We know Ecuador, mainland Ecuador, as one of the most family friendly and fascinating countries to explore with all ages. You’ll find a comfortable culture with warm people in colorful traditional dress along with lively markets, high mountains, national parks and even the Equator.
It’s lunch time somewhere so we’d like to whet your appetite with some of our favorite fabulous things to eat in Ecuador. Yum, yum!
Snacks & Sides
- Ecuadorian ceviche is a little different from what you’ll find in other countries. For starters the fish is usually cooked before being added to the citrus. It’s typically made of shrimp, lemon, onions, and some herbs, and served with avocado and…..
- Canguil which is…. POPCORN! Andean popcorn is so delicious, with big fat kernels popped to perfection. Eat it with your ceviche or any meal or simply on its own.
- Llapingachos are little fried potato balls full of cheesy deliciousness. They can be eaten for breakfast, lunch, as a snack or as a side to your main dish. We can’t imagine any child or adult not falling in love with them.
- Then there is the perennial favorite, Salchipapas. These tasty French fries are served with a cut-up hot dog on top and served with ketchup and mayo. Finger licking good!
- Patacones, fried green plantains, is another favorite. A thick crispy treat, they are often served as a side and are great for snacking. Try them with pickled red onion!
- For something lighter, Ecuador has a huge variety of tropical and exotic fruits; things you may know like pineapple, mango and papaya, but also crazy things like achotillo (think spiked lychee) and uvilla a very tart berry the size of a grape. Some fruits you can eat raw, and many others are mixed with sugar to make delicious juice. Bottoms up!
Before you eat anything in Ecuador you must know about aji. Aji is an Ecuadorian hot sauce made from tamarillos (a very distant cousin to the tomato) hot peppers, onion, cilantro and lime juice. Ecuadorian food is not spicy so you’ll use this when you want to spice things up.
1) If you’re lucky you’ll be served Locro as your first course. A thick potato soup with slabs of fresh white cheese and large chunks of avocado, this soup makes us swoon. Add aji if you wish!
2) Churrasco is an Ecuadorian twist on steak and eggs. Start with a thin steak. Top with gravy and fried egg. Add rice, salad, fries, avocado and cebollas encurtidas (pickled red onion).
3) Arroz con Pollo is a familiar staple – chicken and rice with herbs and seasonal vegetables. Soothing, filling, delicious.
4) Hornado is a whole roasted pig, sliced and served with salad, llapingachos and plantains. It takes a long time to prepare so it is often saved for special occasions. If you visit Cuenca, the market has an entire section dedicated to hornado! Here is an easy way to make it at home.
5) Those little guinea pigs you see in the local kitchens aren’t pets; they’re a special treat known as cuy. Roasted whole on a spit, the appearance probably makes it appeal only to the most adventurous eaters, but the flavor is wonderful. Sorry, no recipe for this one!
We’ve gone on long enough but have barely scratched the surface of the wonderful things to eat in Ecuador. You’ll just have to go and see for yourself.