Good news for Vegetarians in Uruguay!
An opposing trend has been developing in Uruguay only in recent years. New restaurants have opened to launch meals to a growing demand of vegetarians. In a country where an average of 101 kilos meat per capita is consumed and the ranking of carnivore countries is first place, yes, being vegetarian is seen as an odd thing in Uruguay.
Today, after soybeans, meat products from Uruguay are the mostly exported and well positioned around the world and generate an annual turnover of over US$ 1,800 million.
Uruguay is a country ranked as highest consumer of meat due to various reasons, being the main one, Uruguayans love meat! The high quality conditions Uruguayan cattle grazes and the country’s tradition dating back to the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, when the gauchos who inhabited the area raised livestock and fed almost exclusively on their animals, makes the perfect combination for meat consumption.
Uruguayans who don´t eat meat or drink milk are like Russians who don’t drink vodka, it’s almost like treason! At social events and weddings, meat is the menu and all the servings include cheese, eggs or raw ham, or beef. Vegetarians are told to carrying tupperware to traditional week-end asados with friends but are offered multiple other options that are not so carnivorous, and the debate arises what are the healthiest ways to eat.
Although, home cooking in Uruguay has been influenced strongly by European immigrants, in the culture of eating out and fast food, there is no short supply of the traditional steaks, sausages in a bun and chivitos. The traditional dishes of Uruguay, which always include meat, have been in constant clash against vegetarians and until recently, it was hard to find a vegetable dish in popular restaurants apart from the traditional spinach ravioli. Eating out and not liking what appears on the menu, is the story of many vegetarians in Uruguay. Luckily, many restaurants in Montevideo are opening the world options and captivate lovers of sophisticated flavours.
Vegetarians Have Their Say
Vegetarians in Uruguay defend their recipes in the most carnivorous country. Free snacks, monthly meetings and radio programs are some of the initiatives that are used by vegetarians and vegans in Uruguay to promote their ideas and help breaking down prejudice.
This Vegetarian Union of Uruguay (UVU) always shares ideas in their monthly meetings exchanging recipes and answering questions about vegetarianism. To know for sure how many vegetarians are in Uruguay, the UVU launched a few weeks ago a census for vegetarians and more than 6000 people have been recorded but clearly, there are many more inferred from the observation of reality and the growing demand.
Veggies on the Go!
There are more options now, to escape from having pizza, the classic “ fainá “ and fries as alternative to avoid meat with different vegetarian dishes since many bars and food stalls offer at least one vegetarian dish, which ten years ago was not common.
So if you are a vegetarian visiting Uruguay, you are not alone. We invite you to experience more options with more variety of vegetarian menus to choose from.
Below are some of the most popular vegetarian restaurants in Uruguay.
• Namaste – located near the center, has adapted several traditional Uruguayan dishes and turned them into vegetarian options. Chivitos, meatloaf (vegetable), veggie burgers, sauces, all of them rich in nutrients and full of alternatives.
• Sabor Urbano – offers fast food with a healthy twist. No fried foods or fats, burgers with plenty of vegetables, which is good for those who are starting on the path of vegetarianism or veganism. It is owned by Russians who make special dishes that are very original to Uruguayan eyes.
• La Papa – was the first Vegan restaurant in Uruguay. It has a fixed menu consisting of burgers, zucchini or pumpkin spinach pie with quinoa, curried vegetables and seitan with dried tomatoes and pesto mashed potatoes. They also carefully select fresh and organic products.
• Bosque Bambu – to enjoy the huge variety of dishes offered by Bosque Bambu, it is best to arrive early, between 12:30 and 13:00. Salads, breaded eggplant, zucchini, sautéed dishes, seitan, tofu, vegan hot dogs, sushi, black rice, spring rolls, baked potatoes, sweet potatoes. It is always full and clearly meets the expectations of the dozens of people who visit it daily.
• La Mora Delivery – there a various restaurants offering vegetarian options in Punta Del Este, La Mora is a unique vegetarian restaurant in La Barra only for take away. The owner prepares very creative and healthy menus and keeps her clientele happy.
For more information regarding vegetarian options please contact us.
Mary Ann Thompson