We have a guide who does tours throughout Ecuador and many times throughout his tours, they stop whenever they can to experience the local flavors whether they are walking along the colonial streets of Quito or even on the way to another destination. The foods are very diverse and for the most part very underrated!
Quito is one of the largest and best-preserved colonial cities in all the Americas, also one of the first sites declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. There is lots to see and do, not to mention the plethora of food that can be found along its streets. Did you know that Quito was listed as one of the top 20 destinations to visit in 2013 by National Geographic Traveler? Now, Ecuador is very diverse including the Pacific Coast, the Andean Highlands, and of course the Amazon which means you usually have a pretty wide variety to choose from if you find yourself getting hungry for something quick! The best part, street foods cost almost nothing. Never more than 1 to 3 dollars, so it’s pretty easy on your pockets!
Here is a list of the most popular street foods you can find while traveling in Ecuador.
• Ceviche – A mix of raw seafood or shellfish that is cooked in citric juices, the most popular being lime juice. While strolling along the beach on the Pacific Coast you can easily buy a bowl of Ceviche and top it with plantain chips and roasted corn. It is also available throughout Ecuador.
• Choclo – Almost anywhere in Quito, especially towards the evening when the street vendors start to come out, you can find this corn being dry roasted and sold as a snack. The charred corn is crunchy and delicious with a helping of seasoned mayonnaise to compliment it.
• Cuy – Probably most known as the one dish in Ecuador any tourist MUST try. Cuys are actually rotisserie roasted guinea pigs…but don’t get turned off! It is a delicacy here! If you come to Ecuador, you have to try Cuy, it’s basically a rite of passage! Cuenca is the best known city in Ecuador to eat this delicious little rodents off a stick. Definitely an experience you can’t miss out on!
• Fritada – This is a dish made with pieces of pork and can be found just about anywhere in Ecuador. The best of the best though, can definitely be found on the streets of Quito. It is usually served with small boiled potatoes and mote, or hominy. The flavors combined are absolutely incredible.
• Hornado – This is a roasted pig where an entire cooked body is usually in full display with red chiles in the ears and an apple in its mouth being picked at from the middle towards the ends to be served on plates with tortillas, or potato pancakes with cheese and a side of mote (hominy). The best part of hornado, or the stripped pork meat is the agrio juice made from different types of onions and tomatoes that makes a sweet juice when mixed all together and drizzled over the hornado, mote and tortillas. (I’ve actually been craving it for a couple days now!)
• Pinchos – Pinchos are a favorite among the locals at the end of a day. No matter where you go you can find these skewers of either chicken or meat with vegetables and potatoes cooking on any street corner and they are a perfect late night snack while out on the town or on the way home. These can also be complimented with a special homemade mayonnaise with herbs and spices.
• Canelazos – These charming old time drinks are typically found in the Highlands and are perfect for warming you up on a cold, chilly night in the Andes. It is made by combining brown sugar, cinnamon and cloves, orange and lime juice and a liquor called aguadiente, or “firewater”. The term came from the liquor’s high alcohol content, which is why these delicious drinks are sold in small amounts. So it’s better to take it easy on these bad boys, even though they taste so good!
There are so many other typical foods that I could list, but that list could go on forever. Like I said before, Ecuador is so diverse that it is impossible to distinguish just one or two local street foods you can find that are the most popular. The variety of fruit is beyond compare. Everyday street vendors are selling their produce at traffic lights and sides of the street with buckets full of mangos, strawberries, grapes, tangerines and much, much more. In each region, the Coast, Jungle or Highlands you can find a different assortment available, and all for quite cheap too!
Taste amazing food, learn spanish, do volunteer work and travel around Ecuador four regions.
Going abroad for an extended period of time to learn Spanish has always been a dream of mine so I was very excited to finally make this dream a reality.
Now before you ask, “Why the heck would you choose Ecuador?”, let me explain that after looking through the World Endeavor’s website, the Ecuadorian program fit best with what I wanted to do, which was primarily to go to South America to learn Spanish while getting some work experience.
During my two month stay in Ecuador, I worked at “La Selva Lodge” in the Amazon Jungle teaching English and working as a waitress.
Once or twice a week we met all people who like to be fit by playing the sport of South America, soccer. After Spanish lessons or working on projects, we need a little movement.
We organized two teams of men, women, volunteers or local people. Initially, we find it very difficult due the lack of oxygen. Our volunteers want to have that experience of playing sports at a height of 2800m above the sea level.
It is amusing to observe the physical condition of the participants just five minutes after starting the game, people sitting on the floor trying to get some oxygen to continue the game.
No matter the gender, age or sport experience. The important thing is to enjoy and participate in an afternoon of sport in the company of volunteers from different nationalities. For people not interested in soccer could do other sports during this time in the same place.
Approximately the game takes an hour or when it is funny up to one hour and thirty minutes.
Finally, after giving all the best, we deserve a cold beer!
Einmal oder zweimal pro Woche treffen wir uns alle in Carolina Park, die wir gerne fit sein wollen und beschliessen wir, den Sport von Südamerika, Fußball zu spielen. Nach vier Stunden Spanischunterricht oder in Projekten arbeiten, brauchen wir ein wenig Bewegung.
Wir organisieren zwei Teams: Männern, Frauen, Freiwillige oder Einheimische. Am Anfang, es ist uns sehr schwierig, aufgrund des Mangels an Sauerstoff. Unsere Freiwilligen wollen, dass Erfahrung des Spielens in einer Höhe von 2800m über dem Meeresspiegel haben.
