The food from Ecuador is known for its fabulous exotic fruits, high quality fish and seafood.
There are also countless varieties of Andean potatoes. Across the country you'll find a broad spectrum of national and regional dishes, including lemon-marinated shrimp, toasted corn, and pastries stuffed with spiced meats.
If you're feeling courageous, you can put your culinary bravery to the test with roasted cuy (guinea pig) or Caldo de tronquito (bull penis soup). This might sound estrange to you, but believe me this Ecuadorian food is really exceptional and really tasty.
The regular diet of rice, potatoes, and meat (beef and chicken everywhere, pork in the Sierra) is complimented by another national culinary institution; aji (hot sauce).
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Most Ecuadorian restaurants and homes have their own version of aji, each with its own intensity of "picante" (a word derived from the verb to bite or to sting), so sample a bit before smothering your food!
If you don't see a little bowl of aji on your table, just ask for it, they've surely got it. In addition to aji, basic dishes are usually accompanied by the rice, small salad, and potatoes or patacones (squashed, fried green bananas).
On the coast and in the Amazon Rain Forest the potatoes are often supplemented or replaced by menestra (beans or lentils) or yuca.
Soups are without doubt one of the most famous food from Ecuador. Most lunches and dinners are accompanied by a savory soup as the first course. Here are Some Great Ecuador Recipes
Locro soup, (one of my favorite soups) is made with cheese, avocado and potato, sounds a bit odd, but is actually quite tasty.
Chupe de pescado, a fish and vegetable soup with coastal origins, is becoming popular throughout the country. You can also try the famous yaguarlocro, a potato soup made with sprinklings of blood.
Those ready to throw their inhibitions completely to the wind should dip their spoon into caldo de pata, a broth containing chunks of boiled cow hooves, considered a delicacy by locals and believed by hopeful men to increase virility.
Other food from Ecuador found in your everyday restaurant or home include:
Seafood is popular and plentiful throughout Ecuador. Lobster dinners can be enjoyed along the coast and in major cities for very low prices. In the Esmeraldas Province on the northern coast, you'll happily discover a new culinary twist with encocados, seafood dishes prepared in coconut milk.
The main food from Ecuador, however, is Ceviche, a seafood dish marinated in lemon and onions, this is Ecuador's answer to sushi. Unlike sushi however, Ecuadorian ceviche is traditionally accompanied by popcorn and chifles (thinly sliced and fried green bananas).
Ceviche can be made of fish, shrimp, shellfish, squid, or all of the above (mixed). As a caution, though don't eat ceviches on the streets because sometimes they are improperly prepared so choose your dining establishment wisely.
CEVICHE de CAMARON (Marinated Shrimp)
Drop the shrimp into a large saucepan of boiling salted water and boil for 2 or 3 minutes, or until the shrimp are cooked.
Drain and mix with the orange juice, onion, hot pepper, tomato, salt and pepper to taste.
Let stand an hour before serving. Serve with Toasted Corn and Popcorn on the side.
Best of the jungle fruits include chirimoya, with a delicious custard-like inside, mamey, which has a red, sweet, squash-like meat and pepinos, a sweet white and purple striped cucumber-like fruit.
An Ecuadorian specialty is a unique fruit juice called naranjilla (It's incredible delicious). This fruit has a taste somewhere between citrus and peach.
Humitas, (flavored sweet corn tamale), and the national delicacy of roasted guinea pig. Bakeries offer delicious sweet pastries and empanadas (hot crispy meat-or cheese-filled pastries).
Another popular food from Ecuador is patacones (squashed fried green bananas). You will often find that most Ecuadorian homes have a special pounding stone for making this tasty snack. Restaurants have waiter service and there are cafe-style bars.
Also Ecuador has some of the best beer in South America. The most popular brand is Pilsener. International drinks and whiskey are available. You can find good Chilean wine also, but expensive.
The best local drink is canelazo, made from sugar cane, alcohol, lemon, sugar and cinnamon. Another local drink is pisco, made from fresh lemon. Alcohol cannot be sold after 02:00 AM.
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