Vegan food in Ecuador is plentiful and easy to find; however, vegan specialty foods and restaurants with vegan options are not as common so you may find yourself cooking a healthier plant-based diet at home more than you ever have.
Veganism and healthy eating are both growing in popularity in Ecuador, so you can now find Beyond Meat products as well as locally made vegan foods, especially in Cuenca, Vilcabamba and the more expat-friendly bohemian coastal towns like Olón, Montañita and Ayampe.
Mall del Sol in Guayaquil also has several vegan-friendly fast-casual restaurants like Freshii and Biscuits by Nané, as well as fine-dining places like NOE Sushi, which has two pages of vegan options (sin crema).
Salinas, Manta and most of the other mid-sized cities and small towns in Ecuador have a very poor selection of vegan or vegetarian options. Most Ecuadorian cuisine centers around fish and chicken so it can be difficult to eat out in these areas. Even the beans and rice, as well as some breads, are often not vegan since they’re cooked with lard (manteca).
If you’re a strict vegan or vegetarian, be sure to ask what ingredients are in the dish before ordering it. Here are some handy words to know:
- Manteca – lard
- Mantequilla – butter
- Leche – milk
- Huevos – eggs
- Pescado – fish
- Carne – meat
- Pollo – chicken
- Camarones – shrimp
- Cuy – Guinea Pig
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