I'm often asked how the reality of being vegan is in a country that is dedicated to their love of all things cerdo (pig) and mariscos (seafood). Honestly, we don't find it to be difficult in the least.
First, I have years of experience in vegan cooking and knowing how to manipulate rather strange sounding ingredients (ume vinegar, chickpea miso, kala namak, tapioca starch, agar agar) into common taste profiles and textures. We don't eat boring salads or woody sandwiches around here; we eat foods full of sugar/fat/gluten. We are vegan for the animals, not our waistlines.
Second, the markets carry an amazing array of prepared vegan items, like that konjac-based shrimp in the po' boy picture above, and produce that is remarkable in its freshness and variety. Some items need to be purchased at specialty grocers, but even these stores are an easy 15 minute walk from the apartment. Third, we live in a Mediterranean city that gets quite a few cruise ships in port each year. Given the explosive growth of veganism around the globe, to keep Valencia marketable to the in-port tourists and those that are coming from the continent directly, restaurants here need to meet visitor demand for plant-based meals. The Spanglish Y'all map page is populated with the ValenciaVeganActionsVVA map of vegan and veg-friendly offerings around the city. Our piso is within walking distance of several places on this map, and grabbing a quick bite is never a problem.
There's also a vegan hack that I've used for years when going to restaurants that are not exclusively vegan. Often when you ask your server about vegan options, you will hear that they don't offer any. However, if you request the restaurant's allergen menu, you can quickly identify items that contain milk and/or eggs (and a bunch of other things like soy, seafood, etc) and avoid those. That is exactly how we found our favorite vegan chocolate & churros in Valencia. For those that are looking to visit Valencia, I've put together my top 4 places for quick, inexpensive vegan eats in the Torres de Serranos/Mercat Central/Plaza de la Reina area. If you've been here recently and you have more suggestions, please drop a comment and let me know what you found.
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