Monday, June 25, 2007

La Comida Tipica de Ecuador

OK, I hope someone other than Adam Hollander enjoys this section--oh, what the hell, I don´t care; I like it. So, here goes, another edition of the only regular installment on El Gringo y El Gallo:


La Comida de la Selva


Here´s a rundown on the food we were served when Dave and I spent a few days in the jungle with the Quichwa community of Rio Blanco.

First of all, we got soup with every lunch and dinner. Here are a couple of types. The first is sopa de quinoa con yuca:





Next is masamora de verde, which is the most typical soup of the Quichwa:



For our first lunch, we were served a delicious fried talapia with fried yuca, beans, rice, and salad:



For dinner, we had palmita (heart of palm), which is one of the tastiest vegetables I´ve ever had:



This fish is called chuti in Quichwa. We tasted the babies fried. (That´s Pasquel, el profesor, holding it and Monica and Maxi in the background.)





Our last dinner was a delicious dish of leaves stuffed with hart of palm and chicken (ojas con palmito y pollo). This was truly fantastic--again, I never thought vegetables could have so much flavor.


And, for our last lunch, we had chicken with rice and--of course--more yuca.



Finally, last but certainly not least, is chicha, the beer of the jungle. To make chicha, the Quichwa boil yuca for 15 minutes, mash it, mix it with some old chicha, and then put it in a bucket to ferment overnight. Here is what it looks like in its traditional container:



And here I am partaking (not one to turn up my nose at local culture):



Interestingly, the Quichwa often drink weak chicha for breakfast. The stronger stuff is saved for fiestas.

I have to say that overall I was blown away by how good the food was. I wasn´t expecting all that much, but each meal was hearty and flavorful, complete with soup, a main course, and bananas for desert. I was always satisfied and never hungry after any meal.


La Comida de la Calle



As you all know by now, I love street food. Due to Dave`s reluctance to get sick on his short vacation, I didn´t indulge in as much of it in Ecuador as I would have liked. But here´s what I did get around to.

First, here is Edgar who runs a late night food stand (open ´till 4am) near the Tena bus station. He´s digging into a plate of cow intestines, which he let me try for free (Dave even had to try it against his better judgment b/c it would have been rude to turn down the offer):




Next we have a chicken skewer I bought on the bus. People are always coming onto the buses hawking every imaginable thing. So, I guess this is technically ¨motor vehicle food¨rather than street food...but I think the idea is the same.



Finally, this was technically sold out of a restuarant, but I think $1 shwarma qualifies as street food purely on principle. These were great and I think I ate 4-5 of them in two days while I was in Quito.






Food From Actual Restaurants



Every once in a while I break down and patronize an establishment with a roof and maybe even a health code certification.

Here is some shrimp ceviche I got my first night in Quayaquil:




Arroz con congrejo (rice with crab), also in Quayaquil:





And, this is Wilo´s (our Quichwa guide) favorite dish, ordered from a restaurant called Safari in Tena. It´s called chaulafun, a mix of chicken and shrimp with rice--and it´s quite delicious.



Dave thought the food in Ecuador overall was unremarkable. I´d tend to agree. There was all the usual fast food fare (pizza is as popular in Latin America as the States), and the stuff we got in restaurants was usually solid but not outstanding. The biggest pleasant surprise was the food we were served in the jungle.

11 comments:

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OLGUIS said...

hello I am from ecuador.
But some dishes I can not eat like Cuy and all the stuff of the cow like ubre,lengua,etc

Anonymous said...

Hey,
I'm from Ecuador too.
Did you try Cuy?
I don't like it but was wondering what you thought.
Also, did you try caldo de salchicha? (blood soup)
I can't wait to go back and eat.
It's hard to find ecuadorian food here.

Anonymous said...

Hola soy de Ecuador pero de la costa, donde hace calor todo el ano y comemos mucho marisco, cangrejo, camaron con choclo, verde asado, camaron en diferentes formas, pescado. Esa sopa de salchicha es horrible espeecialmente porque te puede dar la triquinosis que es un gusano que tiene el puerco y se te sube al cerebro y te mata poquito a poco y por muchos anos no sabes si la tienes. uacale! el cuy uacale! pero en la sierra, el yapingacho etc etc. no has conocido mucha ac omida del Ecuador, comemos los meyocos, los chochos y las frutas costenas ni se diga, creo estuiviste de paso nomas.

Anonymous said...

Se ve que el que cuando te vas de tu pais se te borra el casette, yo no creo que si tu madre prepara el caldo de salchicha va a comprar el peor tripaje al mas bajo precio, se ve que no mandas ni un dolar a tu casa en ecuador.

rossi0779 said...

Personas como tu mejor que no estan en el Ecuador por que dan lastima de ver y de conocer, mejor quedate po donde estes, Ecuatoriano falseta

bathmate said...

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Bathmate

Emilia said...

Bueno mi gente... Hay que decir la verdad, en mi tierra, se come rico , sabroso y barato.
Los paisaje de la sierra, la costa y el oriente... a cualquiera le quitan el aliento con su belleza.

Delicias Cuencanas said...

Hola, vi tu blog y me encanto. It certainly brings back a lot of memories. Ecuador is beautiful!! I'm from Cuenca, living in Florida for over 30 years and I'm surprise you didn't stop by. Cuenca is known for its architectual on its historical buildings, people and wonderful food. I still remember when my grandmother used to cook, cuys, humitas/chumales,tamales, guaguas de pan, guatita(the cow intestines you mentioned), the mote that doesn't fail with every dish, just mentioning my mouth gets watering, wow!!! thanks for visiting my beloved country, you were lucky on getting to know at least a little piece of Ecuador, unfortunately, I have not being able to come back, but before I die, I will.

Anonymous said...

Nice post… Thanks for sharing your such a nice person!…

Anonymous said...

Well love don't know where your friend and you ate but Ecuadorian food is the best I have had and I have been around the world. I found the Amazonian food horrible but that was my experience. The food of the Andes and Guayaquil not Quayaquil is out of this world. Sorry you missed the best part. I had a drink called Mansanilla OMG there is nothing like it. Boy do you need to go back. TY for the interesting read.