Vegan Guide to Mexico City CDMX

I spent a long weekend in Mexico City and was blown away by the vegan options. Veganism is booming in this city, and the food was phenomenal. Veganism hasn’t spread to be mainstream yet, so I found the most plentiful options to be in all-vegan restaurants. However, It was pleasantly surprised to find vegan options in two non-vegan spots (listed below). Note that the other non-vegan restaurants I ventured into had little on the menu that could be veganized, so I’d recommend sticking to well-researched restaurants.

Here’s a roundup of the spots I liked, with my favorites first.

All-Vegan Restaurants

Por Siempre Vegana

This place is my absolute #1! It’s an outdoor stand with 15+ different taco options ranging from about $0.50-1.00 each. They also have tortas, flautas, etc. My favorites were chimichurri, the big bebe, and the gringas (a loaded quesadilla-like dish).

Los Loosers

This restaurant is upscale Japanese-Mexican fusion. It’s an incredibly hip place with great vibes. I tried the taco omakase with 6 different kids of tacos and devoured them all. If you need a break from Mexican food, they have some Japanese style dishes, such as ramen.

La Pitahaya Vegana

La Pithaya Vegana is known for their bright pink tortillas. Everything here is absolutely beautiful and very photo-worthy. Instead of using mock-meat, all of their fillings are veggie based. I especially loved the cauliflower taco (on the front left with yellow sauce).

Gatorta

Gatorta is a street stall specializing in tortas (Mexican sandwiches). They have a variety of fillings you can choose from. I tried al pastor and milanesa, I much preferred the al pastor. We tried tacos from here too, which we maybe liked even more than the torta.

Vegamo MX

Vegamo MX is a tiny spot located in the central historical district. We went here for breakfast and had coffee, smoothie bowls, and chilaquiles (a dish of tortilla chips simmered in salsa, which is typically eaten for breakfast). I loved the mole chilaquiles.

Forever Vegano

Forever Vegano is another hip vegan spot. We sampled all three tacos on their menu and most liked their seasonal taco. One warning, the name is fitting… because it took forever for our food to come out.

 

Non-Vegan Restaurants with Vegan Options

El Palenquito

We ended up at El Palenquito, a mezcal bar, looking to drink after we’d already been sipping micheladas at Lucha Libre (which was a great time, by the way). I planned to leave the group to grab food on my own, assuming there’d be nothing I could eat, but was so excited to find that El Palenquito had vegan options. Our table shared tons of guacamole, naturally. In addition, I had two tostadas, one with mushrooms and one with lentil “ceviche.”

 

Carmela y Sal

Carmela y Sal is perfect if you’re looking for an upscale spot to eat with non-vegan friends. It’s a beautiful restaurant with new-Mexican style food. There are four vegan items on the menu: hummus chipotle y poblano, ensalada de betabel (beet salad, which was honestly one of the best salads I’ve had all year), tostadas de mentiras (coconut tostadas which come with two styles, one like ceviche and one more like pulled pork/chicken), and delicia de mango (a mango, coconut, and tapioca dessert).

Mexico City is a wonderful place to eat and explore.

Vegan Guide to Pai, Thailand

Pai is a hippie backpacker town and is an absolute vegan paradise. The best things to do are all outdoors (hikes, waterfalls, hot springs) and the vibes can’t be beat.

I planned to stop in Pai for three days, but I got sucked in and ended up working at a hostel and staying for almost a month. Given that, I’ve tried tons of the spots around town and have many recommendations.

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Restaurants (not walking street stalls)

Organized in order, with my favorites first.

Chew Xin Jai:

  • My FAV place in all of Pai. I went for breakfast every day.
  • Pick and choose rice + veggie dishes 8am-5pm. I recommend goingย  for breakfast or lunch.
    • Extremely affordable, just 35B for 2 dishes, 45B for 3.
  • They also have the best Khao Soi (a regional specialty) for 45B!

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Blossom:

  • My favorite of the hipster vegetarian cafes with the best food and smoothies.
  • Hands down, favorite dish is the pulled pork sandwich (made from mushroom).
  • Close second is the tempeh burger (150B and well worth it).

