While traveling to another country will always bring about new digestive experiences. It’s something every human does, eat. So instead of looking for the Euro/American food I plan to eat what I can from the locals. Here are a few of the treats Ecuador has to offer. Looks like Ecuador is like the Louisiana of South American with a wide range of food and flavors.
Jugo natural – freshly squeezed juice. Unbeatable.
Unusual varieties include:
Tomate de arbol – literally tree tomato, similar in shape to a plum tomato, but much sweeter.
Naranjilla – bitter orange, too sour to eat in its solid form, but the thick green juice is delicious.
Mora con guanabana – blackberry mixed with a thick white juice reminiscent of pear.
Mora – blackberry, usually nice and sweet
Canelazo – a brew of cinnamon and naranjilla, served hot, often with a shot of aguardiente poured in.
Cafe – Ecuador exports its best coffee, and Nescafe or a brew from beans that didn’t meet export standards is often served. Café pasado is a thick coffee reduction, served with hot water or milk to dilute.
Oregano Tea – Good for upset stomachs.
Cuy – guinea pig, a typical dish of the Northern Sierra
Fritada – chunks of fried pork, typically served with a thick slice of avocado, fried sweet plantain, corn, hominy and llapingachos (see below).
Carne colorado – translating as “colored meat,” the dish is chopped steak colored red with annato. El Meson de las Flores in Cotacachi is reputed the birthplace.
Hornado – literally means baked, usually refers to roast pork.
Llapingachos – cheese and potato patties, served throughout the Sierra, but Ambato claims to have the best.
Seco de chivo – literally goat stew, but oddly enough usually prepared with lamb, and served with yellow rice.
Locro – proving the adage of the sum being greater than the parts, the creamy potato and cheese soup is not to be missed. It is also sometimes served with avocado.
Empanadas – both the fillings and the dough differ in composition than many of their South American counterparts (there are casual restaurants and food stands that specialize in the Chilean and Bolivian cousins).
Empanadas de verde –dough made of green plantains, typically filled with cheese.
Empanadas de morocho – dough made of white corn (morocho), typically stuffed with ground beef.
Empanadas de viento – an airy plate-sized empanada of white flour dough with a cheese filling and a dash of sugar sprinkled on top.
Ceviche – a popular dish throughout Latin America, Ecuador’s version is soupier than in neighboring countries, and served with popcorn and corn nuts. Tossing the popcorn in a bit at a time so it doesn’t get soggy, they provide a crunchy contrast to chewy seafood.
Unlike many other countries, Ecuadorian restaurants typically cook the seafood first – which may take a bit of the edge off the tasting adventure, but helps avoid any seafood revenge.
Camaron – shrimp (Ecuador’s third-largest export industry).
Vuelva a La Vida – translating as “back to life,” and allegedly the cure for a hangover, this ceviche is typically a combination of shrimp, oysters and Shellfish
Fresh fruit is cheap, plentiful and delicious. There are good unusual local fruits and introduced fruits. Some include:
Passion Fruit – It’s worth trying as many types of passion fruit as possible in the local markets.
Bananas – Again try to find different varieties in the markets