There might officially be more veganos than vegans in America, but nobody is really keeping track of Latino-American diets. For all the veganos out there looking for their next food-tour vacation, forget Portland. Los Angeles is where all of the best vegan tacos and Mexican food calls home.
Almost every taco truck would be able to accommodate you, and, yes, know whether their frijoles are vegan, because we’re everywhere in L.A. In such a competitive market for hungry vegan Latinos, we’ve generated a list of the top vegan tacos in Los Angeles. If you’re not hungry now, you’re about to be.
1. Cena Vegan
Cena Vegan’s fame is all in their homemade vegan meats. The meats are so good that you can order them in bulk to use at home. At the truck, you can get carne asada, pollo asado, al pastor and a gluten-free carnitas meat option. Then, you add it to tacos, burritos, nacho boats, etc.
This Instagram reviewer puts it bluntly, “literally how are these vegan HOW. @cenavegan you’re magic.”
They’re a winner for obvious reasons.
You can try all four taco meats and get four tacos for $11, without having to worry if the beans are cooked in lard, or if the crema is really vegan. It’s all vegan and so good.
2. Vegatinos Food Truck
They love to serve up their vegan shrimp tacos. The few times we can find vegan shrimp are usually at all-vegan Asian restaurants. Shrimp tacos?! Only in Los Angeles.
At Vegatinos, you can get suadero and chicharron tacos before enjoying some vegan flan. 😭
Quintin L. had some interesting things to say about Vegatinos in his Yelp Review. “I’m so in love with these freaking rockstar tacos… it feels like cheating on someone because everything tastes so good that it feels like you’re doing something naughty.”
3. Plant Food for People
PPFP isn’t making high-protein vegan meats like Cena, but they’re keeping it classic in a different way with signature jackfruit tacos made four different ways. Plus, you can also get their breakfast tacos made with tofu and potato scramble if you get there early enough.
4. Hijo De Su Madre
From left to right, we have a beer-battered avocado, chipotle crema, and pepita slaw; soyrizo, potato hash, and guac; Beyond Meat cabbage, avocado, secret sauce. That’s not even all their options because Hijo is all-vegan.
5. Dear Mama LA
You definitely want to check out this Latina-owned taco spot when you are in LA. Her caption reads, “This hood inspired traditional flavor is just what summer needed. Our citrus marinated chick’n or Hood Chick’n will have you reminiscing on the days you were a kid and you had carne asadas with the family. This hood staple of yellow looking chicken was what most kids enjoyed! So I’m bringing it back to you with a whole lot of love. We marinate it to perfection with oranges and bell peppers and of course love 🥰🙆♀️🔥”
6. Trejo’s Tacos Fried Avocado Tacos
Danny Trejo has outdone himself with a chain of authentic Mexican tacos all around Los Angeles. Danny knows his clients well by offering the only version of an avocado toast we want to have for breakfast: Fried Avocado Tacos.
You should also check out their Cauliflower Chorizo Tacos.
Listen, his taco game is on point. Trejo’s alway has at least three vegan options on the menu. As of June 2019, he has Young Jackfruit with avocado crema, Mushroom Asada with pepita pesto, and Cauliflower with cashew cream.
7. Doomies Home Cookin’ and Doomies NextMex
Doomies is best known for replicating America’s favorite meat dishes (like fried chicken, and Big Macs) but vegan. The reviews are in and Next Mex is where it’s at.
8. Gracias Madre
This restaurant is reserved for those special nights out. It’s LA prices, but it’s outrageously delicious. You can expect to enjoy all your vegan favorites from sopes to pozole, flautas and tamales. Their jackfruit carnitas tacos are rico. top it off with flan or pineapple upside down cake and you’ll be happy as a vegan clam.
9. Olga’s Naturally
All their taco tortillas are handmade using organic blue maiz from Oaxaca. They always strive to source organic and also offer vegan chicken as a protein option, alongside vegan cheese quesadillas. Yup.
10. Sage Vegan Bistro
It isn’t a taco joint but they do have great tacos. Plus, they know to call them street tacos. These are “made w/ marinated jackfruit, garlic aioli, cilantro and onions on an organic corn tortilla are served all day on weekdays and after brunch on the weekends! 🌮”
11. Organix LA
They take Taco Tuesday very seriously with $2 vegan tacos and 20 percent off all vegan burritos. All their food is vegan, and you can enjoy anything from deep-fried vegan fish filet tacos to classic carne asada style grilled mushroom tacos like the ones you see above.