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Hi guys! ๐Ÿ‘‹ Iโ€™ve been off the grid getting my zen on (read: meditating) for the past 3 days & now Iโ€™m back in civilization.๐Ÿง˜๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ๐ŸŒ† I left Pai and have a few days to spend in Chiang Mai & Bangkok (but lots of Pai latergrams are coming). ๐Ÿ‡น๐Ÿ‡ญ @blossom_pai quickly became my favorite trendy cafe in Pai, because their food is outright incredible. ๐Ÿคค Pictured here is the tempeh burger topped with sauerkraut, lettuce, onions, cucumber, tomato, and an insane aioli. ๐Ÿ” This spot is a MUST VISIT in Pai. ๐ŸŒฟ It cost 140B, about $4.50, making it my most expensive dish in Pai, but is WELL worth it! ๐Ÿ‘ #tempeh #tempehburger

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Penโ€™s Kitchen:

  • GREAT curry. I love the massaman and red.
  • 80B with rice.

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Earth Tone:

  • The most well known hipster vegetarian cafe. More expensive, a lot of entrees are around 100B (which is still just a few bucks).
  • I like the pesto and tempeh sandwiches, but think the dessert is even better than the savory food.
  • Highly recommend the raw banoffee pie, ice cream, and banana split on a waffle (I shared this with friends twice).
  • Homemade kombucha is really good, but a bit sweet. The ginger cinnamon flavor is my fav.

Air Restaurant:

  • Delicious and cheap Thai restaurant. Many meals (noodle dishes, stir fries, etc.) are 35B.
  • Their green curry is delicious! Curry + rice is 60B.

Art in Chai

  • Hippie dippy cafe in town.
  • Good vegan mushroom burger

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Fav Walking Street Stalls

Organized in order, with my favorites first.

The walking street comes alive at 5pm when tons of food stalls line the streets and start serving.

Salads by Kwan

  • Burmese tea leaf salad was my FAVORITE dinner in all of Pai. These salads are packed full of goodies and are incredibly flavorful.
  • Tea leaf salad is 60B, 80B if you add avocado (which is totally worth doing)!

Curry Puffs

  • Sweet coconut is unreal.
  • I also love the veggie one. Tofu massaman is a good, too.

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Spring Rolls

  • I love the tom yam, green curry, and yellow curry ones. 10B each, or 3 for 20B.

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Gyoza Stall

  • Veggie gyoza. 5 for 20B, pretty good.
  • There is another gyoza stall that has veggie and meat options. They’re more expensive and also good.

Tropical Salad Stall

  • Walking street tropical salad stall. Good and healthy.
  • I love the peanut sauce she makes for each wrap/salad.

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30B Smoothie Stall

  • Smoothie stall with the best price I saw in all of Asia… 3 fruits mixed for 30 bhat!!
  • They have an incredible fruit selection. You can also choose spinach or ginger as one of your “fruits.”
  • See map screenshot below for approximate location.

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SmoothieMap

Where to Stay (Hostels)

Common Grounds:

  • GREAT atmosphere. Free pub crawl every night that leaves at 9pm.
  • Located right on walking street, location could not be better.
  • A bit more expensive than some other spots around town, dorms are about $10 USD a night.

Jazz House:

  • Right on walking street.
  • Only one large dorm with 15 beds.
  • Fun pub quiz trivia (Thursday nights) & live music (many nights)
  • About $6 a night

 

Favorite Things to Do

  • Waterfalls: Mor Paeng or the one by the land split. Both are nice.
  • Land split is worth going to, especially because of the farm where you get to sample tons of locally grown goodies!
  • Rent a motorbike, only 100B a day. Much better than doing one of the tours.
  • Pai Canyon is lovely.
  • Meditation at Good Life Cafe (M, W, T, F at 11am). Check that it’s happening, as it only goes certain parts of the year.
  • Spirt Bar has great live music and the chillest vibes.
  • Boom Bar is the best place to dance.
  • Lalita Massage Parlor has the best massages in town.

Favorite Non-Vegan Restaurants (with Vegan Options) in NYC

I love to eat at non-vegan restaurants; sometimes I’m eating with a mixed-diet group, other times I’m looking to get out of my vegan bubble. Whatever it is, here are some of my favorite non-vegan restaurants in the city!

