It feels ironic to be writing this post today. We’re back in Argentina, visiting the small town of San Ignacio Mini. Forget the idea of finding vegan treats here, the fruit and vegetable selection is limited. On our first night, John and I split a package of flax seed crackers for dinner. The previous night, while visiting Iguazu Falls, we had Subway vegetarian subs. When pickins are slim, we make do. When good vegan food is within reach, we seek it out and enjoy every bite. This post is all about the high times, finding amazing vegan treats in the land of Brazil.
Pay per kilo restaurants are everywhere in Brazil. They’re very popular and well known for being cheap and quick. We ate at four pay per kilo buffets while visiting Rio de Janeiro and Florianópolis. We found there was always a lot of variety and enough vegan options to keep us happy.
The last time I had hummus I was in Buenos Aires, Argentina. It wasn’t homemade or freshly prepared. It was hummus in a jar. I only needed to try one bite to confirm my suspicion that hummus in a jar isn’t a good idea. Tahini is expensive in South America and not readily available, making fresh hummus hard to come by. In Florianópolis, we found Chårütü’s, a restaurant that serves up Indian, Arabic, Caribbean, Mexican and vegetarian food. They’re not a vegetarian restaurant but their menu includes vegan-friendly samosas, falafel, salads and a variety of delicious dips.
After leaving Punta del Diablo, Uruguay, we took five buses and traveled almost 24 hours before reaching Florianópolis, Brazil. Over the course of three short days we had a chance to visit some of the island’s 42 beaches, sand surf, drink lots of Brazilian caipirinhas and participate in some of the carnival street parties. We had no problem finding vegan food near our hostel in Barra da Lagoa. We ate at a few restaurants but the highlight was the abundance of local fruit.
We just spent four days in Punta del Diablo, Uruguay, a small fishing village with great beaches and a bohemian atmosphere. After spending the first night in a hostel, we realized we could stay in a private cabaña for almost the same price.
When we checked into our first cabaña, I screamed with joy when I saw we had a blender. We were able to make homemade smoothies for the first time since we started this trip. Using the local fruit that was available, we blended up an orange, mango, nectarine, pear and apple smoothie. Yum! Paired with whole wheat toast and peanut butter, it was the perfect birthday breakfast.
If you search for Punta del Este, Uruguay on HappyCow, you’ll find there are no listings for vegan or vegetarian restaurants. Zero. Usually every city has one, or at least a health food store. You’d think there would be a juice or smoothie bar to serve a community where the main sport is strutting in your swimsuit. No such luck.
Having no appealing restaurant options, we opted for cooking all of our meals at the hostel. We stayed at Hostel 1949, where we had access to a well equipped kitchen.
When we arrived in Montevideo, Uruguay at 6:00 a.m., we decided to grab some breakfast at the bus station. Settling for what was available, we split a fruit cup and some toast, which we smeared with peanut butter we carried with us from Buenos Aires. When traveling in South America, you may see people spreading what looks like peanut butter on toast but don’t be fooled. It’s dulce de letche, the super popular caramel-like spread that’s made from sweetened milk. I’ve heard rumours that there’s a soy milk version out there somewhere and am keeping an eye out for it. In the meantime, we will be carrying our sacred jar of peanut butter with us.
Everytime I spot vegan-themed street art, I squeal with excitement. It makes me so happy, I can’t help it! I dare say it’s more of a thrill than finding money on the street. Here are some pictures of vegan graffiti I’ve come across in Buenos Aires.
Fainá and Fugazza are two popular items you’ll find on menus at almost every pizza shop in Buenos Aires. Traditionally, they’re made without cheese and are vegan friendly. Heck, Fainá is even gluten free. It’s not everyday that a local favourite just happens to be vegan. When I learn of such a dish, I can’t help but make a point of seeking it out.
Buenos Aires Verde is an organic vegetarian restaurant and one of few places where you’ll find raw food in the city. Conveniently located just a few blocks from our apartment in Palermo Hollywood, it was only a matter of time before we strolled over for a lunch date.