Day 272: Cuenca, Ecuador

Tis the season for round-ups and year in review posts. Rather than a photo post of my favourite destinations I wanted something that would reflect the excitement, pleasure and diversity of Latin America.

When I starting thinking about what I would remember most it seemed silly that I had not immediately considered my first love – food.

So here are my most memorable eats from the year. Some of them are the most delicious and some of them are just, well, memorable.

Mexico – Crickets

While I don’t think I ate anything in Mexico that I didn’t absolutely love, Oaxaca certainly introduced me to many things I loved.

Locals eat these crispy critters flavoured with chile and garlic as a snack. It was delicious and you would never know you were eating bugs if you didn’t see the tentacles.

I could write an entire blog about the deliciousness of Mexico, its streetfood and the other amazing things I ate in Oaxaca such as pickled pigs feet. I only spent 5 weeks in Mexico and I just scratched the surface.

Guatemala – Breakfast

I really had to think about the food in Guatemala because it didn’t stand out. It’s tough to be next in line after Mexico and because tourism is well developed all I remember are a lot of pizza and sandwich places.

However, breakfast is cheap and plentiful and was one of my favourite meals.

stewed chicken

Belize – Stewed chicken with rice and coleslaw

I am by no means an expert on Belize. I spent a week there, decided I hated it and moved on. As an entry point Belize City was a disaster and my only memory that was not frightening was the stewed chicken I bought at Jenny’s Shack.

In Caye Caulker I also bought Chef Boyardee beef ravioli and ate it straight out the can but maybe that was a low point in my travels.

baleada Honduras

Honduras – Baleadas

Not surprisingly there was seafood aplenty in Honduras, particularly at the divers paradise Bay Islands. But my most fond memory is the discovery of baleadas.

My favourite filling of the toasted tortillas was bean puree, avocado, lettuce and tomato. In not-so-distant second place was learning that roasted corn slathered with mayonaise and fresh cheese tastes really good.

quesillo Nicaragua

Nicaragua – Quesillos

Truly unique to Nicaraguan, I have never seen anything like Quesillos before but they are a cheese on cream on cheese masterpiece.

Nicaragua seemed to have a stronger food culture than Guatemala with many local specialties, and even though the nacatamale wasn’t as good as tamales in Mexico, I still enjoyed them.

Panama – Shrimp cocktail

This was a tough country to crack. I found the American influence on the country meant a lot of fast food joints and even street vendors were mostly selling hamburgers or hot dogs.

I was ready to give up on the country and then stumbled upon shrimp cocktail in the fish market. One bite and I forgot that until then my most memorable moment was eating Pio Pio fried chicken.

avocado dessert

Colombia – Ten course dinner

Colombia has fantastic set lunches and incredible seafood but the most memorable was a 10-course dinner in Salento. It was so delicious I had it 3 nights in a row and then waddled out of Salento and back to Cali.

Ecuador – Cuy

Although the country is filled with porky deliciousness, the most memorable food was a different kind of pig. In Banos, my mother, sister and I went to a restaurant specializing in cuy and ordered the lunch special.

A bit traumatizing for my mother as she had once owned a pet guinea pig and was served a portion with feet. However, my sister who is notoriously picky really enjoyed the meal and agreed it tasted like chicken.

La Casa Tejas Ceviche

Peru – Ceviche

I’ve only spent a few weeks in Peru but have already fallen in love with ceviche and learned how to make it. In particular the discovery of black conch ceviche, a specialty of Northern Peru has landed itself on the top 10 things I’ve eaten.

When I look at all of these foods I realize that while they are all part of Latin America and speak Spanish (well except Belize) they are all incredibly different. What one country may eat changes from town to town depending on what is available, the history of foreign settlements and their proximity to the ocean.

It also makes me feel incredibly lucky to have experienced all of these things, as I didn’t know most of them even existed. I don’t know what 2011 will bring but I am looking forward to eating my way through it.


