Vegan eating in Bolivia
Bolivian food is heavily meat and potato based. I was told that it would even be hard as a vegetarian. Especially since there is a lack of kitchens in hostels in Copacabana and La Paz for example. So I am really happy that I found delicious restaurants with vegan options. Some of them opened recently. In Copacabana I stayed in a vegetarian/vegan hostel called Hostal Joshua. In La Paz I was very lucky to have had a great Couchsurfing host who is very interested in a whole-food, plant-based diet. I taught him how to make peanut butter and hummus. In Cochabamba I stayed with a wonderful family. Aida, the mum, cooked delicious food and made something extra that is vegan for me. Same for my host in Sucre who made me Papás a la Guancaina, a traditional Bolivian dish, an almost vegan version (contained eggs) one evening. That was sweet.
A meal in a vegetarian/vegan restaurant is between 20 and 45 Bs. Food in Sucre is most expensive. In La Paz food is very cheap. The famous peanut soup (sopa de mani) is worth a try. Just ask to leave out the meat if you do not eat meat. It comes with pasta and french fries.
I bought most of my food in little stores on the road and at big vegetable and fruit markets. Some examples: 1 avocado (2-8 Bs.), 1 pound tomatoes (5 Bs.), 25 bananas (8 Bs.), 1 pound peanuts (10 Bs.), 1 pound quinoa (8 Bs.), 1 pound chia seeds (10 Bs.), 1 pound peanut butter (12 Bs.). I only found the peanut butter in La Paz. Often in corners of big markets are women with massive pots of cooked beans, vegetables, and rice — offering plates for 5-10 Bs. The most famous Bolivian street food is Salteñas. Baked empanadas with mostly meat. Only a few only have vegetables inside. Supermarkets (e.g. Hipermaxi in La Paz) do have tahini (25 Bs.) and hummus.
Namas Té (vegetarian with many vegan options)
Paul, the owner, let me help to serve in his restaurant in exchange for the menu del dia which is always vegan (29 Bs.). Each meal starts with bread and a sauce. I had a lentil salad, vegetable fidelo soup, Sajta (a traditional Bolivian dish), and a juice. Everything was so delicious! Dishes from the menu are between 29 and 35 Bs. The oat cookie is a dream 🙂
Lupito Cocina Vegana
I had an amazing Calzone with vegetables and melted vegan cheese (20 Bs.). Still remember the taste of the cheese 🙂
Karott (100% vegan)
A new opened restaurant by such a sweet couple. All meals start with whole wheat bread and two delicious sauces. One spicy and the other with zucchini, cilantro, lime, and salt. The menu del dia changes daily (20 Bs.). I was lucky to be there when they served a typical Bolivian dish named Saice. Rice with vegan meat, peas, vegetables and tomatoes with onions that are sprinkled with vegan cheese. The soup that consisted of potatoes, green leaves, and nuts was delicious as well. The owner, Rodrigo, is very attentive and open-minded. His wife is behind the tasty dishes. Since the number of tables are limited and the restaurant is well-attended you share a table with somebody. I love that 🙂 It is possible to buy homemade peanut butter, tahini, and other delicacies.
Menta Restobar (vegetarian with vegan options)
Famous for their huge variety of burgers (29 Bs.). All available as a vegan option. So fresh, filling, and delicious! The falafels are crispy outside and warm, soft, and creamy inside. My couchsurfing host, an enthusiast meat eater, fell in love with the falafels. So did I. Drinks include healthy juices (10 Bs.). I loved the one called Remo: beet, apple, celery, and ginger. The restaurant has tasteful decoration and wifi. Check out their Facebook page for the menu del dia which comes with a salad, soup, and main course (21 Bs.). It is not always vegan.
Leo, the supervisor of Paprika, welcomed me very warm, advised me well, and we shared lunch together. They do not have a vegan meal per se but it is possible to leave out the cheese in some dishes. We had the Mediterranean quinoa that comes together with olives and dried tomatoes (43 Bs.). And we tried the Spring fetuccine that comes with lots of vegetables and mushrooms (56 Bs.). I could even visit the kitchen and see how they prepare the food. It was such an interesting and delicious afternoon.
El Germen (vegetarian with vegan options)
Dishes are big and delicious. The staff is very nice. All meals start with bread accompanied by a spicy ají sauce. The menu del dia which changes daily consists of a vegetable soup, two main dishes to choose from (one vegan), juice, and a desert (24 Bs.). One of my juices was with sesame seeds. Que rico 🙂 From the menu I tried Falafel with rice, peanut sauce, and cooked vegetables (40 Bs.). Such crispy falafels and tasty peanut sauce. The curry with vegetables is another vegan option from the menu. I ate there three times during my stay in Sucre and hope to go back one day.
Koi Sushi Bar Sucre
A new opened sushi place by such a warm hearted couple. I could feel that they devote all their love and time in their restaurant. The restaurant is not vegan per se but they do have a few vegan options and are very flexible. As an appetizer they made me crunchy vegetables tempura. The vegetarian spring rolls are vegan as well (4 pieces for 20 Bs.). I had Uramaki with avocado, sweet potatoes, and champignons (8 pieces for 45 Bs.) and Hotmaki especial con crema de palta. Such a delight!
An Arepas place. Not vegan but you can mix as you want. I had an arepa with avocado, beans, tomatoes, and fried plaintain (18 Bs.). Super delicious!
Condor Café (vegetarian)
I went there a few times for their delicious Cappuccino with soy milk. The menu del dia is vegetarian (25 Bs.). The only vegan option is a salad. But it is possible to get their Falafel sandwich which is served with salad, hummus and tabouli without the bread (contains eggs) and the yoghurt sauce (25 Bs.). The beautiful ambiente and board games invite to stay for a few hours. All profit goes toward community projects around Sucre.