Vegetarians Vegans

Tourist establishments have learned to cater to their patrons, including vegetarians. However, being in the arid north, Baja's produce is not nearly as prolific as in other parts of Mexico. Most cities have a smattering of vegetarian restaurants and suitable offerings are usually easy to arrange at other places. One item of special interest to vegetarians is nopalitos: a Baja favorite, made by boiling, grilling or frying sliced cactus paddles and sometimes combining them with other ingredients, such as onions and cheese. Chiles rellenos, stuffed mild chilies, are another good option, but be sure to specify the ones filled with cheese rather than meat.

Most waiters in the larger establishments are knowledgeable about what they serve and are anxious to please. However they are often not aware of the specific requirements of vegetarians, and especially vegans, and may find the concept difficult to understand - most Mexicans do without meat only because they cannot afford it, and many Mexican vegetarians eat what they do purely because they believe vegetables are healthy, rather than for ethical or philosophical reasons - so you must make your requirements very plain. One specific problem is that your server may believe he is bringing you a vegetarian meal when the items have been flavored with beef or chicken broth, or cooked in lard. Just to be safe, you can ask ┬┐Tiene productos de carne, como caldo o manteca? ('Is it made with meat products, such as broth or lard?') The more upscale the restaurant, the better your chances of being understood and accommodated.

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