Category Archives: Ecuador Food
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.