  1. Lorna - the roamantics on the December 27, 2010 remarked #

    it never ceases to amaze me how reading your posts/seeing your photos i get hungry even if i wasn’t hungry! ha ha. what a great and fitting year-end. a few new dishes for me to try here- thanks! one of the only things i have tried believe it or not, are the crickets ;)
    Lorna – the roamantics recently posted..Hit the Road to Holidayland- 7 Fave Christmas Songs

  2. Erica on the December 27, 2010 remarked #

    I’m with you on food running my life. I love it! I can say without a doubt that you had quite the delicious year!
    Erica recently posted..Travel Vaccines – The More You Know

  3. Juno on the December 27, 2010 remarked #

    You are killing me girl!! Look soooooo good! :) It was wonderful to be with your adventures.
    Love of food is.. Just wonderful. I am so with you. Thanks for great year! :)

  4. Rebecca on the December 27, 2010 remarked #

    Yum! Agree with you about Panama – the American influence was everywhere and I had to try hard to track down other foods.
    Rebecca recently posted..Photo of the Week- The Mighty Murray- Australia

  5. Connie on the December 27, 2010 remarked #

    Yum, this post makes me hungry! Everything looks so good!
    Connie recently posted..Montage Monday- 2010- The Year in Review

  6. Chris - The Aussie Nomad on the December 27, 2010 remarked #

    The perfect post to sum up. Loving your food posts mate, it all looks so damn tasty.
    Chris – The Aussie Nomad recently posted..Featured Photo- Alleyway- Vilnius

  7. Mikeachim on the December 27, 2010 remarked #

    There’s some truly tasty stuff there.

    Also….some cholesteroltastic stuff too, by the sounds. “Cheese on cream on cheese”, for example. Was there anywhere where the food got too rich, forcing you to detox for a day or so?
    Mikeachim recently posted..The Sound Of Christmas Silence

  8. Lindsay aka @_thetraveller_ on the December 27, 2010 remarked #

    That Guatemala breakfast makes me drool.
    Lindsay aka @_thetraveller_ recently posted..My Entry for Travel Photography Roulette- Beaches

  9. Jools Stone on the December 27, 2010 remarked #

    Crickets? Eek! Your food posts always make me feel deeply conservative! I will gladly have some of that stewed chicken or porky deliciousness though. Fun & original way to tackle a year in review post defo.
    Jools Stone recently posted..Comment on Who needs organised rail tours by Jools Stone

  10. Audrey on the December 27, 2010 remarked #

    Guatemalan breakfasts can be pretty darn good. Keep you full for half the day as well!

    For me, Peru was the highlight of South America. Couldn’t get enough of ceviche!
    Audrey recently posted..Christmas Cards- Kids and a Little Curiosity in the New Year

  11. Andi on the December 27, 2010 remarked #

    Oh gosh, while I am a veggie and none of the meat appeals to me, I do LOVE Latin food. Que rico!!! Prospero Ano Nuevo bonita!
    Andi recently posted..Chile- Argentina &amp Uruguay- Day 1

  12. inka on the December 27, 2010 remarked #

    A wonderful way to remember the year. Thanks for your comment and I’m glad to hear that you love Kitsch too.
    inka recently posted..The best of South Florida Kitsch

  13. Jason on the December 27, 2010 remarked #

    Good list, Ayngelina.
    Ceviche and Guatemalan breakfast looks the best to me. Crickets, not so much.
    Jason recently posted..Chullo Confidential

  14. David @ Malaysia Asia on the December 27, 2010 remarked #

    Whoa! Love all the dishes here and I have to say, never tried any of them. Hoping you make it to Southeast Asia to sample out dishes one day.

    David @ Malaysia Asia recently posted..Malaysia Asia Travel Contest – Win up to RM6-000 in Prizes

  15. Poi on the December 27, 2010 remarked #

    All of it looks sooo good!
    Poi recently posted..Our favourite Photographs from China

  16. Laurel @Expat in Germany on the December 27, 2010 remarked #

    What a fantastic way to remember the year!

  17. Robin on the December 27, 2010 remarked #

    Anyone who does a Best Of.. post and focusses entirely on meals they have had is my kind of people…
    Robin recently posted..Jigsaw

  18. kara rane on the December 27, 2010 remarked #

    hi Ayngelina-
    my favorite Scarey food find – bbq Lizard on a stick- kids love em’ in Thailand.
    and joining your blog,,one closer to your 2010 goal-ya!

