The cuisine in South America is in many ways alike. But every country likes to put his own twist. As well every country has its own unique dishes. Ecuador is no exception. Like in most countries in the coastal area seafood is the most common. In the mountain area (la Sierra) it’s more common to eat meat and potatoes, but in whole Ecuador, rice is being eaten daily. That also counts for soups. There are a ton of different delicious soups in this beautiful country. Tropical Ecuador is also full of fruit. From the fruit, we all know till strange looking but delicious and cheap fruit. For example naranjilla, guanabana, granadilla, pitahaya and so on. Traditionally there is quite a big difference in dishes from the coast and from the Andean highlands, but that doesn’t mean you won’t find coastal Ecuadorian food in la Sierra or vice versa.
Rebecca Adventure Travel loves the local cuisine so there are two cooking classes/food tours that are organized by your own private group (Monday – Friday departures):
Vegetarian cooking class
Ecuadorian cuisine in Historical Centre
Street food / fast food
Humitas: is a Native American dish from pre-Hispanic times, and a traditional food in Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Ecuador, and Peru. Its made out of corn, slowly steamed or boiled in a pot of water. Humitas are prepared with fresh ground corn with onions, eggs, and spices that vary from region to region, and also by each family’s tradition. The dough is wrapped in a corn husk but is steamed rather than baked or boiled. Ecuadorian humitas may also contain cheese. This dish is so traditional in Ecuador that they have developed special pots just for cooking humitas. Ecuadorian humitas can be salty or sweet.
Bolones: Bolon de Verde / green plantain balls stuffed with cheese, chorizo or chicharrones is another typical Ecuadorian (and South American) dish. The plantain is mashed into a a dough, stuffed with cheese, pork or both into round balls and then fried until crispy.
Empanadas – are a stuffed bread or pastry baked or fried in many countries in Latin Europe and Latin America. Empanadas are made by folding dough or bread with stuffing consisting of a variety of meat, cheese, vegetables, fruits, and others. Other variants are: Empanadas de Morocho (made of corn and filled with rice), Empanadas de Verde (Made of green plantains), Empanadas de Viento (Made of flour filled with a little cheese and some sugar on top)
Cevichochos – a vegetarian ceviche of chocho beans (a grain-like seed with a lot of protein), tomato, onion, coriander, salt, lime, optional aji (hot sauce) and chifles (plantain chips).
Choclo – also referred to as Peruvian corn. Is a type of corn with a slightly different taste than the corn we are used to. In many cases sold as street food in combination with cheese. Or mixed with minced meat (Choclo-mix, mainly in the Santo Domingo area)
Pan de Yuca – is a type of bread made of cassava starch and cheese typical of southern Colombia and the Coast Region of Ecuador It’s mainly sold in public transport. But there are also some Yuca bakeries. as a variant, there is also Tortilla de Yuca.
Patacones – Fried green plantains, pounded flat with a hinged utensil.
Pinchos – is a spike with different kinds of meat, potato, and vegetables very popular on busy street corners during the day but especially at night.
Salchipapa – is probably the most popular fast food in the country. The name is made from salchicha (sausage) and papas (French fries) It’s a quick snack. The type of sausage vary, but in most cases, it’s a hot dog that has been fried just a couple of seconds and French fries served with ketchup, mayo and sometimes, Aji (hot chili sauce).
Ecuadorian soups and stews
Encebollado – is a fish soup from Ecuador, regarded as a national dish. It is served with boiled cassava and pickled red onion rings. A dressing of onion is prepared with fresh tomato and spices such as pepper or coriander leaves. It is commonly prepared with albacore, but also tuna, billfish, or bonito. It may be served with ripe avocado. This dish is usually served with chifles (plantain chips), plantains and popcorn. It may be garnished with lime juice, Aji, or Ketchup.
Locro de Papa con queso – a creamy potato soup garnished with cheese and avocado. It is a typical soup from the Andes area. Typically locro is made using a specific kind of potato called “papa chola”, which has a unique taste and is difficult to find outside of its home region. The defining ingredients are corn, some form of meat (usually beef, but sometimes beef jerky or chorizo) and vegetables. Other ingredients vary widely and typically include onion, beans, squash or pumpkin.
