The food in Ecuador is as diverse as the country is, varying with altitude and associated agricultural conditions. Pork, chicken, beef, and cuy (guinea pig) are popular in the mountain regions and are served with a variety of grains (especially rice and corn or potatoes). A popular street food in mountain regions is hornado, consisting of potatoes served with roasted pig. Fanesca, a fish soup including several types of bean, is often eaten during Lent
During the week before the commemoration of the deceased or “día de los muertos”, the fruit beverage “Colada Morada” is typical, accompanied by “Guaguas de Pan”, which is stuffed bread shaped like children.
The food is somewhat different in the southern mountain area, featuring typical Loja food such as “repe“, a soup prepared with green bananas; “cecina“, roasted pork; and “miel con quesillo” or “cuajada” as dessert.
A wide variety of fresh fruit is available, particularly at lower altitudes, including granadilla, passionfruit, naranjilla, several types of bananas, uvilla, taxo, and tree tomato.
Seafood is very popular at the coast, where prawns, shrimp and lobster are key parts of the diet. Plantain- and peanut-based dishes are the basis of most coastal meals, which are usually served in two courses. The first course is caldo soup, which may be aguado (a thin soup, usually with meat) or caldo de leche, a cream vegetable soup. The second course might include rice, a little meat or fish with a menestra (lentil stew), and salad or vegetables. Patacones (fried green plantains with cheese) are popular side dishes with coastal meals.
Some of the typical dishes in the coastal region are: ceviche, pan de almidón, corviche, guatita, encebollado and empanadas; in the mountain region: hornado, fritada, humitas, tamales, llapingachos, lomo saltado, and churrasco.
In the rainforest, a dietary staple is the yuca, elsewhere called cassava. The starchy root is peeled and boiled, fried, or used in a variety of other dishes. Many fruits are available in this region, including bananas, tree grapes, and peach palms. It’s also used as a bread and has spread throughout the nation, most notably, to Quito where a company sells the native pan de yuca in a new sense; different types sold with frozen youghurt.
Aguardiente, a sugar cane-based spirit, is probably the most popular national alcohol. Drinkable yogurt, available in many fruit flavors, is popular and is often consumed with pan de yuca, a light bread filled with cheese and eaten warm.
Even today, the geographical regions of this small country are isolated from one another, as the towering Andes and expansive Pacific Ocean make it difficult to communicate. This has led to a great variety in local cuisines.
This region runs along the western edge of the country, bordering the Pacific Ocean. Due to colder currents, a variety of fish and shellfish can be found in this part of the Pacific, and therefore this region’s cuisine tends to be dominated by seafood, (although other non-seafood dishes, such as guatita and seco de chivo, are also popular at a national level).
Ceviche: One of the most popular and well known South American seafood dishes worldwide is ceviche. Ecuadorian ceviche is different from the more widely recognized Peruvian ceviche, and the recipe varies throughout the country. Served cold, it is made from cooked fish, conch, or shrimp (or any combination), with lots of onions, tomatoes, ketchup and lemon. It is generally served with fried plantain chips (chifles) and popcorn.
Cazuela: a plantain-based casserole dish with fish or shrimp, and sometimes peanut sauce.
Guatita: cow stomach cooked in a hard-boiled egg and peanut sauce and served with boiled potatoes.
Aguado de gallina (chicken rice soup): The flavors in this thick soup are very concentrated. It is cooked (and served) with chicken pieces on the bone. Sometimes vegetables are added, but traditionally the soup only has chicken and rice.
Seco de chivo (goat stew): stewed goat (or lamb) meat served with rice and plantains.
Dividing the country in two is the Andean region. Typical ingredients in this region are corn, potatoes, fava beans and pork. As with the Coastal Region, each city or town has its own variations for each dish, but some of the more popular are listed below:
Llapingachos: fried potato cakes filled with cheese and topped with a fried egg and a side of chorizo sausage, atop a salad of lettuce, tomato, and cooked carrots and beets.
Helado de paila: fresh fruit sorbet.
Mote con chicharron: hominy served with fried pig fat.
Hornado: tender roasted pork served with agrio (a vinegary parsley and lemon sauce) and llapingachos and/or mote (hominy).
Fritada: fried pork meat.
Locro de papa: thick potato and cheese (or egg) soup.
Cuy: roasted or fried guinea pig served with potatoes topped with a peanut sauce.
Good restaurant & site for Ecuadorian cuisine: LA CHOZA