Ecuador is, without a doubt, one of the best places in South America when it comes to offer delicious cuisines. Usually alluded to as a “mestizaje”, food in Ecuador is an amalgamation of ingredients and influences that have stretched along a duration continuum of more than 600 years: ever since the Spanish Conquest.
Most individuals know the principal indigenous ingredients in the Andes include Chili peppers (aji), yucca, avocado, quinoa, corn, and potato. Add to this enumeration the rich seafood you will naturally find at the coast as well as exotic fruits from the tropical areas of Ecuador, and you get probably the most nutritious and colorful cornucopia in the world.
The nation’s cuisine transforms from one region to the next. People from the coastline prefer plantains, fish, and beans, whereas people from the Andes region prefer meat, rice, and white hominy mote.
The nation’s specialty soups are yaguarlocro (potato soup), sopa de bolas de verde (fried plantain balls drifting inside a thick peanut based soup), Locro (a soup prepared with potato, cheese, and avocado), and ayampaco (either chicken, beef, or fish covered in bijao leaves and baked)
Other meals you will find in the nation include seco de pollo, seco de chivo, pollo ishpingo, lomo salteado, hornado, encebollado, choclo, and ayampaco.
This is a meal of Creole origin and its flavor is in its preparation. It is prepared in a traditional cooking pot (bronze paila) where the pieces of pork are cooked in onion, salt, water, and garlic. Once the water inside dries, the pork meat will be fried in its own fat until it turns golden. Usually, this meal is cooked in firewood.
The Fritada is normally accompanied by corn, potatoes, avocado, tortillas, toast, and mote. You can serve it with curtido sauce and chili. The Fritada Imbaburena is a traditional delicacy prepared by the Andes and you can find it in food fairs, restaurants, and markets.
Llapingachos is one of the most renowned dishes in the Andes region. It is basically a meal prepared from mashed potatoes. If I were to describe it in basic terms, I would call it the potato pancake of Ecuador.
In the city of Ambato, Llapingacho is served with a locally prepared fried egg and sausages. But you can also serve it as a main dish with sliced avocado, side salad, and the ever-present aji. Then it also normally includes a fresh cheese placed at the center.
What’s more? Recent gastronomy trends in the nations have started to rediscover other conventional ingredients which were, for some reason, forgotten during colonization. Ingredients such as jicama and mashua (legumes and local tubers) have found their way into the best kitchens in Ecuador alongside other herbs such as the chocho bean and ortiga.