Fanesca – a soup traditionally prepared and eaten by households and communities in Ecuador during holy week (Semana Santa). The components of fanesca and its method of preparation vary regionally or even from one family to another. It is typically prepared and served only in the week before Easter (Holy Week). It is a rich soup, with the primary ingredients being figleaf gourd(sambo), pumpkin(zapallo) and twelve different kinds of beans and grains including chochos (lupines), habas (fava beans), lentils, peas, corn and others, together with bacalao (salt cod) cooked in milk. Due to the Catholic religious prohibition against red meat during Holy Week. It is also generally garnished with hard boiled eggs, fried plantains, herbs, parsley, and sometimes empanadas.
Guatita – cow stomach (tripe) stew accompanied by potatoes, peanut sauce and rice
Seco de Chivo – goat stew served with rice and salad
Seco de Pollo – Chicken stew served with rice, plantains, and if you would like with salad as well
Sopa de Bolas de Verde – Soup made of plantain dumplings stuffed with meat and vegetables and served in a beef broth with corn and yuca.
Main Dishes and typical Ecuadorian food
Ceviche – a typical seafood dish and it’s very popular at the coast of South America. Ceviche is raw seafood marinated in Lime, chopped onions, tomato, and salt. It is usually served with garnishes such as thick green plantain chips called patacones. Chifles or thin green plantain chips are another popular garnish for ceviche.
Churrasco – is a staple food of the Coast Region, especially Guayaquil. The dish’s main ingredient is grilled steak that is seasoned with chimichurri. It is served with plantains, white rice, French fries, a fried egg, slices of avocado, a salad, and aji
Cuy – Guinea pig meat is high in protein and low in cholesterol and fat and its described as being similar to rabbit and the dark meat of chicken. The animal may be served fried, broiled or roasted It is served with potatos, hominy, and salad.
Encocado de Camarones – Shrimp is one of specialties of Ecuador. This dish from Esmeraldas is very popular whole year through. The shrimps are seasoned with citrus and spices and then cooking in a sauce of cilantro, onions, tomatoes bell peppers and coconut milk, served with rice
Fritada – is pork cooked in spiced water and then fried in pork fat. Served along with llapingachos, boiled potatos, corn, sweet fried plantains, pickled onions, and tomato.
Hornado – a roasted pig with llapingachos (stuffed potato patties), choclo (Andean corn) and vegetables.
Langostinos – Ecuadorian Prawns prepared in various ways
Lomo Saltado – is a popular, traditional Peruvian dish. Wich is also popular in Ecuador. It is a stir fry that typically combines marinated strips of sirloin, or another beef steak, with onions, tomatoes, and other ingredients served with fried potato slices (french fries) and rice
Mote Pillo – hominy (mote) sautéed with onions, garlic, achiote, eggs, milk, chives, and coriander or parsley. Served with coffee and cheese.
Chaulafan – is a rice-based dish, popular among Ecuadorians and mainly made and sold by Chinese restaurants. It basically consists in yellow or orange rice with meat, pork, shrimp, and vegetables all mixed all together.
Drinks and beverages from Ecuador
Aguardiente – is a generic term for alcoholic beverages that contain between 29% and 60%. A popular aguardiente in Ecuador is made from sugar cane.
Canelazo – a warm/hot beverage often made with fruit juice such as naranjilla, mora (blackberry) or passion fruit juice, cane sugar and water boiled with cinnamon. Sugarcane alcohol is frequently added.
Chicha – is a fermented or non-fermented beverage usually derived from maize. Chicha includes corn beer known as chicha de jora and non-alcoholic beverages such as chica morada. Chichas can also be made from manioc root (also called yuca or cassava), grape, apple or various other fruits.
Morocho – a sweet and hearty drink made of morocho (dried, cracked corn kernels), milk, cinnamon, sugar, and raisins.
Rompope / Ponche de Leche – hot or cold beverage popular during holidays made of milk, sugar, vanilla, orange peel, egg yolks, condensed milk, cream, and sugar cane alcohol. Can be served with or without alcohol