope you had an amazing time!

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 Post subject: Re: Yucatan Peninsula eats (Mexico)
PostPosted: Thu Mar 13, 2014 4:49 pm 
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Oh Erika, you are giving me the travel bug something fierce!

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 Post subject: Re: Yucatan Peninsula eats (Mexico)
PostPosted: Thu Mar 13, 2014 6:50 pm 
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I didn't see your earlier update but yay, I'm glad you have found plenty of tasty food! I'm also super jealous you got to sample chaya, it's a super duper traditional green.


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