Vegetarians fare well in Lima, Peru.

Peru, like most countries in the world, are pretty heavy on the carnivorous side and not very understanding of why someone would choose to be vegetarian.  At least that was my impression entering Peru.  That has been blown out of the water.  Meat eaters will have their fill, don’t be mistaken, but there are lots of options for the herbivore.  I have been enjoying balanced, tasty and beautiful vegetarian meals in Lima.  Surprisingly, it’s angle is different here than the stereotypical granola hippy or uber high class cuisine.  The vegetarian restaurants here are filled with men…in suits.  The main angle at the majority of the vegetarian restaurants in Lima is health.  There’s a street in Lima Centro (just two blocks off Union) that has 3 vegetarian restaurants in a row offering 3 course lunches for about $2-3.  They have fresh juices, smoothies, and typical Peruvian food…without the meat.  They use a lot of carne de soya, which has a good texture and sops up the flavorful sauces really well.  I really like the variety of sauces I’ve been exposed to so far.  Hopefully I’ll get to learn how to make them soon.

I ordered a mushroom ceviche (which was sl. 6, or $2 us) and it was a huge pile of limey deliciousness.  Ceviche seems to be the national dish of Peru, at least on the coast.  They love fish on the coast.  It makes sense, it’s right there.  I was happy to see a veg version of it and it was very luscious.  On the bottom layer was roasted sweet potatoes.  On top of the sweet potatoes was a mound of mushrooms and carne de soy marinated in lime juice, cilantro and salt.  On the side of the plate was the usual scoop of fresh choclo (giant yellow corn kernels) and about a half of an avocado.

I ate at Govinda Restaurant in Miraflores (a suburb of Lima) for a Hare Krishna vegetarian lunch.  It was similar to the other restaurants in that it was classic Peruvian food with a vegetarian twist.  For sl. 9 (US $3), I had an emoliente which is a hot beverage made of different herbs.  It is pretty viscous, which makes me believe there’s aloe vera juice in it.  I can’t get anyone to explain to me the individual ingredients.  The appetizer was a vegetable and rice soup, which was hearty and full of rice, peas, corn and potatoes.  The main dish was skewered vegetables and fried tofu covered in a red chili sauce.  Dessert was sliced bananas in a fruit (pineapple?) syrup.  I love the menus.  They are a great deal and if you are ever in Peru, seek them out.  Lunch that fills your stomach for $3.  You can’t go wrong.  Take note that a menu is the multi-course daily special.  If you want to see a “menu,” ask for the carta.

2 Responses to “Vegetarians fare well in Lima, Peru.”

  1. nenucha Says:

    is not ale vera is flax seed what makes it viscous, and other ingredients are herbs like cola de caballo(dont know the name in english), cebada which is kind of barley but wild and looks toasted a bit and many other locar healthy herbs could be llanten , chicoria , lemon grass , etc
    And Yes the quality and prices are great. Cant find that in usa, Does someone know how to prepare soya meat at home?

  2. kimmykokonut Says:

    i think you are right regarding the flax seed making it thick. it is definitely a thickener. but the aloe makes it slimy and viscous. cola de caballo is a called horsetail in english. what type of soya meat? tofu and tempeh are easy to make at home. seitan (wheat gluten) is also relatively easy. but the processed soy fake meats i think are more commerically processed. i really like joanna’s chickn nuggets recipe if you need a starting point:

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