Ecuador Food and Drink
Ecuadorian dinner tables are blessed with some of the finest produce in South America; a testament to the country’s fertile soil, varied typography and wildly different climates.
There are three main regions in Ecuador, each with its own style of cooking: highland cuisine revolves around warm, hearty dishes such as roast guinea pig and locro, a soup of potato, cheese, corn and avocado; coastal cuisine is dominated by seafood; and Oriente dinner tables typically feature rice, banana, yucca (a type of manioc root) and fish, including piranha.
Most food isn’t spicy, but is inevitably accompanied by a bowl of aji, a hot pepper sauce for the bold to add at their peril.
Cuy: Roast guinea pig.
Locro: Soup of potatoes, corn, cheese and avocado.
Empanadas: Corn pasties stuffed with meat, cheese or vegetables.
Llapingachos: Cheesy potato cakes.
Seco de chivo: Goat stew usually served on special occasions.
Ceviche: Raw seafood ‘cooked’ in lime and chilli.
Encocados: Traditional coastal dish of fish served in a coconut sauce.
Aji: An Ecuadorian hot pepper sauce.
Fanesca: A special soup served at Easter, made with beans, grains and cod.
Fruit: The best jungle fruits include: chirimoya, with its delicious custard-like inside; mamey, with its sweet, squash-like meat; and pepinos, a sweet cucumber-like fruit.
Pilsner: A beer drunk by half of Ecuador.
Club: A beer drunk by the other half.
Pisco: The local brandy.
Chicha: Fermented corn drink.
Inca Kola: A green version of Irn-Bru.
Herbal teas: Made from a range of native plants.
Things to know:
12% tax and 10% service charge are usually added to the bill in hotels and restaurants. If the service has been good, add an additional quantity for the staff. In cheaper establishments, tip your server directly.