As a Vegetarian Tourist, Here’s How to Plan Meals | Cara Spevick

By Cara Spevick | April 3, 2015

Since childhood, I have encountered people of all ages who are shocked to hear that I have never eaten meat. That’s right, I said never.

Recently, since becoming a bit of an adventurous traveler, I have been receiving the same puzzled expressions and critical remarks, but not just from strangers. When my husband and I announced our travel plans to visit Argentina and Brazil this past winter, friends and family did not exactly give me votes of confidence.

The common assumption, it seemed, among those who have never been to South America, is that only carnivores can enjoy the cuisine. Vegetarians, let alone picky ones like myself, could be up for a challenge.

After experiencing Buenos Aires and Rio de Janeiro as a hungry tourist, I can now admit that I was naïve to believe I would starve. In fact, I am more than happy to report that the food I ate in South America was hands-down more gratifying than a lot of what I’ve been served in the North.

By spending time in Argentina and Brazil, I learned that each country is heavily influenced by Italian culture (it’s actually a tradition in Argentina to eat pizza for dinner on Fridays and pasta for lunch on Sundays), and that sushi is popular no matter how far you are from home.

Healthy living is quite trendy in these places (which should be expected considering the focus on physical beauty), so smoothie bars are easy to find and acai bowls are the snack of choice. Even the steak houses have endless options for vegetarians, including hearty pastas, cheese plates and fresh salads.

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