12. Chica’s Tacos
Chica’s vegan tacos are made with spicy cauliflower chorizo and topped with a slice of marinated mushroom, avocado, and cilantro. You know they’re good because Chica’s stands by using only organic, never frozen ingredients to represent an authentic Méxican dish.
13. Un Solo Sol
They essentially offer a vegan version of almost everything on their menu ranging from nopalitos tacos to pinto bean pupusas. You know when you order veggie tacos at a non-vegan taquería and it’s just onions and pico de gallo? These guys load up their veggie tacos with actual veggies ricos.
14. Tacos La Tehuanita
Follow @tacoslatehuanita to get all the updates on where they’re parked tonight. “Yum! Come one, come all, come with hearty appetites,” are the types of rallying calls you can expect from them. You want to try the butternut squash tacos.
15. Taco Zone Truck
Yelp reviewer Helen J. Puts it best. “VEGAN AND VEGETARIANS WELCOME HERE. The tacos are cheap but full of flavor. We came down here after the Griffith Observatory and these tacos hit the spot! Great food truck, friendly service, and fast at that.”
16. El Chato Taco Truck
Folks rave about how you can feast and still have a pile of money leftover at El Chatos. While reviewers aren’t posting pictures of the vegan option, there are a dozen reviews about how delicious the veggie tacos are. It can never hurt to check it out.
Above are the two vegetarian options listed on the menu. We bet you could ask for it sin cotija, but the off-menu vegan accommodation is reportedly spicy. One Yelp reviewer said, “My friend who is vegan, was able to be accommodated at this place as well! He ended up getting the chiles correados taco. BEWARE!! It is extremely spicy ! But he really loved it !”
Latin American food is one of the richest in the world. It is the product of processes of colonization and cultural mishmash: indigenous ingredients and techniques, European complexity, African spice. Latin American food has it all and people the world over visit the region to taste both top restaurants and street staples that have survived for generations.
Here are a few of our many favorites, 17 dishes that preserve the colorful soul of the continent and the deceptive simplicity of highly complex creations. Buen provecho.
1. Not all tacos are created equal
Credit: Instagram. @trent_lindo
Oh, the wonderful taco, the epitome of Mexican food. The taco is a miracle of history: the corn from Meso American cultures, the fillings from animals brought by the Spanish and all tied together by the influence of Middle Eastern cuisine, which uses grilled meets and pita breads as staples. Tacos are miraculous and surprisingly healthy. Sometimes chefs get their fancy on and create authentic rainbows of gorgeous smells and flavors like this lobster and black bean variation. Very Baja! Yummo!
2. Some ceviches are prettier than others
Credit: Instagram. @naokoterada_happytravels
Ceviche is to Peruvian food what tacos are for Mexican cuisine. The Peruvian restaurant Astrid and Gaston, which often appears in the lists of top restaurants of the world, has achieved visual and culinary perfection with these little bowls of joy and beauty. Just look at the colors basically piercing our eyes and our souls.
3. Enrique Olvera, the superstar Mexican chef, is a Michaelangelo of the kitchen
Credit: Instagram. @promisetowrite
Enrique Olvera has taken Mexican food to the next level in his restaurants, particularly Pujol, which is often ranked among the best 15 in the world. Just look at these works of art. The darker mole in the middle of the last row has been simmering for years. Yes, literally for years! It is such a treat.
4. Ice cream macarons from a legendary Peruvian restaurant? Foodgasm alert!
Credit: Instagram. @devora
Astrid and Gaston again! But how could we not include these ice cream macarons, a very unique take on a classic from French patisserie? They have very Peruvian flavors, with local fruits being the core of the palette. Oh my, just by looking at them we start salivating.
5. Fried piranha skins are always pretty in a baroque kind of way
Credit: Instagram. @laurenfensterstock
Virgilio Martinez is the new superstar of Peruvian food. He travels his country in search of new and exciting ingredients, and his degustation menu is a trip through the geography of the South American country. He loves to surprise and confront, and what better way to do this than presenting the patron with a deconstructed piranha. It is beautiful just like bloody baroque art is: art is sometimes violent and decadent in its depth.