  19. Sophie on the December 27, 2010 remarked #

    Nice round-up, Ayngelina. Guatemalan brekkie looks delicious!
    Sophie recently posted..La Befana- witches and Rome’s Christmas Markets

  20. Anne Kostalas on the December 27, 2010 remarked #

    I am on a post Xmas diet but the sight of that breakfast has just made my stomach rumble. You are killing me. Wonderful food photographs. Can you send any in the post to Montreal?
    PS don’t bother with the crickets.
    Anne Kostalas recently posted..Merry Christmas but whats that tune

  21. Michael Hodson on the December 27, 2010 remarked #

    my favorite foodie!
    Michael Hodson recently posted..Interview with Daniel Nahabedian of Canvas of Light- Lucky 13 Questions

  22. Laura on the December 27, 2010 remarked #

    I love that you chose to remember 2010 through food instead of destinations. Everything looks delicious!! (Except for the cuy- I draw the line there)
    Laura recently posted..Holiday Traditions Bourbon Please

  23. Ayngelina on the December 27, 2010 remarked #


    I cannot believe you have no problem with crickets but an animal that tastes like chicken draws the line!

  24. Camels & Chocolate on the December 27, 2010 remarked #

    I just ate my weight in Arby’s take-out and you have me hungry again already! Damn you, Ayngelina! ;-)
    Camels & Chocolate recently posted..Creatures of Habit

  25. Amanda on the December 27, 2010 remarked #

    Oh geez. I should NOT have read this post with a growling stomach! Now I’m definitely hungry. But I love that you decided to look back on 2010 through your favorite meals!
    Amanda recently posted..How I Almost Went to Spain… Twice

  26. Justin Hamlin on the December 27, 2010 remarked #

    As if I was not hungry enough as it is, the majority of the food (save the crickets) looked awesome. Just re-ignited my desire to visit my wife’s origins in Columbia.
    Justin Hamlin recently posted..Your Life is a Business- Why You Need a Plan

  27. ciki/agentcikay on the December 27, 2010 remarked #

    We are what we eat! Hope you had a fantastic Christmas and an awesome new year.. see you in 2011 (i hope!)
    ciki/agentcikay recently posted..Embrace the gourds!

  28. bethany on the December 27, 2010 remarked #

    Great post and great photos! I also really miss the Guatemalan breakfast. I loved it and the coffee was great too!
    bethany recently posted..Amsterdam’s Strangest Hot Spots

  29. Cathy Sweeney on the December 27, 2010 remarked #

    OK – I am so ready to eat my way through Latin America (with the exception of crickets and pig’s feet, perhaps). Good idea to have a can of Chef Boyardee at the ready, too. Just in case. The Quesillos in Nicaragua does indeed look like a masterpiece!
    Cathy Sweeney recently posted..Beauty and the Snowy Beast

  30. Kelly on the December 27, 2010 remarked #

    Okay, I’ve decided we absolutely HAVE to travel together at some point, if only for the fact that you’d probably make me try some things I otherwise wouldn’t. Crickets? Don’t they get stuck in your teeth?
    Kelly recently posted..Bug Bytes- Life in Turkey

  31. Globetrottergirls on the December 27, 2010 remarked #

    Awesome year!! We just discovered Baleadas ourselves, although we had some that weren’t very good – but we’ll keep trying ;-)

    Can’t believe that you actually ate the crickets in Oaxaca – we were happy to be vegetarians when we came across them ;-)

    Have a fabulous 2011, food-wise it should be at least as exotic & exciting as 2010 ;-)

  32. Candice on the December 28, 2010 remarked #

    Shrimp cocktail! Looks oddly…delicious.
    Candice recently posted..2011- the Year I Give Life the Middle Finger

  33. LeslieTravel on the December 28, 2010 remarked #

    You’ve tried some interesting foods this year! I’ll be following your adventures in 2011 ;)
    LeslieTravel recently posted..The perfect day- Cross-country skiing at Warren Dunes State Park

  34. Jade on the December 28, 2010 remarked #

    YUM!!! that baleadas looks delicious! now i’m starving and only seafood will do!
    Jade recently posted..Traveler’s Night In- Travel Predictions 2011

  35. Christine on the December 28, 2010 remarked #

    More than the food, your food photography is AMAZING! Very impressive, and only getting better!

  36. The NVR Guys on the December 28, 2010 remarked #

    The whole crickets with lime thing… Not so much.

    Great post. We have enjoyed catching the last quarter of your year in food and look forward to more culinary posts in 2011.
    The NVR Guys recently posted..This Is a Blog That’s mostly About Being Happy

  37. turkey's for life on the December 28, 2010 remarked #

    And anyone who does a 2010 memories post and focuses on food – well, it’s always going to be a winner with us! What’s coming in 2011? :)
    turkey’s for life recently posted..Seasonal Food in Turkey – Hurma of a Different Variety

  38. John at BWI Parking on the December 28, 2010 remarked #

    Wow! That was a lot of food, and that’s a lot to remember. You’re blog makes me hungry now!

