Overall, I have been really pleasantly surprised with the availability of vegetarian options in Cusco. Before the trip, I was convinced that I would starve here and live off protein bars alone, but it really hasn’t been any harder to find veggie options here than in the States. The staff at Casa Elena adapted some of the lunch meals to accommodate me, which was really unexpected and nice. A lot of restaurants even have vegetarian menus, like the Blue Llama Café in Pisac. Not only have the vegetarian options been plentiful, but also really good. All of the food, including the veggies, has seemed pretty fresh, and lots of time and care is put into the preparation. A restaurant meal for the 10 of us takes at least 2 hours, even at places considered “fast food.” It’s worth it for quality food though. I like knowing that my food is actually being cooked fresh, not scooped pre-made out of a pot or something.
I’m certainly eating a lot more vegetables here than I typically do at home. I have a newfound love for verduras saltadas—I’m going to have to find a good recipe to make it myself when I get home. I also love the availability of Asian food here, because Asian food always has veggie options.
However, I’ve eaten a lot less fruit than I expected I would. It seems like fruit is most often consumed as fresh juices. Everywhere we go there are various fresh-squeezed jugos, something not seen often in the States. I’ve also been shocked at how many unfamiliar fruits there are here—I really thought I’d heard of every fruit, but I keep seeing fruits I’ve never seen before, like the granadilla. The produce is really different from home—not only are the types of fruits different, but familiar fruits are nearly unrecognizable. For example, the lemons are tiny and a little green, like limes, and the corn has kernels as big as my thumbnail. It’s been fun seeing how different the fruits are. I’m hoping to return to the market and buy fruit when we get back from Machu Picchu.