Whew, it’s been a long time since I’ve been here on the blog or in Ecuador! Finishing traveling does not mean more time for blogging, it seems, but less. Regardless, onwards we go.
The food we sampled in Ecuador left something to be desired. Mostly, variety. I will fully concede that we only really tried food in Quito, giving us a very limited sampling. I’ve also been told many times since then that the food in the mountains is the least imaginative to be found. Well then. If I could go back, my first choice for eating would be along the coast – lots of seafood, peanuts, and coconut. How can you go wrong with a choice like that?
We did try some local, interesting dishes. First is yaguarlocro, a traditional soup that isn’t easy to find in restaurants (it’s often only served one day a week in places that do offer it). It starts as a creamy soup made with potatoes and meat, then the ingredients in the back are mixed in – in my case, by me. I assume that sometimes it comes pre-mixed. The bonus ingredients? Avocado, red onions, and – at least traditionally – pig’s blood (it could have been dried pig’s blood that was served to me). It creates an interesting blend of flavours and it something worth looking into if you don’t mind spending a bit more and want to get out the rice-beans-meat dish every night.
Two blocks away from our hostel was a restaurant run by a family from the coast where we were able to sample a small bit of the food we were aching for by the end of our stay. Two dishes were definitely worth mentioning. Maramote was actually a collection of other dishes served together in one bowl – ceviche de conchas negras (black clam ceviche), ceviche de pescado (fish), and viche de camarones (shrimp). They were placed into different parts of the bowl, which was pre-filled with a delicious seafood stock. Wow was it a lot of seafood. This dish was good (especially if you like seafood!), but not a knockout. I think it was the broth – I left that meal feeling very fishy, as that was all that was there. A good meal for when you’re missing the sea.
The other dish, however, took the top prize in Ecuador. Viche de pescado was a creamier soup with hunks of fish and an indescribably delicious blend of spices. We ordered this more than once, returning specifically for this dish. It was complex, it was tasty, the fish fell apart in your mouth, and it was filling. Who can ask for more? Not I!
Lastly, a word on a treat. We found many small stands selling snacks right around the seafood restaurant. Peanuts, almonds, and other kinds of snacks dotted their selling areas, but the biggest sellers were the coconut treats. I think we tried three different kinds of them, all delectable. They weren’t terribly different, although cooked coconut and coated coconut (this is the second) do have different flavours. They made great traveling snacks.
All in all, as I said, the food was disappointing in Ecuador. This was partly our fault for lack of traveling around to try it. However, it did make the good dishes really stick out. I suppose that’s a check in the pro column. Next: Colombia!