  39. joshywashington on the December 28, 2010 remarked #

    OH MY GOD I was hungry before I started scrolling and now I am famished with a healthy dose of wanderlust…you stinker! Happy New Year!
    joshywashington recently posted..36 Signs You Should NOT Stay at a Hostel

  40. Dave and Deb on the December 29, 2010 remarked #

    Yummy. We couldn’t bring ourselves to try the guinea pig either, but the crickets, no problem. Central and South America is definitely filled with great food. What wonderful memories you have and all the best for 2011
    Dave and Deb recently posted..Responsible Tourism with Intrepid Travel

  41. Migrationology on the December 29, 2010 remarked #

    From these culinary masterpieces displayed, I can tell you had a hugely successful 2010! Happy New Year!

  42. Nicole on the December 29, 2010 remarked #

    Great idea-best meals of 2010! Guatemalan breakfast and ceviche look the yummiest to me. Can’t wait to see what you bring us in 2011. :)
    Nicole recently posted..Din Tai Fung Dumpling House

  43. Angela on the December 29, 2010 remarked #

    Great post, delicious dishes, I would probably leave the crickets, but hey, I’m in China, speaking of culinary weirdness :P

    I wish you a very happy 2011!
    Angela recently posted..Favourite destinations for solo female travelers Emirates timeless beauty

  44. Skott and Shawna on the December 29, 2010 remarked #

    Hey Ayngelina,

    Cool post – one that has further motivated Shawna and I to get moving on plans for our own RTW, leaving mid-May…Oaxaca will actually be our first stop coming down from Canada…did you have any advice on places to stay?

    Well done on a great blog. We have been reading for a few months now…

    Happy New Year!

    • Ayngelina on the December 29, 2010 remarked #


      What a wonderful first stop, although where ever you go next will be a disappointment.

      I stayed at a very nice new hostel in Oaxaca, I can’t remember the namehttp://www.baconismagic.ca/wp-admin/edit-comments.php?p=2429&approved=1#comments-form though but I did review it on TripAdvisor. It was more like a hotel than a hostel. How long will you be there?

  45. andres on the December 30, 2010 remarked #

    guinea pigs are not pigs :))))))… and they taste pretty much like…. guinea pig.

  46. Matt on the December 30, 2010 remarked #

    Love the food round-up! It all looks incredibly delicious especially that shrimp cocktail. Happy New Year!
    Matt recently posted..Find the Joy in Your Life

  47. Andy Hayes | Sharing Travel Experiences on the December 31, 2010 remarked #

    Mmm – delicious! Happy New Year ;)
    Andy Hayes | Sharing Travel Experiences recently posted..Find a Reason to Celebrate in 2011

  48. Annie on the January 1, 2011 remarked #

    What a yummy post! You always take such beautiful shots of your food and it all looks so tasty!

    Your food posts are definitely inspiring me to start featuring more of my own food adventures, and maybe even get into recipes as you mentioned on my latest post!
    Annie recently posted..My Big Fat Italian Christmas

  49. wanderingtrader on the January 5, 2011 remarked #

    so you REEEEALY like food… lol :P
    wanderingtrader recently posted..THE STREETS OF OLD MONTREAL

  50. Work in Australia on the January 7, 2011 remarked #

    This is sure the thing you never forget with your 2010 experience. Actually i also love eating food, but i cannot eat those exotic foods that I think tastes bad. You’ve got a great 2010, and i guess 2011 will be another great adventure for you.

  51. James St. James on the January 10, 2011 remarked #

    I had that same Chicken/Rice dish in Belize after a day of tubing down a river in the rainforest. We actually saw a small crocodile on tyhe river’s edge. But yeah, that chicken dish tasted so good after an active day. Afterwards we walked through an orange grove and had fire ants bite out ankles. JSJ
    James St. James recently posted..Three Awesome Things

  52. Michi on the January 17, 2013 remarked #

    Stumbled upon this post from 2 years ago and love it!! Mmmmm, I LOVE Latin American food and all the variety is has to offer!!
    Michi recently posted..From Southern Spain to Northern Ireland

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