Incase you aren’t following me on Instagram or Twitter (or Facebook lol), I just got back from a fantastic trip to Lima, Peru! It was awesome! I was down there doing a fun project that I can’t wait to share! There is a big misconception that a vegan has a hard time finding food to eat in Peru and I’m here to tell you, it was challenging, but totally doable! Here are my tips and tricks to getting by in a country filled with meats and cheeses.
Well, duh! This is not new advice to someone who is vegan. But it’s always good to travel with snacks no matter where you go because we all know there is nothing worse than being starving and it taking 25 minutes to find something to eat. There were no special meals served on my flight… always the worst! Good thing I left from Terminal 4 at LAX and bought enough delicious vegan food at Real Food Daily to last my whole journey down to Lima. As for snacks, I’m fond of the trail mix packs and dried fruit strips from Trader Joe’s. Be careful of trail mixes with chocolate in them. If you are going somewhere warm, you could end up with a big mess on your hands! I also always have packets of my friend Brendan’s protein shakes, Vega. They are small and in a pinch, they deliver all the nutrients you need.
Phrases to know
Soy vegana- I’m vegan
Yo no como carne, queso, huevos o leche- I don’t eat meat, cheese, eggs, or milk
Voy a tener la ensalada de frutas por favor- I’ll have the fruit salad please. (what you will be ordering a lot of)
It’s always smart to check out the local markets in any city! I found a few fantastic places in Lima. Mercado de Surquillo and Bioferia Organic Market on Saturdays. I load up on fresh fruits and veggies that can be eaten on the go. In Lima, I was blown away by the amount of produce I had never seen before! There were dozens of fruits from the rainforest with all sorts of flavors and nutrients. Peru grows over 3500 varieties of potatoes and so many cool varieties of corn!
Eating in Restaurants
*Almazen Stuffed Pepper and Pizza from Veggie Pizza
There are a handful of vegan and vegetarian restaurants in Lima. Check out HappyCow.net (always a great guide when traveling anywhere!) for the latest reviews on them. While there, I visited 2 veg restaurants: Veggie Pizza and El AlmaZen. Veggie Pizza was great! It’s an all vegetarian pizza place, but they will gladly leave cheese off of any of their pizzas. The restaurant is a new addition to the artsy, historic Barranco area of town, which I loved! This place is really great and if you are in that part of town, you should definitely check it out! Bonus: they have all vegan, all raw desserts! Alma Zen, the cities most famous vegetarian restaurant, did not live up to it’s reputation… All the negatives listed in the reviews are all true. We went for lunch. When we were seated there was only one other table for two in there. We promptly ordered and then waited… waited over an hour(!) Our food arrived with beautiful presentation and tasted really good. Not mind blowing, not hour-wait worthy, but certainly good. When the bill came it was 94s, which is 6 times what you would typically spend on lunch in Lima (including 15s for one bottle of water which is always 1s!). This place is definitely a skip for me. There are a lot more enjoyable ways to spend your time and money in Lima. In Miraflores, there is a great little sandwich shop called El Pan De La Chola making fresh bread and super tasty sandwiches! I have been gluten-free for awhile now, but I thought I would test out Peruvian gluten to see if it was different than US like in Italy (I’m totally fine with the gluten in Italy!), it’s not. I had one of the best sandwiches I’ve ever had in my life, and then a stomach ache But honestly, I would probably order the same sandwich again and just deal with it because it was that yummy! It was a crazy tasty foccacia bread with hummus, tomato, and avocado.
In the land of fascinating fruit, there is a fresh squeezed juice vendor on just about every corner. In rush hour traffic, they bring your juice right to your car. How cool is that?
Most restaurants will have an Avocado Salad on the menu. It’s typically a half avocado served with a creamy potato salad. If you order it with no mayonnaise (mayonesa), they can usually make it like this:
Most restaurants also serve this roasted this roasted Incan corn that is fantastic!
I was lucky enough to travel down there with one of my closest friends who also happens to be a professional photographer… Laura Grier took most of these amazing pics of our adventure. We went down to Paracas to see the penguins and crazy islands off the coast:
Next stop was to the pisco vineyards for a little tasting. Pisco is the traditional drink in Peru and made from grapes. Unlike wine, they distill the grapes like alcohol. It’s a serious drink that will definitely “put some hair on your chest”!
We continued further south down to Huacachina home of the highest sand dunes in the world and I discovered one of my favorite new sports: Sandboarding!! The town is a literal oasis in the desert and has some fantastic little hotels where rooms are about $60 US dollars!
Such an awesome adventure! I hope you make it down to Peru! I can’t wait to go back! I am dying to go to the highlands including Machu Picchu and Sacred Valley. Leave me a comment with any of your tips for traveling through Peru!