The List

Superiority Burgerย – East Village, Manhattan

  • A tiny vegetarian spot from a former Del Posto chef (Brooks Headley) with some of the most innovative and exciting food in NYC. This place is really special and I can’t recommend it highly enough.
  • Favorite dishes: the new creation, TFT (Mondays only), and the gelato/sorbets.

Paulie Gee’s – Greenpoint, Brooklyn

  • My favorite whole-pie pizza spot in NYC, complete with a full vegan menu including jackfruit, vegan sausage, vegan cheese, and MORE. Keep in mind that it gets crowded, so get there early if you want to avoid a wait, but if you do need to wait it out, I’d recommend grabbing a beer atย Brouwerij Lane.
  • Favorite dishes: Chopโ€™t โ€™Til You Drop &ย Vegan Regina + Sausage

Mala Project – East Village, Manhattan

  • Sichuan dry pot filled with mouth-numbing Sichuan peppercorns. You pick your ingredients and your spice level.
  • Favorite ingredients: wood ear mushroom, Chinese cabbage, tofu skin, five spice tofu.

Cocoron – Nolita, Manhattan

  • Soba noodle spot withย tons of clearly marked vegan options.
  • Favorite dishes: vegan mera mera dip soba

Ramen Ishida – LES, Manhattan

  • Tiny, unfussy ramen joint in LES. They haveย four different vegan ramen options!
  • Favorite dishes: vegan shoyu ramen

Punjabi Grocery & Deli – East Village (almost LES), Manhattan

  • Casual 24-hour vegetarian indian spot with a small counter to eat at. They’ll have an array of dishes prepared and just ask which are vegan! Popular with cabbies, east village residents, and just about everyone.
  • Favorite dishes: Really, just try anything vegan.

Van Leeuwen Ice Cream – LES, Manhattan

  • The best vegan ice cream I’ve ever had. It’s coconut and cashew based.
  • Favorite dishes: try their seasonal specials, but my go-to is the chocolate chip cookie dough.

 

Vegan Guide to Chinatown, Manhattan

If you know me, you know that I spend A LOT of time in Chinatown. It’s my favorite place to buy groceries (on Mott street), get a massage (at Renew Regal Spa on Canal), and grab a meal (at the spots below).

Here are a list of my 8 favorite restaurants in Chinatown and what you should order at each.

Bodhi (formerlly Buddha Bodai), Mulberry Street

  • Vegan dim sum
  • Favorite dishes: cha siu bao, sticky rice in lotus leaf, sweet sesame balls

Vanessa’s Dumplings, Eldridge Street

  • Vegan dumplings, pancakes, and noodles
  • Favorite dishes: sesame pancake with vegetables, vegetable dumplings

Saigon Vietnamese Sandwich Deli, Broome Street

  • Bahn mi sandwich shop. Go early, because they often sell out before 7pm.
  • Favorite dishes: vegan curry chicken banh mi (plus, they have 3 other vegan sandwiches)!

Yaya Tea Garden, Grand Street

  • Boba shop with great onigiri (rice balls), including some May Wah proteins
  • Favorite dishes: seaweed salad onigiri, vegan gong bao chicken onigiri. Also, grab a tea!

Cocoron, Delancey Stret

  • Soba noodle shop with tons ofย clearly markedย vegan options
  • Favorite dishes: vegan mera mera soba

Spicy Village, Forsyth St

  • BYOB hand pulled noodles
  • Favorite dishes: spicy vegetable huimei, vegetarian chicken huimei, veggie dumplings

Nynoya, Grand St

  • Malaysian restaurant. Only one vegan option, but it’s great!
  • Favorite dishes: vegetable clay pot

Lalito, Bayard St

  • Healthy-ish trendy new american with clearly labeled vegan options
  • Favorite dishes: vegan caesar salad, coconut grits (which are no longer labeled as vegan, so ask first)

Vegan in Japan (Tokyo & Kyoto)

I spent 10 days in Japan back in February with a group of 5 (two vegans, three omnis). We stayed mostly in Tokyo and Kyoto and had an absolute BLAST. We spent time visiting temples, chilling in cat cafes, soaking in onsens (highly recommend), and wandering about.

