food is generally simple but tasty. Look out for typical
dishes in the different regions of Ecuador.
Ecuador Food Facts
varies across with country with delicious regional specialities and
typical dishes in the sierra and the costa. Food in Ecuador
is generally simple but tasty and rarely spicy.
usually find chilli sauce ("ají") on the table, so you can
add as much spice as you like. Rice is served with almost
everything, including potatoes and many breakfast dishes.
Soup is almost obligatory at lunch time and is often
beans, pasta, vegetables and grains such as quinoa or barley.
food does not have a great
reputation, but in fact there are a range of
Ecuadorian dishes which you
should try on
your way around the country.
"Comida típica" translates as typical local
food, refers to the traditional dish of the area and is worth
looking out for. In reality, the typical everyday
many rural restaurants is rice and chicken (or chicken and rice, for
variety....) The diet can seem monotonous if you don't make
effort to ask around for the more interesting traditional dishes of
in Ecuador can
be quite substantial, for example chicken stew and rice, especially in
rural areas where manual labourers need energy for a hard
day's work. Tourist breakfasts of juice, eggs,
bread, etc. are usually available in hotels and on the "gringo trail",
or you can improvise with bread and yoghurt from the bakery and fruit
from the local market. Encebollado (seafood and onion soup)
unusual alternative breakfast and is renowned as a great hangover cure.
is usually the main
meal of the day in Ecuador. Set lunches ("almuerzos") are
available almost everywhere from Monday to Friday and are often great
value at as little as $1.50 for a tasty and filling lunch (around $3.50
and upwards in the Galapagos Islands). A
typical almuerzo consists of a
fruit juice, soup, and rice with chicken, meat or, occasionally, fish.
If you are a non-vegetarian, on a tight budget and open to
trying new things, you should definitely go for the almuerzo, though
you will probably want to top up your vitamin intake later.
Almuerzos are harder to find at weekends and in tourist
See the veggie
food page for tips if you plan to follow a vegetarian
diet in Ecuador.
meals for many
Ecuador consist of coffee and bread or one of the many traditional but
time-consuming recipes such as humitas (ground corn steamed in leaves
with sugar and cheese to a sponge-like texture), quimbolitos (much the
same but squidgier) and various other similar but slightly
steamed things. All very nice, providing that
someone's grandma has
had time to prepare them for you, but they don't fill you up
there is not a vitamin in sight.
may not have much
choice of Ecuadorian evening meal, however, since many restaurants
lunch or in the
very early evening, especially in small highland towns or cold
cities such as Ibarra
and Riobamba, which are virtually moribund once it gets dark.
Larger or warmer towns and tourist areas are more likely to
restaurants open in the evenings. If you are off the beaten
track, fill up at lunch time and carry some nutritious snacks just in
Despite Ecuador being a
fertile country full of many different types of salad vegetable,
rare to get more than a token sliver of tomato with an Ecuadorian meal
unless you specifically
ask for salad. Please keep asking, we are on a nutritionally
here! Malnutrition is an issue in Ecuador, even in rural
areas full of fruit and veg., mainly due to lack of knowledge.
Please help by requesting vegetables or salad if you are
presented with just chicken and rice, and praising establishments which
do provide vegetables.
you spend much time
off the beaten
track in rural Ecuador, you may need to
take vitamin tablets, or
shop in local markets for carrots (zanahorias), avocadoes, radishes
tomatoes (tomates) to snack on. (Of course, you will wash
boiled or bottled water, and peel with your trusty penknife where
relevant). Fruit can be surprisingly hard to find in small
- you are perhaps supposed to have your own fruit trees - and may be
available only once a week from the fruit lorry. See
of Ecuador page for a glimpse of
the treats which might
Typical breakfast, lunch and dinner in Ecuador. Tips on
finding the best
food in Ecuador. Ecuadorian dishes and recipes.
from local markets: tropical
fruits and vegetables of Ecuador.