Having visited the Galapagos Islands in Ecuador I was struck by the natural beauty and warm hospitality of the country. It shouldn’t have surprised me to see that simple, natural ingredients were the backbone of Ecuadorian cuisine, and naturally gluten-free. Each of the country’s three geographic regions, the Amazon, the Sierra, and the Pacific Coast features its own array of local delicacies. And, while being in on the coast, seafood was a no brainer. While in Ecuador you should take advantage of the large variety of fresh fruit that is available including the local naranjilla which has a flavor described as a cross between rhubarb and lime and also try the typical guanabana. With so many food options, here are 7 dishes you shouldn't leave coastal Ecuador without trying:
One of the dishes that stands out the most in Ecuador is the ceviche. Although ceviche is a favorite of coastal areas in Latin America, in Ecuador theres a twist to it. During my 10-day stay I enjoyed a copious amounts of ceviche from fish in a tomato lime sauce to shrimp and octopus ceviches.
Dry roasted Andean corn is sold as a snack food on the streets.
3. Arroz con Pollo (or Shrimps)
Arroz con Pollo (rice with chicken) and Arroz con Camarones (rice with shrimp) are both traditional dishes found throughout Latin America. There’s nothing special about the versions you’ll get in Ecuador. Both are good staple dishes you can always fall back on if nothing else on the menu catches your eye.
Langostinos are one of the many fresh and delicious seafood options on offer in Ecuador. Because the country is so small, they can easily be sourced from the coast, so don’t be afraid to order them if you’re in the Sierra mountains.
Llapingachos are one of Ecuador’s best known, and most beloved, dishes. They are potato patties made with cheese, and cooked on a griddle until golden brown. Llapingachos are often served as a side, along with pork, such as chorizo, a fried egg, avocado and salad.
6. Pan de Yuca
Like the Brazilian Pão de Queijo, Pan de Yuca is a soft bread made with flour from the yuca root, cheese, butter, and eggs. It’s common throughout Latin America, and often goes by different names depending on the country. Served warm, it makes a delightful appetizer or snack.
Empanadas – small baked or fried pastries with filling. Coastal empanadas are made of plantain and filled with cheese, beef or shrimp.
Humitas are the Andian version of Mexican tamales. Sweet fresh corn is ground blended with milk, cooked in oil, then wrapped in the husks and steamed. Humitas are widely available throughout Ecuador.