Es ist amüsant, die physische Kondition der Teilnehmer nur fünf Minuten nach dem Start des Spiels zu beobachten, Leute sitzen auf dem Boden versuchen, etwas Sauerstoff bekommen, um das Spiel fortzusetzen.
Das Geschlecht, Alter oder Sport-Erlebnis spielt keine Rolle. Das Wichtigste ist, zu genießen einem Nachmittag des Sports in der Gesellschaft von Freiwilligen aus verschiedenen Nationalitäten teilnehmen. Für Menschen, die nicht für Fußball interessiert sind, könnten andere Sportarten während dieser Zeit an der gleichen Stelle treiben.
Das Spiel dauert etwa eine Stunde und wenn es lustiger ist bis zu einer Stunde und dreißig Minuten.
Am Ende des Spiels, um Energie zu tanken, genießen wir ein kühles Bier!
Sería tan fácil empezar a describir lugares, hechos y actividades. Pero hoy fue un día para poner las sensaciones en primer lugar.
Comenzando por un viaje en bus hacia el sur, bañado con la luz oro del sol aún perezoso, disfrutando vistas espectaculares de esta ciudad. Viendo los rostros de la gente con facha de llevar a cuestas una historia única. Yo también llevo la mía. Llegué entonces a una casa grande, con jardín y cómoda, me saludaron un par de perritos y un alegre caballo blanco. Fui bienvenida y saludada por personas que llevaban el delantal por fuera como uniforme y la calidez por dentro de quien sabe hacer bien su trabajo.
1) Coca-Cola makes everything feel better. (It’s the pure cane sugar here…amazing.)
2) Never travel without climbing gear.
3) Before a weekend excursion, be sure to make a list of things to see/do using Lonely Planet, Wiki Travel, and Trip Advisor.
4) Hostals for $8 a night are soooo much better than 5 star hotels which run you dry.
5) Don’t drink the water. Ever.
Mi día de voluntariado empezó meditando en la palabra voluntad y la fuerza que esta representa, cada ser sin voluntad no es capaz de hacer nada, y para ejemplo de ello presento un resumen de mi experiencia.
Ante todo debo reconocer que no se me hizo fácil estar en contacto directo con esos pequeños niños que por sus distrofias y deformaciones tienen convulsiones y aquí el por qué, cuando era pequeño vivía junto a nuestra casa un chico con epilepsia y siempre lo veíamos convulsionar y eso me asusto mucho por no saber que pasa y por no poder hacer nada para ayudarle, tenía miedo solo me hacía a un lado a contemplar y esperar que pasen con asombro esos momentos de angustia y desesperación, quizás por eso fue para mi difícil.
Me di cuenta desde un inicio que los niños si tienen voluntad y quieren vivir
Fútbol is a really important part of our culture!
Culture can be described in many different ways. Ecuadorians have a huge love for soccer and even more nowadays due to the upcoming World Cup that will take place in Brazil. As special training, we had a friendly match between Germany’s soccer team in the U.S.
We can see and feel what makes this sport so special and how it makes others feel. We host many volunteers from Germany who feel so proud of their team. Meanwhile our Spanish teachers and staff also feel a huge surge of emotion when our soccer players walk onto the field. Everyone is cheering and so full of emotions while representing their countries. The beautiful part is watching such an interesting, intense game, but at the same time not offending either opponent and watching with so much respect for one other.
Both teams have played only twice before, but our volunteers from Germany somehow feel stuck in the middle of rooting for both teams because Ecuador is the country that has taken them in and given them so much during their stay. They don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings, so the afternoon simply turns into a friendly and fun time getting to know those they barely know from the office while talking about the game.
It is amazing to see how this sport can unite other cultures together. It seems like we all are from the same country despite the fact that Ecuadorians wear yellow, blue and red and Germany wears white and black. Culture can be shown by many different ways and our country has the greatest advantage of all, expressing different shows of culture.
Our Spanish School and Foundation always look for different ways to give our students and volunteers a little piece of home in our own.
Every month we have a birthday party for all the volunteers and staff members that were born that month. On April 25th we celebrate the birthdays of our volunteer Nadja Merk from Germany and Germán Venegas our co worker.
A traditional celebration for us has music, decoration, food and of course birthday cake.
We always sing the birthday song in different languages: Spanish, English, German, Norwegian….which shows the great diversity of volunteers. The birthday person asks for a wish; blow the candles and in Ecuador the b-day person must bite the cake.
On April 18th we hosted the first Host Families workshop. It was a fulfilling afternoon where the host mothers had the chance to meet and interact with each other.
The first part of the program had a psychological and transcultural component. Paola Calderón and Cristóbal Cordero, psychology interns from Catholic University where in charge of the contents and activities.
The second part of the program was focused on human nutrition and preparation of different sandwiches.
We, the staff members were involved in the preparation and organization process and it was a great experience being able to share what we know and we expect that for future opportunities the families bring their own special dishes and share their best kept secrets with us.
We had the April monthly meeting today.
It was a good time for the new participants to meet each other and to get to know more about the Ecuadorian culture. We shared a special meal: “empanadas de verde con queso”.
We chose the volunteer of the month, George Mulvaney. He has been volunteering with the elderly for two weeks now. He is a pastry chef and he is helping in the kitchen where he volunteers.
Congratulations George and thank you for the support you give to this project!