..but, let me be honest, Japan was the hardest place I’ve been as a vegan. Animal ingredients are lurkingย everywhere.ย The worst offender isย dashi, this fish broth hides out in just about everything. Still, with some work, and with some help from Happy Cow / Yelp, you’ll be able to manage.

Here are my favorite eats from the trip.

Tokyo

T’s TanTan is anย absolute must for any vegan in Tokyo. It is located in the massive Tokyo station, follow the signs for the Keiyo line. Note: you need a JR ticket to access the restaurant (use your rail pass if you have one). I loved the shiro spicy ramen and the gyoza.

Kyushujangara Harajukutenย , near Harajuku, has one vegan ramen option on the menu! It’s a great place to go with a group of meat-eaters, too.

Afuri has one vegan option. Honestly, it was my least favorite ramen of the trip, but it was still pretty tasty.

Organic Table by Lapazย is a super trendy (and a bit expensive) vegan cafe. I really enjoyed my teriyaki tempeh burger. I chose a rice-based bun and got nuggets instead of fries.

Ripple is the most casual of the Ain Soph restaurants (a group of vegan restos in Tokyo). I got the chicken burger and it was quite tasty. It reminded me more of a fish burger, given the tarter sauce, but was tasty nonetheless.

Kyoto

Momokuteki Cafe is a super cute veg-friendly cafe in Kyoto. This restaurant made me realize central dashi (fish broth) is to Japanese cuisine. The restaurant serves no meat, dairy, or egg, BUT a bunch of the dishes have fish broth in them. Thankfully, they’re clearly labeled.

Conveyer belt sushi became one of our mainstays. Musashi Sushi was the first one we tried. They have a bunch of veg options, and you’ll probably get your rolls made fresh for you, because they don’t have tons of the cheap veg ones going around the conveyer belt.

We also wanted to hit up Vegans Cafe, but didn’t make it.

Other Eats

Here are some things I ate that you should be on the lookout for!

7/11 is HUGE in Japan (as it is in other parts of Asia). I loved snacking on the onigiri rice balls and inari tofu pockets stuffed with rice. But beware, I picked up this innocent looking packet of pumpkin and later learned that even the pumpkin has fish broth (UGH).ย On the topic of 7/11, I found this youtube video featuring 7/11 vegan options to be super helpful.

Be on the lookout for various types of mochi-type items. I LOVED these mitarashi dango. They are chewy rice balls in a sweetened soy sauce glaze.

While I can’t confirm that this was 100% vegan and didn’t have dashi lurking within, I’m hopeful that it was. I picked up thisย udon in soymilk broth in a train station.

Japan is a lovely place, but the vegan scene there is pretty early stage and the food is not very vegan friendly. People often wanted to bring me fish when I said no meat and I’m pretty sure that I accidentally and unknowingly ate a decent amount of hidden animal products (namely dashi).

It’s hard to eat vegan there, but with a little effort, it is absolutely possible!

Best Vegan Restaurants in NYC

I’ve lived in NYC for about two years and have sampled most of the vegan food this city has to offer. Us New Yorkers are #blessed with some of the best vegan food in the world. Gone are the days of granola, hippie vegan restaurants where everyone seems ready to break out into song; today, you can get any kind of experience at NYC’s vegan restaurants, from junk food to high-end tasting courses.

This list is strictly focused onย fully vegan restaurants. Another list is coming with favorite restaurants with vegan options.

Top 4 of All Time:

Other Favorites:

Top 4 of All Time

These are the four restaurants that I will drop anything to go to. They are all affordable spots that you can go to time and time again.

Screamer’s Pizzaria (Greenpoint, Brooklyn)

  • The BEST vegan pizza slices
  • Favorite dishes: the buffalo cauliflower, chorizo, grandma pies

Veggie Castle (Queens)

  • Counter service Caribbean food. It might be out of your way, but it’s well worth the visit!
  • Favorite dishes:
    • From the hot bar: lo mein, kale (or whichever other greens they have), curry chicken, drumsticks
    • From the grill: BBQ jackfruit sandwich
    • Other: The patties (kale & fish are my favorites). Seriously do not leave without trying one.