6. Quinoa never looked so chingonamente hermosa
Credit: Instagram. @thru.iphone
Among the ingredients that Virgilio has made his own is quinoa, the ancient grain that has fed indigenous Peruvians for centuries and that is now a staple of hipster food, even though its mass consumption means that many poor Peruvians can’t afford it now. Here it is presented in a dignified, natural, deliciously primal state.
7. When the plate is a canvas and ingredients a work of art
Credit: Instagram. @hungrysu
And really, we can’t think of a more exciting foodie destination in Latin America than Central. Just look at this plate, the colors, the perfect harmony and exciting combination of textures. If it is as pleasing to the taste as it is to the sight, we are all in.
8. No mordida on our cakes, please
Credit: Instagram. @unforgedible_Art
We couldn’t help but to include this cute and deceptively simple llama cake. It is a work of art that respects tradition, evades cultural appropriation and is just testament of a baking virtuoso. No mordida here, please…. you might be poked by that cactus!
9. A classic sculpture of culinary genius: mango with chilito
Credit: Instagram. @marylinmelissa
Not all gorgeous food needs to be fancy or high end. A staple of Mexican street food that has migrated to the Southern United States is luscious and it basically makes our culinary desire salivate. A simple fruit like mango is cut in intricate flower-like shapes and crowned by that proof of the existence of beauty: Tajin.
10. What? Mexican sushi? You bet, compa!
Credit: Instagram. @sushiittooficial
Mexicans have made sushi their own for the past two decades. Mexican sushi is unlike any other: it combines Japanese tradition with very local ingredients such as chili and chipotle mayo. Mango and chamoy are also often combined with meats, rice, and seafood. And Mexican sushi chefs sure make sure that it all looks pleasing to the eye and feels soothing to the hungry stomachs and souls of comensales.
11. Brazilians have elevated BBQing to a fine art
Credit: Instagram. @pitmasterbrasil
If you are a carnivore and you have not tasted a traditional Brazilian churrasco, then you are in for a treat. Brazilians sure know how to enjoy life, and getting together over a BBQ is a way of enjoying each other’s company. Brazilian grilled meats are crispy, salty and sooooo pleasing to the eye. Just look at these beauties, perfectly sliced and cooked to absolute perfection.
12. Alfajores are a bite del cielo
Credit: Instagram. @guolis
This Argentinian crumbly pastry filled with dulce de leche are gorgeous in a homey, cozy kind of way. Just by looking at them our hearts melt, become gooey like the dulce de leche that stretches as we sigh in pleasure. Try them for yourself if you don’t believe us.
13. Look at this dulce tradicional mexicano, though
Credit: Instagram. @eraserpens
One of the most overlooked treasures of Mexican cuisine are dulces tradicionales. Take these gummy fruit treats, for example, perfectly laid out in a spiral of sweet delight.
14. Seriously! We are nuts over these palanquetas!
Credit: Instagram. @fafalulu2
Nuts are a staple of Mexican candies. Peanuts, pepitas, and grains like amaranth are all stuck together with honey or piloncillo (cane sugar). These are so popular that you can even buy them from vendors in Mexico City traffic! Put them together, however, and they form an uncanny tapestry of symmetry that you could hang in a museum!
15. We don’t know if we should eat these or hang them on a wall and just admire them
Credit: Instagram. @fafalulu2
OMG! Look at these paletas! No kid can resist to them: they just hypnotize you with their twisty patterns and shiny colors. They speak of the joys of childhood and the talent of dulceros artesanales that are a true treasure of humanity. Everyday creativity on full display.
16. Nopales: the gorgeous green that takes us back to the beginning of time
Credit: Instagram. @sweetmolcajete
Sometimes the prettiest foods are pure ingredients. Take nopales, for example, a type of cactus that has been consumed for centuries. The vibrant greens and their infinite hues seem like an oil paint from Tamayo or Orozco, master painters who translated the palettes of nature onto their canvases.
17. And of course, nothing surpasses the brutal beauty of a trompo de pastor being caressed by fire
Credit: Instagram. @flavorsofjoy
But let’s be honest. Few foods despiertan tantas pasiones like tacos al pastor. They are a full-fledged attack on the senses: visually it is an incandescent carnal treat, its smell elicits dreams and memories, its taste has the perfect balance of sweet, salty and spicy. Doesn’t get any better than this.
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