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General Information

International cuisine is available all around the country, but you must taste some of the Ecuadorian specialties, like Humitas (a steamed cornbread), Llapingachos (fried mashed potato patties with fresh cheese), Locro (a chowder made with potatoes, fresh cheese and avocado).

The majority of Ecuador's daily diet is based on rice, which, along with nearly everything else is almost always garnished with Aj (hot sauce), that varies in intensity, depending on the regions, or most likely on the persons seasoning. It is wise to try a little first to avoid any unpleasantness.

Seafood is popular throughout Ecuador. In the northern coast, many plates are "encocado" (blended with rich coconut milk). You may find an extensive variety of dishes in the coastal area, but the signature dish is the Ceviche (lemon-marinated shrimp, shellfish, squid or fish, in cold soup) served with popcorn and chifle (fried chips of green banana).

Be cautious, however, as improperly prepared Ceviche can sometimes be one of the primary agents for cholera and other nasty bacteria. Most restaurants are aware of this and act accordingly, but choose your dining establishment wisely.

Vegetarians will be pleasantly surprised by the wide selection of vegetarian restaurants in the principal cities of the highlands. Although you may not find easily, processed soy products, Ecuador counts on fresh beans of all types and quinoa seeds as very good protein supplements.

Drink only bottled or boiled water as well as asking for your drinks "sin hielo", without ice. Distilled and sparkling waters from Ecuadorian springs are available throughout the country and are good quality.

With the mouthwatering exotic fruits of Ecuador come delicious fruit "jugos" juices, including naranjilla (a small orange color, sour, refreshing citric fruit), tree tomato, mora (blackberry), guanabana (a fruit with luscious aromatic sweet white pulp), maracuya (passion fruit) and papaya.

In spite of Ecuador being a coffee producing country, coffee quality is often disappointing, as the best beans are usually exported. But if you can find a good caf you'll be able to revel in some first-rate caffeine, made from home-grown beans.

Since ecuadorian tea isn't cosidered to be of very good quality, we recommend for those tea lovers, to ask for a herbal infussion which are commonly known as "agua de vieja". Ecuador counts with a wide selection of medicinal herbs, (manzanilla=chamomile, hierba buena=spearmint, anís=anise and many more) which are offered after every meal in most of the dinning stablishments.

Culinary Terms



Seco or Al jugo Stewed
Brosterizado Rotisserie/broiled
Cocinado Boiled or cooked
Encocado Stewed in coconut milk
A la brasa Grilled
Frito Pan fried
Al vapor Steamed
Hornado Roasted
A la plancha Stir fried
Reventado Skillet fried
Apanado Batter-fried/breaded
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