One of the big questions for vegan travellers is normally about the food prospects in the country they’re about to visit, but I can assure you, you don’t need to panic too much about this if you’re a vegan going to Saint Lucia. I was only there for a week so I only experienced a small percentage of the food it has to offer, but here are some of the options I came across.
If you’ve already travelled as a vegan a few times, I’m assuming you know that the first place you should head is probably the market. In Saint Lucia, the main market is in the capital city, Castries. There are people selling every day but the biggest day is Saturday. Aside from the market being a fun and colourful place to wander around, you’ll find avocados the size of your head which could last you an entire week, local fruits and vegetables, and of course the all important jelly coconuts.
Getting to the market is pretty easy – Just take any bus to Castries and stay on until the last stop, and then you should be able to see some vendors from where you get off, so just walk in that direction.
You should know by now to buy large supplies of fruit for when you can’t find a vegan meal you want to eat. Below is a soursop I bought at the market. If you’ve never tried soursop, I’d recommend you try it for its funky taste but also for its numerous health benefits. Just make sure you ask the vendor for one that’s already ripe (or at least ask how many days until it gets ripe).
Right next to the market, there are quite a few little food shops, including at least two ital shops (ital = rasta/vegan food). I actually only went to one of the ital shops because I really liked it so kept going back, not leaving any time for the other one. The name of the shop is Mokocho Veg Cuisine, and it’s opposite a really tall building called Castries Car Park. To find it, just look for the Castries Car Park sign at the top of a tall building and head in that direction. Another option is to ask a rasta for directions to Mokocho ital shop. This is the sign outside it:
It’s open from morning time (maybe 10am, not exactly sure) until about 4/5pm, and it’s open most days (sorry I can’t be more specific, but it’s known to be the ital shop that’s open ‘all the time’). If you go around lunch time, you can either get a meal aka a container with rice, bean stew, salad etc., or you can get one of the snacks displayed in the front of the counter e.g. rotis and veggie burgers. This is the actual menu, although it’s better if you just ask him what he has today:
The lunch container is 12 $EC which is about £4 in English money, so quite cheap. There are a few seats inside, and if you’re eating there you’ll get it on a plate which is obviously better for the environment than the Styrofoam containers. It’s quite a good spot for people watching because you can sit by the window that looks out to the market. The vibes in there are very friendly and relaxed too.
If you aren’t anywhere near an ital shop (confirm this by asking a rasta), you can still try your luck at a regular food place. If you go to a little local place that looks something like the photo below, you can probably at least get a snack.
Check in the heated display, and you should hopefully see “bakes” (also called “floats” in St. Lucia), and you should also see “dahls”. Bakes are basically puffy fried bread, so obviously not a nutritious meal, but good for emergencies:
Dahls are the better option, as they’re similar to bakes, but filled with split peas in the middle, so you get some all-important vegan protein. Be careful though, because some dahls have meat in the filling too, so just check before you buy it. Some of them look like bakes on the outside but some are wholemeal like this:
If you find yourself in Gros Islet, you should definitely go and sample the alkaline/vegan restaurant called The Ancient of Days. If you take the bus from Castries to Gros Islet, get off by the Sol gas station as you’re coming into Gros Islet, keep walking and take the second road on the left (Dauphin Road). You’ll then see the restaurant above a minimart about two minutes down the road. This is the sign outside the restaurant, so you can’t really miss it:
This restaurant is very focused on health (as you would expect from an alkaline place), and it’s a bit more expensive than the ital shops, but still not unreasonable. There were big slices of vegan pizza for $8EC (about £2.70) and I paid $20EC for a tasty plate of food and a green juice:
Other than this, there are also vegan options at most Chinese restaurants, and I know there’s an ital shop in Soufriere called Jah Lamb’s (apparently it’s open every day except Monday and Wednesday and the address is 5 High Street). You can also get veg rotis in some places. As usual, my advice is to ask rastas for ital shops and make sure you have some snacks at your accommodation (e.g. peanuts, bananas, crackers) in case of a vegan emergency.