Mononoke Restaurant Cali Colombia

Day 171: Cali, Colombia

It’s a pretty strong statement isn’t it? Although I have a carnivorous blog title, the truth is that I don’t eat a lot of meat. A few years ago I joined the David Suzuki nature challenge and committed to eating meatless one day a week. Turns out that isn’t much of a sacrifice and at home I often had several meatless days a week.

To date my vegetarian experiences have been somewhat unfulfilling, in Central America the beans were cooked with meat fat (admittedly I enjoy that), in Popayan the vegetarian buffet was devoid of any spice or flavour and recently at a Hare Krishna restaurant I had a gluten steak that was so rubbery no one would be fooled into thinking it was meat.

But my neighborhood in Cali is arty and hippie-loving and I thought vegetarian could be a good bet. I discovered Mononoke a few blocks from my hostel and while the set lunch at $3.50 is slightly more expensive than the standard restaurant I decided I could splurge.

Lunch started with a cream of blanquillo (fish) soup which didn’t knock my socks off, but no soup in Colombia has really been impressive. The main course arrived with a brown rice and quinoa mixture – which is unheard of in these parts, accompanied by salad, mashed yellow potato and chinese cabbage stuffed with zucchini, spinach, onion and tomato and then topped with cheese. I was surprised to be served dessert as most set lunches do not include it but the meal ended with fresh pineapple served with coconut milk.

I walked out of Mononoke feeling like I had an energy boost that would rival a Red Bull rush.


  1. TMorse on the October 7, 2010 remarked #

    Not a bad deal after all then, that’s pretty much what you’d pay for the Red Bull

  2. Andrew Murray @AdvBimbling on the October 7, 2010 remarked #

    You just made me sooo hungry. All that food looks delicious!
    Andrew Murray @AdvBimbling recently posted..Hmmm where next- Russia or Indonesia

  3. Matt | YearAroundTheWorld on the October 7, 2010 remarked #

    I need to go eat something now…
    Matt | YearAroundTheWorld recently posted..Blogging Tips- My Secret Twitter Technique

  4. Gray on the October 7, 2010 remarked #

    I have had so many wonderful vegetarian meals. I think you just need to keep trying, keep experimenting. The problem sometimes is that you have to pay more for good quality vegetarian meals, and if you don’t have the budget for it, it makes it difficult. But you’re right, going meatless a couple of times a week (or even for a whole week) is not hard at all.
    Gray recently posted..10-10-10 Travel Deal from Marriott

  5. Jasmine on the October 7, 2010 remarked #

    Yeay! I’m a vegetarian and I’m starting reviewing all the awesome veg restaurants they’ve got here in Bogota. When you come up here, let me know and I’ll recommend a few places to you :)
    Jasmine recently posted..Bogota Vegetarian Picks of the Week

  6. Brian H. on the October 7, 2010 remarked #

    Love the price. That would cost a fortune here in the U.S.
    Brian H. recently posted..Photo Giveaway for Designers Only

  7. Federico on the October 7, 2010 remarked #

    The meal looks tasty indeed! Which reminds me that there is something you have to try because you can only find it in Colombia and Ecuador: Lulo juice. Trust me, this juice will really knock your socks off…it has become my favourite juice in the world. You can find it almost anywhere!


  8. Michael Hodson on the October 7, 2010 remarked #

    Damn it. Now I’m starving. And it isn’t even 11 a.m. yet.
    Michael Hodson recently posted..Photo of the Day- Mountain Gorilla in Uganda

  9. Monsieur Tofu on the October 7, 2010 remarked #

    Finally a food post that Monsieur Tofu approves of. LOL Sounds delicious!

  10. Abby on the October 7, 2010 remarked #

    That looks AMAZING!! Shouldn’t have read this before breakfast. I’m starving!!
    Abby recently posted..Learning Pura Vida in Costa Rica

  11. Margo on the October 7, 2010 remarked #

    I think being a vegetarian all the time would be so hard… but I’ve gotten so when I go to a restaurant with a good vegetarian menu, I often choose it, because cooked well it can be amazing – and I love that energy boost. Also, I am fascinated there is a Monsieur Tofu who visits your blog :)
    Margo recently posted..Pastoral Beauty on the Mississippi River in Missouri

  12. Globetrottergirls on the October 7, 2010 remarked #

    That sounds yummy!! We are finding it much easier to travel as vegetarians than we thought it would be, especially in Central and South America, but there seem to be plenty of vegetarian places & options. Made a note of Mononoke for when we get to Cali.
    Globetrottergirls recently posted..How to combine Long-Term Travel and Work

  13. Catia on the October 7, 2010 remarked #

    Mmm, sounds delicious. I love the energy rush that comes from a meal that’s truly packed with vitamins!
    Catia recently posted..A Perfect Moment

  14. Andi on the October 7, 2010 remarked #

    Ummm, YUM!!! Sounds beyond delish! I’ve been a veggie for 10+ years now, best decision I ever made. :)
    Andi recently posted..Europe- Day 3 Part 1

  15. Angela on the October 7, 2010 remarked #

    Seriously, when vegetarian food is well made, you don’t miss meat at all. The best vegetarian I’ve ever had was in Curitiba, Southern Brazil, it was like 15 years ago and I can’t forget it!
    I’m gradually eating always less meat simply because I feel better without, so little by little I’m discovering the wonders you can make with vegetables ;)
    Angela recently posted..Chinese families- baby boy or baby girl

  16. ann wellwood on the October 7, 2010 remarked #

    Hey, I,ve got to admit, even I think that looked pretty darn good!I think that we would all be better off with less meat!!!

