Day 230: Cuenca, Ecuador
I’ve written about cuy and you already know about ceviche but there’s so much more Ecuadorian food can offer. Overall my second trip to Ecuador was a bit more successful with many recommendations from local.
While this list is by no means exhaustive it gives you an idea of the diversity of Ecuadorian food. Keep in mind that most of these are sans pig because I earlier wrote a post devoted to all delicious porky products in Cuenca.
Ecuadorians are well-known for taking lesser cuts of meat and making them delicious which is a great score for budget travelers, especially when served with the chimichurri sauce and Ecuadorian aji.
2. Bolon de verde
Like a big ball of surprise, bolon de verde are baseball sized plantain dumplings are stuffed with stuffed with cheese, pork or meat and then deep fried. Who doesn’t like a surprise ball of meat?
Ecuadorian food is diverse. From the highlands and most often served with roasted pig, llapingachos are mashed potato and cheese balls that are then seared on high heat. You end up with a crispy exterior and a creamy filling.
Spend a bit of time traveling and you’ll appreciate the little things, like bread without sugar in it.
Ecuador has some great bread and you can even find whole wheat here as pan integral, you may not think this is a big deal but it’s the equivalent of hearing you just walked into a party with an open bar.
5. Seco de chivo
This Ecuadorian goat stew is apparently a Cuencan dish and while you may wince at the thought of goat, stewing it makes a meaty but mild flavour and was one of the best dishes I had in Ecuador.
6. Ice cream
My sister is going to kill me for posting this photo but isn’t she lovely? It’s a pretty bold statement to say no one likes ice cream more than Ecuadorians but I’m prepared to make it.
After seeing town after town that had more ice cream shops than all other stores combined I wondered why there wasn’t an obesity problem given the prevalence of local artisan ice cream, gelato, and old fashion shops.
The national side dish, it appears as a side next to meat. While menestra can be made with red beans or chickpeas you’ll most often see it with lentils.
It also means vegetarians have options when they eat, just double check it was cooked with oil and not delicious animal fat.
Also known as white hominy, mote is served as a condiment to make soups a bit more hearty and can be served with pork and corn as a snack.
9. Empanada de verde
The “verde” is a twist on a traditional empanada in Ecuador. Initially I thought these were empanadas with a plantain filling but quickly realized the dough was plantain and the filling was cheese, beef or chicken. I loved the cheese but have been told beef is better.
10. Maduro with fresh cheese
One of my favorite ways to eat plantain, sweet cooked plantain is filled with salty fresh cheese. You can also get it with chicken or beef but the cheese was so delicious I stuck with it.
11. Muchin de yuca
Yuca is one of the rare things I had heard about but not yet tried and I’ve fallen madly in love with it. I love in in soup, stews, on its own.
When I heard about these cheese yuca fried dough I added yet another way I love yuca to the list. They are similar in texture to llapingachos but are just a bit lighter because of the yuca, they almost make you forget they are deep fried.
Did I miss any Ecuadorian food that you love?