Cuenca is a beautiful, colonial town in southern Ecuador. Narrow cobblestoned lanes, shaded streets flanked by colonial buildings and dotted with little shops, only to be interspersed by a church or two, at least a few hundred years old.

These interesting streets culminate in a central plaza called the zocalo where the locals hang out during the weekends, street carts sell local snacks and kids run around and play with pigeons. It’s the kind of place where I dream of when I want to belong to a community.

Thankfully, Cuenca is big enough and touristy enough to have good vegan food. A quick search on google will lead to plenty of results, so it’s really a matter of choosing the ones most convenient to your current location.

I usually make a list of the veggie places with their addresses and phone numbers and mark them on a map (available for free at a tourist office). If we happen to be near one during meal time, we check it out.

We stayed at Hostal Hogar Cuencana and we checked out the little international cafe just outside the hostel the day we arrived.

Bread with peanut butter, jam and cute little banana slices. Washed down with fresh black coffee. It is so satisfying to eat a comforting food like this in a foreign land.

We spent only a couple of days in Cuenca and that too was consumed by day trips, so our meals mostly comprised of fruits, snacks and other supermarket staples like bread and avocados. But we did go to the Govinda’s on Juan Jaramillo 7-27 y Borrero for a lovely Indian-inspired meal.

A vegetable curry with coconut milk:

Stir fried vegetables with rice:

A local sweet stall. They sell a variety of chocolate, fruit, milk and coconut based sweets. I spotted plenty of fruit based sweets.

At one time, we were walking down on a busy street after a meal and I spotted a restaurant selling a “vegano almuerzo”. I was bummed to have missed it.

Vegan meals in Cuenca, Ecuador

Nectar Veg Cuisine tea house & gallery, Benigno Malo 10-42 between Gran Colombia and M. Lamar streets. Phone: 2844-118.

Govinda’s on Juan Jaramillo 7-27 y Borrero