A quick guide to 5 Ecuadorean whims

También disponible en español.

In Ecuador, we call a “hueca” to all the street food offer that serves great meals on a budget. It’s the name for those food carts, food stalls and traditional restaurants hidden among the streets where a great meal is served for a low quite convenient price. They’re part of our culinary heritage keeping alive the original Ecuadorean seasoning. It is there where you’ll try the recipes that have been secretly passed on through generations.

Colorful “Hornado”:

This local delight is made out of pork meat, slowly cooked on wood ovens, which gives the meat time to soak on the seasoning. By cooking it this way, the skin gets its special crunchiness, what we call “cuerito”, and its meat becomes tender. This dish is often served with hominy, smashed potatoes, avocado and lettuce. In addition, some may pure on a traditional sauce called “agrio”; a bitter-sweet dressing. Total cost: USD 4–6.

“Guatita”, exotic flavor:

A feast of Ecuadorian food must include the “guatita”. This dish is prepared with cow belly, therefore its name in spanish “guata” which means stomach with that local twist that expresses a deep feeling of empathy, the diminutive “guatita”. Usually served with potatoes, peanut sauce, rice, avocado and fried plantain, guatita will cost from 2.00 to 3.00 USD in the “huecas”.

“Encebollado”, a taste of the sea:

Despite being a traditional dish of the coastal region, you can taste this delicacy in all Ecuadorean cities. This soup is made out of codfish with a red onion broth, cassava and it is commonly served with fried plantain and popcorn. In the Ecuadorian Coast it is additionally served with bread, and in the Andes with rice and toasted corn. A dish that will range from 3.00 to 5.00 USD.

Exquisite chicken “seco”:

You may find this gastronomic delight in the Ecuadorian “huecas” throughout the country . It’s called chicken “seco” because it’s a second plate for lunch usually served after the soup. Rumor has it that the name resulted from a spanish version of the english word “second”, referring to the second dish of lunch, shortened to “seco” which in spanish means dry. Usually served with potatoes, rice and avocado, the traditional Ecuadorian recipe incorporates naranjilla juice and beer, an essential ingredient to prepare the sauce. Approximate cost from 2.00 to 4.00 USD.

“Morocho” with ”empanadas”:

A hot, sweet and thick drink ideal for cold nights, “Morocho” is made out of a type of corn, milk, panela, cinnamon and raisins. This drink is often served along with a good wind “empanada”, prepared with wheat flour and stuffed with cheese. The consume of “morocho” contributes with several vitamins, mineral salts and hydrates of carbon for the body. You can taste a glass of “morocho” and a “empanada” for only 2.00 USD.

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