Latinos Are Embracing Vegan Mexican Food

by | July 20, 2018

Vegan Mexican Food, An Emerging & Welcomed Trend

Josh Scheper, a tall 46-year-old man, with locs in his hair, explained to NPR, that he felt out of place at the vegan Mexican food festival on a sunny Sunday morning, but loved it nonetheless.

While people lined up at stalls for Mexican food, it was noticeable that everyone was young and Latino, but the food wasn’t your usual ‘mushrooms from the hills of some far off land and $1,000,000 for a burger’ – it was reinvented meaty classics that were the heart and soul of Mexican cuisine.

On offer were traditional dishes such as spiced pork from central Mexico, and sweet bread – ranchera music kept the lively atmosphere alight.

Scheper stared in awe at it all. “[I’m] happy to not have white hipster vegans run all the vegan stuff,” he finally said, tongue only somewhat in cheek.

 

Vegan Latino cuisine has received some mainstream attention this decade, from New York City (where Erick Castro shares his Puerto Rican creations on Instagram at How to Be Vegan in the Hood) to Colombian-American cookbook author Carolyn Scott-Hamilton in Miami.

However, on the West Coast vegan Mexican food has been gaining traction, with local festivals becoming the more mainstream, and occurring frequently in working-class neighborhoods such as Santa Ana, Ontario and Highland Park. The attendees aren’t the usual white hipster vegans that you’d normally see at festivals, but young hip Mexican-Americas who find out about them through social media or from friends.

vegan Mexican food

 

It’s hard to gauge how many vegan Mexican-Americans there are, but the vegan Mexican food isn’t too far removed from their ancestry. Prior to the conquest, most of Mexico’s indigenous were plant-based, all the meats came with the Spanish when they invaded.

“Many of our dishes are vegan by nature,” says Loreta Ruiz, who runs La Vegana Mexicana. “But just the word ‘vegan’ scares [Mexican] people. It’s like, ‘Our food is so rich and so beautiful, why are you going to alter it?'”

 

Story first appeared in NPR 

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