  17. Cornelius Aesop on the October 7, 2010 remarked #

    Looks delicious, I want to go to India to try their vegetarian food. Indian-American restaurants have some great veggie food, and on No Reservations Anthony Bourdain was hemming and hawing over some vegetarian meals while there, and that’s saying something.
    Cornelius Aesop recently posted..Photo Journal of My Commute To Work

  18. Tandem World on the October 7, 2010 remarked #

    Gluten steak?! Even us left-coast, vegetarians who flirt with the idea of being vegans (why must cheese be so delicious?) wouldn’t dip a toe in that kinda water. You are braver than we!

    That vegetarian menu does look amazing. One thing we miss most from Ecuador is the Locros (sp?). Creamy potato soup with cheese and avocado. Mmmm…
    Tandem World recently posted..Finding Travel Deals – A Starter Kit

  19. Devin the Travel Writer on the October 8, 2010 remarked #

    The meal looks incredible. I am headed to Central America for a couple of weeks. I will not hold my breath hoping to find a good vegetarian meal. While I am a big fan of good vegetarian food, I know that it can be hard to come by.
    Devin the Travel Writer recently posted..I Ruin Music for All in Mexico City video

  20. Norbert on the October 8, 2010 remarked #

    I’m not a veggie but that meal looks delicious… yummm! :)
    Norbert recently posted..GloboTreks Featured on Top 150 Travel Blogs for Students

  21. TMorse on the October 8, 2010 remarked #

    btw, how quickly you forget Chef Joseph’s mantra of the here and now. Are you sure that’s the best veggie ever?

  22. Caz Makepeace on the October 9, 2010 remarked #

    I’m a vego and this food looks great. I was amazed when I turned to vegetarian by the variety and deliciousness of food. I’d never go back to meat, it seems so bland and flavourless
    Caz Makepeace recently posted..The Pros and Cons of getting a Tattoo on your Travels

  23. Jenny on the October 9, 2010 remarked #

    MMM. Gotta love good food on the road!
    Jenny recently posted..Why am I considered selfish for traveling around the world

  24. Camels & Chocolate on the October 10, 2010 remarked #

    Yum, that looks amazing!!!
    Camels & Chocolate recently posted..Photo Friday- Hoboken- New Jersey

  25. Shannon OD on the October 10, 2010 remarked #

    Sounds delicious and I’m glad that you have finally found some good veggie food – it really can be done amazingly well and tasty…but unfortunately a lot of restaurants not accustomed to vegetarian food think that means it has to be bland!

  26. Robin on the October 10, 2010 remarked #

    It’s not so much a surprise that a good meal can be had for so little – the same is true in so many parts of the world – but what really gets me is the attention and flare that has gone into that meal from the looks of the photos.
    Robin recently posted..Don Insomnia

  27. Cam on the October 10, 2010 remarked #

    Sounds delicious! We had some of our best vegetarin meals in Peru. Amazing soups with every meal
    Cam recently posted..There is MUCH more to Peru than Machu Picchu

  28. Sofia on the October 11, 2010 remarked #

    That sounds really yummy! Vegetarian food at its best ;)

  29. Nancie on the October 11, 2010 remarked #

    This looks fabulous. I’m finding better vegetarian food all the time in my travels. I was really impressed with the vegetarian fare in Bali and Chiang Mai last winter.
    Nancie recently posted..Through the Sandbox Lens 15 &8212 Female Taiko Drummer in Tokyo

  30. KG on the October 13, 2010 remarked #

    Wow, that sounds really good~! Having so many veggie options, and at $3.50!?! Oh my, that sounds like the life right now haha.
    KG recently posted..Disney Shoes in Tokyo!

  31. Sabina on the October 14, 2010 remarked #

    That fish soup actually sounds good to me. Any food with the word “cream” in it gets my attention :)

  32. naoko on the January 2, 2011 remarked #

    thanks a lot for a good comment on my restaurant. That is really a positive pressure to keep me going on. To be honest, I am not vegetarian at all, just wanted to rescue veggies here look sad because they are not cooked well. Hope to have many people experience MONONOKE restaurant!

  33. Ceri on the January 6, 2011 remarked #

    I’m a vegetarian and, boy, that sounded delicious. I’m going travelling around Central and South America beginning at the end of this year and do wonder what my diet’s going to end up like. :P

    P.S. – Found your blog yesterday and haven’t been able to stop reading it. Just love it!

  34. Johnny on the July 16, 2012 remarked #

    I’ve been a vegetarian since 10 years young, so I’ve had a chance to sample a number of veg places. The best IMHO is Millenium in San Francisco.

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