I think it's about time I had a post about food. And I'm sure you're all wondering what kind of things people eat here in Ecuador. So, I will give a brief survey of Ecuadorian food and share some of my favorite dishes here!
Typically in Ecuador, people eat a small breakfast, a large lunch, and a small dinner (usually just a snack or coffee, depending on the family). This has been a difficult adjustment for me, as I am accustomed to having just a sandwich or something small for lunch, and a bigger hot meal for dinner. When I am with co-workers or friends and we go to a restaurant to eat lunch, normally we buy what is called an almuerzo, meaning lunch in Spanish. This includes a big bowl of soup, a heaping plate of rice, lentils or beans, meat, and plantains or other vegetables, and often a small fruit or dessert. After a meal like this around 1 or 2 pm, I usually don't want to eat much for supper!
Here are some typical dishes or snacks from Ecuador:
Tostados - chochos and toasted corn kernels, onions, tomatoes, garlic and lemon
This is a very common dish in smaller towns and indigenous communities of Ecuador in the Andes region. Chochos are the small white beans (similar to lima beans), and are eaten cold as a snack. They're delicious! Typically tostados are served on the street from vendors in a small bag (not on a plate), and you mix and eat it with a spoon. Here is the best picture I could find:
Cuy - roasted guinea pig, often served with rice and lentils, or potatoes
(Doesn't it look appetizing?! Actually, it has a tough texture and not much flavor. Luckily, when I ate it, the head had been removed!)
Locro de papas - a thick potato soup served with chunks of cheese and avocado
This snack is a hard bread, similar to bread sticks but crunchier, with the texture of a cookie. Cayambe, a city north of Quito, is famous for bizcochos and along every street you can see store after store selling them freshly baked. Usually bizcochos are eaten with hojas de queso, cheese sticks, and coffee.
Guaguas de pan y colada morada - traditional postre for Dia de los Difuntos, or Day of the Deceased here in Ecuador.
On this day, which was last Friday, November 2, many people honor their ancestors or members of their family who died, by bringing to the cemetery the favorite foods of those who passed away to eat together. This day is more commonly celebrated in indigenous communities, but some people in the city do as well. However, everyone eats the guaguas de pan, which are small loaves of bread shaped like babies (pronounced wa-wa, guagua means baby or child in Quichua). To accompany the guaguas, they drink colada morada, a thick hot beverage made from black corn flour, raspberry, pineapple, cinnamon, orange peel, and cloves among other ingredients.
Seco de pollo - hot meals including rice, meat, and a side
I find it a bit ironic that these meals are called secos, which means dry, since the meat often has sauce, but I guess it refers to the fact that it is more solid food, as opposed to soup. Often I will see people selling secos on the street in bags, or the vendors hop onto buses to try to find customers.
Jugos naturales - the fresh juice here is delicious! In any given restaurant you can find jugos of different flavors, which are made right then and served fresh. Usually the juice is squeezed and mixed with just water or a little milk, and it has a foamy texture on top. It's very healthy any yummy!
So, as you can see, the food in Ecuador is unique but excellent! I have enjoyed learning about the culture through trying the cuisine in various places. Now, since you're probably hungry, buen provecho!!