Orchard Grocer (Lower East Side, Manhattan)

  • Vegan deli with unreal sandwiches. Note that seating is limited.
  • Favorite dishes:
    • Breakfast: The Bowery (like a bacon, egg, and cheese… but better)
    • Lunch or Dinner: The Rocko + Avocado (tempeh bacon, lettuce, tomato, which goes to the next level when you add avo)
      • They often have awesome sandwiches on special, so find out what’s special that day.

Bodhiย (Chinatown, Manhattan)

  • Vegan dim sum
  • Favorite dishes: cha siu bao, sticky rice in lotus leaf, sweet sesame balls

 

Other Favorites

Truly great spots.

Mother of Pearl (East Village, Manhattan)

  • Trendy asian-fusion tiki bar.
  • Favorite dishes: char siu buns, edamame dumplings, avo & ricotta toast
  • Favorite cocktail: tide is high

Ladybirdย (East Village, Manhattan)

  • Upscale vegan small plates.
  • Favorite dishes: baby corn, mushroom and onion toast

Marty’s V Burgerย (Kips Bay, Manhattan)

  • The BEST kind of vegan junk food burger spot.
  • Favorite dishes: crabby patty, kale salad

Bunna Cafeย (Bushwick, Brooklyn)

  • Vegan Ethiopian
  • Favorite dishes:
    • Brunch: habesha breakfast
    • Dinner: get whatever size of the feast platter is appropriate for your group

Champs Dinerย (Williamsburg, Brooklyn)

  • Vegan junk food diner
  • Favorite dishes:
    • Brunch: hangover hash, bananarama pancakes (banana + chocolate chip)
    • Lunch/Dinner: mozzarella sticks

Avant Gardenย (East Village, Manhattan)

  • My favorite fancy vegan restaurant in NYC.
  • Favorite dishes: romesco toast, sunchoke toast, scorched cauliflower

Now, get to eating!

Top 5 Vegan Restaurants in Los Angeles

Los Angeles is where I turned vegan, so the city and it’s vegan offerings hold a special place in my heart. These restaurants blew my mind and taught me that vegans eat more than just tofu and kale (…no hate to tofu or kale). Here are my 5 must-visit restaurants anytime I’m back in the city.

The Short List:

  1. Plant Food for People Truck, Highland Park (typically)
  2. Burgerlords, Chinatown & Highland Park (not fully vegan, but great vegan options)
  3. Little Pine, Silverlake
  4. Vinh Loi Tofu, Reseda
  5. Donut Friend, Highland Park

Note: I didn’t even live in Highland Park, but HP just happens to be a vegan mecca!!

Plant Food for People (Traveling, but often Highland Park and DTLA)

  • The best jackfruit ever, which becomes amazingly similar to carnitas. It’s a great place to bring meat eaters; they’ll be amazed.
  • Favorite dishes: tacos with some combo of chipotle mayo, tomatillo, or coleslaw

Burgerlordsย (Chinatown and Highland Park)

  • My favorite grain & veggie patty veggie burger in the world. It’s not trying to be like meat and that’s what makes it perfect.
  • Favorite dishes: vegan cheeseburger & lord of the fries

Vinh Loi Tofu (Reseda)

  • Vegan vietnamese. It might be out of your way, but if you’re anywhere near Reseda, please stop in, this place is really special.
  • Favorite dishes: chicken curry noodles, duck fried rice

Little Pine (Silverlake)

  • Moby’s vegan restaurant where 100% of profits are donated to animal welfare charities.
  • Favorite dishes: Go here for brunch. I love the the grilled cheese & tomato soup, croissants, the breakfast sandwich, and the biscuits and gravy.

Donut Friend (Highland Park)

  • INSANE vegan donuts. They are just like the kind you ate as a kid, but with more grown-up flavors available, too.
  • Favorite Dishes: Green Teagan and Sara, MC5 Spice. If your donut doesn’t come with a filling, add one (my favorite isย the bavarian cream)!