Being vegan, or even vegetarian, is fairly rare in the Dominican Republic. Animal products, particularly meat and eggs, are dietary staples for a vast majority of families. People who are exposed to world-wide media tend to see veganism and vegetarianism more as passing fads than anything else, though veganism is growing in the circles of those who travel and have access to the latest information about healthy lifestyles.
It remains that Vegan and Veganism are rather new terms in the Dominican Republic. Most locals outside the tourist hotels and resorts will most likely not fully familiar with the word “vegano”. People who plan on traveling around the country rather than staying in a single resort, should learn a few simple words in Spanish to be able to properly communicate your vegan needs. Find our Dominican Republic Vegan Words tab to learn these.
If you are staying in a hotel, you’ll be fine if they serve buffet meals as you will find fruits, salads, corn, rice and other grains there. There are a handful of vegetarian friendly resorts worth checking out. In larger towns, vegan options or vegetarian options (that can be made vegan) are frequent in mainstream restaurants. Find our Dominican Local Vegan Food tab, to better know the vegan options available in the local cuisine.
Otherwise the local cuisine in the villages or countryside will almost always include animal products. Beware, the word “meat” is often used as synonym for “red meat”, hence specifying that you don’t eat poultry or fish is essential. There is also a “secret ingredient” frequently used in the local cuisine, which is concentrated chicken broth (known as “caldito”). Most Dominicans won’t categorize this as an animal product but more as a taste enhancer. You should specifically ask if the food is prepared with “caldito” to make sure your food is vegan.
Don’t forget to enjoy the fruits, either as juices or plated, especially the passion-fruits and pineapples, when in season. If you are staying longer and have your own kitchen, large supermarkets will carry a good number of vegan products such as plant-based milks, meats, snacks and sweets. To better know your vegan-ready-made food options be sure to check our Vegan Snacks & Stores tab.
Buy your veggies in the open markets whenever possible, though neither there nor in the supermarkets will you find a wide variety of leafy-greens. You will easily find corn, tomatoes, cabbage, okra, red peppers, plantains and mostly anything you need to be a healthy, happy vegan in the Dominican Republic.
The tropical capital of the Dominican Republic Santo Domingo is by far the most vegan friendly place in the country. Vegan restaurants offer some of amazingly tasty vegan foods. If you are looking to try veganized versions of Dominican foods you should check out the Raices Restaurant, and the Buffet Vegetariano for an extremely flavorful authentic experience.
Those of you who are searching for a more varied vegan restaurants with international foods should surly stop by Fresh Fresh Cafe SD.
Still have questions? Visit our Dominican Republic Forum tab to get all the answers.
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