Taste of Ecuador


Several friends who follow my Instagram account expressed concern that I might be leaving and moving back to Ecuador.


I mean, I guess I can see why you’d think that, when I’m gushing over empanadas, locro de papas (typical mountain-region potato soup, above left) and humitas (similar to a tamale, above right).


We did empanadas HARD, consuming these corn-based empanadas de morocho (cooking above, ready for inhaling below) in Quito’s old city.


Later that evening we moved on to empanadas de viento (aka cheese-filled pockets of love) down the street.


This boy became an instant fan.


But while those were good, they couldn’t compare to the lusciousness that comes from Empanadas Chilenas (on the way to Cali Cali).


Don’t be deceived, my friend. These are not Chilean empanadas, in spite what the restaurant name implies. These are Ecuador-proud, the best empanadas de viento known to man (or at least us).


It didn’t matter how many snacks we’d consumed at Kelley’s friend’s house in Cali Cali, we were stopping for empanadas.


Those crispy, gooey, oily, hot and sprinkled-with-a-dab-of-coarse-sugar pies always win.

Oh, and we also had empanadas verdes (made from green plantains) that Kelley’s house helper made for us for Christmas.


We also made sure to hit up the local bakery for amazingly fresh and high-quality French-style baked goods. As my sister said, “This city runs on bread and fruit.”


For Christmas Eve, we feasted on ceviche (shrimp cocktail, but not as pungent as the Peruvian version), bread, meat and chifles (fried platain chips). I think there was my brother-in-law’s eggnog, too.


Of course, I’d made sure to get ceviche on my first day there, so I was topped up.


And then there is the street food:


Grilled corn, sausage, fruit juices and …


what is roughly equivalent to donuts, aka huevos chilenos, or Chilean Eggs. ???


These are kind of a New Year’s tradition for us, but I gotta say, as an adult, these were not super great.


Food in the jungle is nothing special (but maybe makes for better stories if you can get yourself some smoked monkey, fried ants or grubs), but one must stop for a taste of the famous Banos taffy, made from sugar cane molasses.

Just beware it might come with a side of bacteria from the taffy-man’s hand. (Personal experience)


And to finish off your culinary tour, made a stop with mora and tomate de arbol juice.

Just do it.

And tell them I sent you.


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