Ecuadorian cuisine is one of extravagance, primarily revolving around meat like beef, pork, cuy (guinea pig) and chicken; and staple carbohydrates like rice, potatoes, and corn. The foods differ a bit according to the altitude. Therefore, the spices used and the prevalent recipes are diverse.
1. Cuy Frito – A popular guinea pig dish
What is it: Whole guinea pig sprinkled with spices and fried, served with fried onions and potatoes.
What does it taste like: Not eaten in most parts of the world, guinea pig tastes almost like chicken and has a greasy texture. The frito is crunchy, and you’ll have to use your hands to eat them!
2. Llapingachos – A traditional appetizer
What is it: Potato patties stuffed with cheese and cooked until golden brown, served with fried egg and tomatoes.
What does it taste like: As one bites into these savory patties, the molten cheese and the potato numbs the taste buds with pure satisfaction.
3. Ceviche – A seafood appetizer
What is it: Squid, gallops, and shrimp tossed with lime juice, cilantro, olive oil, onions, tomatoes, cucumber and refrigerated for about an hour.
What does it taste like: The different varieties of seafood blends as the lime juice lends a subtly balanced piquancy to the whole preparation.
4. Choclo – A typical snack
What is it: Andean corn is dried and roasted and topped with spices. It is often served with hot sauce.
What does it taste like: The roasted corn has a crusty texture and the spices just add to the pleasant zing of it.
5. Fritada – A famous mouth-watering snack
What is it: Chunks of pork tossed in orange juice, water, garlic, onion, and cumin until it turns red-brownish in color.
What does it taste like: The well-cooked pork is sumptuous and has a smoky taste as it is cooked it in its own fat.
6. Guatita – The national dish
What is it: Tripe stew cooked in a sauce of potatoes and peanuts.
What does it taste like: Eaten in small portions, it has an intense flavor which may take time to get used to if you’re having tripe for the first time!
7. Hornado – The Christmas dish
What is it: Whole pig marinated for a couple of days in chicha (a fermented corn drink) and then roasted in a clay oven.
What does it taste like: The long time given to marination cures the meat to perfection, and it becomes tender and juicy after roasting.
8. Canelazo – An authentic beverage
What is it: A traditional drink made by boiling cinnamon and sugar in water and then adding local sugarcane alcohol known as aguardiente to it.
What does it taste like: It has an intense and spicy taste because of the cinnamon which is even spiked by the alcohol!
9. Humitas – An authentic breakfast food
What is it: Ground corn cooked with cheese, onions, garlic, eggs, and cream. This mixture is put inside a fresh corn husk and steamed.
What does it taste like: The corn becomes soft and creamy which is topped by the delightful aroma of molten cheese.
10. Locro soup – A staple soup
What is it: A classic Ecuadorian soup made with potato and cheese. A cheaper version uses peanut butter instead of cheese.
What does it taste like: A very fulfilling and wholesome soup which is consumed as a side dish with almost every meal.
11. Pan de Yuca – Breakfast bread
What is it: Ecuadorian bread made with cheese, butter, eggs, and yucca flour.
What does it taste like: This soft, sumptuous food has a little salty flavor because of the presence of cheese and butter.
12. Arroz con pollo – A traditional lunch food
What is it: Rice cooked with chicken, tomatoes, peppers, onions, garlic, cilantro and achiote.
What does it taste like: The spicy rice blends with the succulent chicken to give it a zest that you will crave for!
13. Espumillas – A foamy dessert
What is it: Guava meringue cream dessert made with guava pulp, egg whites, and sugar.
What does it taste like: A finger-licking sinful smoothie for which you wouldn’t wait till dinner-time!
14. Flan de Pina – Pineapple pudding
What is it: This tradition Ecuadorian dessert is a variant of the classic flan made with pineapples, vanilla, eggs and pineapple juice.
What does it taste like: The aroma of the pineapple beautifully complements the texture of the flan.
Ecuadorian foods are very distinct in their flavors. Not one recipe is similar to the other. These are some of the dishes that we loved and in no sense is this an exhaustive list. Try out and find what you like the best. Happy eating!