Uruguayan cuisine is essentially synonymous with barbecued meat. You will see and smell the grilling everywhere: on the sidewalks, on the balconies, in backyards and restaurants. It’s a meat-eating culture and it’s very common for people to invite you to eat an “asado” (BBQ), to celebrate every single life-event. Uruguay is a cattle-raising country and the cattle industry is the principal economic sector in the country. So, one can imagine the resistance to a vegetarian or vegan agenda, even on the part of doctors and nutritionists.
This being said, veganism is growing in Uruguay, even though it’s a slow growth. Generally, people know that veganism is a “lifestyle” though they may not understand the meaning of it to the end. It’s seen more as a kind of fad.
Most of the vegan restaurants and availability of vegan food are concentrated in Montevideo (the capital). You should be happy there, with a few dozen vegan hangouts (not always restaurants, sometimes cafes, sometimes just a counter-top, some health-food shops carrying tofu and the such), but you’ll have to exert more effort to find vegan restaurants or vegan stores when you go outside the capital (see LOCAL FOOD page). This will be the time to book a place with a kitchen in order to do your own cooking. Do try the citrus fruits, they are famous all over the continent.
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