Like many other countries in South America, Ecuadorian cuisine is mostly meat based but unlike them, Ecuador doesn’t seem to rely much on proteins from the plant kingdom like beans or lentils, so it’s quite hard to find a satisfying meal that is vegan in a local restaurant.
Restaurant staff should understand when you tell them that you are vegano (or other Vegan Words) but clarify it just to be sure, as they might confuse it with being vegetarian. Hopefully they should be sufficiently aware not to frown when you ask for your pizza with no cheese.
Check Hazteveg the local website which compiles an impressive amount of info about veganism in central and South America. You’ll find there an extensive list of veg restaurants per country.
Chochos, the giant white beans will be on the menu relatively frequently as will potatoes and yuka, but you will be lucky if no cheese or meat has been sneaked in there for additional “taste”. Beware of bread as it may contain milk or cheese. Also dishes advertised as vegetarian are sprinkled with bacon, cheese or even meat pieces. Sometimes vegetarian only ads will mean that the main ingredient is vegetables.
The best cities for vegan food in Ecuador are Quito, Cuenca and Guayaquil that rock the vegan agenda. You should be struggling less to find vegan venues and food, though your favorite vegan foods from home will be hard to find (see Local Food page). In general, it may be easier to stick to the Chinese eateries (chifas) and Mexican restaurants with more vegan dishes.
Make sure to use our Vegan Snacks page to stock up on goodies before you leave the big cities.
As usual, the good news is that markets are full to the brim with great vegetables including prime avocados and exotic fruits. Make sure you have a place to cook them and enjoy the full benefit.
Still have questions? Visit our Ecuador Forum tab to get all the answers.
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