Taste of Ecuador

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

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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).

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

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

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This boy became an instant fan.

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

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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).

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

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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.

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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.”

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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.

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

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And then there is the street food:

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Grilled corn, sausage, fruit juices and …

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

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

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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)

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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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