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What do People in Ecuador Eat? My Favorite 15 Foods

Posted in: Ecuador Food, Ecuador Travel

So, what do people in Ecuador eat? In this post. you’ll learn about 15 typical dishes in Ecuador.

What Do People In Ecuador Eat

What Do People In Ecuador Eat? My Favorite 15

There are so many wonderful things about Ecuador – the scenery, the people and the culture. A big part of Ecuadorian culture is their food, passed down for generations. So it begs the question: What do people in Ecuador eat? Here are some of my favorites!

What People Eat in Ecuador

When you visit Ecuador, you’ll see many new dishes. Have an adventurous spirit and you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

7 Snacks and Side Dishes in Ecuador

I’ll start with some typical side dishes and toppings.

1. Plantain Chips

Plantain chips are a very satisfying snack. A plantain looks like a banana, and tastes a bit like a sweet potato. They can be eaten anywhere between green and nearly black.

When green they have a more starchy, potato taste; and when black they are quite sweet. They are fried and made into chips both ways. I enjoy eating them green, with lime juice to spice them up. Plantain chips are used as a snack or as a topping to soups, such as encebollado or ceviche.

Hungry for more? Here are 10 ways to prepare plantains – sweet and savory.

Platanitos / Plantain chips

2. Aji

Aji is an Ecuadorian hot sauce served with many dishes, given that the food is rarely spicy. There are many different varieties of it, the one I like the most has slices of red onion in a smooth, spicy mix of hot sauce – with tree tomato and mayo.

3. Patacones

Patacones is also made with green plantains. They are cut in thick slices and fried in oil, while being periodically squashed until the come out as golden discs of deliciousness! Patacones (also known as tostones in countries other than Ecuador) are served with many meals that include meat, chicken and/or rice.

4. Salchipapas

Salchipapas are french fries with a hot dog cut up on top, served with ketchup and mayo. This is definitely a favorite!

The mayo with french fries may sound strange, but it is amazing :). ‘Salchipapas’ stands for ‘papas con salchicha’; or potatoes with a hot dog.

Salchipapas Ecuador

Salchipapas with mayo and ketchup

5. Menestra

Menestra is a bean side dish, a bit like chili; only it’s not spicy and doesn’t have any meat, so nothing like chili ;). Menestra is served with many dishes, particularly grilled meat and chicken.

6. Pan de Yuca

Pan de Yuca is a small bun with cheese. Yuca is a root vegetable similar to potato. This bread is a great snack, especially when it’s warm and fresh! It’s also eaten with breakfast.

Yuca bread in hand Cuenca

7. Llapingachos

Llapingachos are, frankly, amazing! Llapingachos are a ball of fried cheesy-potato ball of wonderful. They may be served with breakfast as well as lunch.

8 Main Dishes in Ecuador

These are some of the common and delicious main dishes in Ecuador.

8. Encebollado

Encebollado is a very popular coastal dish, and definitely one of my favorites! While it is originally from the coast it is served in the Sierra as well.

Encebollado consists mostly of tuna, red onion, yuca (similar to potato), and cilantro. Then it’s topped with plantain chips and toasted corn (‘tostado’) and/or popcorn. This may not sound like a very good meal, but after you taste it you’ll realize how amazing it is!

Encebollado camarones shrimp in Ecuador

9. Caldo De Gallina

Caldo de Gallina is a chicken soup… and by ‘chicken’ soup, I mean chicken foot soup. That’s right, if you order this, don’t be surprised if you find a whole chicken foot in your soup! It is actually quite good despite the first impression. But you deserve a fair warning :).

10. Cuy

Cuy is the one you’ve been waiting for… that’s right, guinea pig. While some are automatically turned off to the prospect, I like to keep an open mind.

I found it to be very tasty! I liked it best roasted on the spit. Yes, I know it looks gross. I’m the teenage girl, I’m the one that should be squealing “Ewww!!!” and running the other way; not you! 🙂

I would definitely suggest trying it at least once. Cuy is generally served with potatoes and aji.

Cuy street food in Cuenca Ecuador

11. Churrasco

Churrasco is really good! It has a thin, salty steak covered in gravy, with a fried egg, a large portion of rice and menestra or fries.

Often it will also have a small salad and a piece of avocado on the rice. It’s a cheap, common filling – and delicious! – meal. You can get it almost anywhere in the Andes part of Ecuador.

Churrasco at Coppelia in Cuenca

This is sooo good!!

12. Pizza Americana

Pizza Americana is an interesting pizza to say the least. I really liked it, but it is a bit strange. It’s your typical salami pizza with french fries on top. It’s strange but yummy.

13. Secos (Chicken, Beef, Goat, Lamb and Tripe)

Secos are amazing! There are many different types of secos, pollo (chicken), carne (beef), chivo (goat), borrego or cordero (lamb), and guatita (cow stomach). I’ve had all of these except the guatita.

Mom and dad tried it and said that it “tastes like a barn smells”… I figured I was okay without :). Secos are served with a delicious, thick gravy, rice, plantain, avocado and sometimes a small salad.

Seco de chivo in Ecuador

14. Corviche

Corviche is simply divine!! I love it! It is deep fried fish in a grated plantain flour, topped with fresh red onions and tomato with lemon juice and a special mayo.

Corviche is typically served on Ecuador’s coast. Definitely one of my fav’s… can’t decide between encebollado or corviche!!!

15. Higos con Queso (Figs and cheese)

This is a popular dessert, candied figs with local, unsalted, soft cheese. Delicious!

figs with cheese

Learn more about sweets in Ecuador in our post about 16 Ecuador desserts.

A word of caution: Although I have a great love for the people of Ecuador, we need to be careful which restaurants we choose to eat from – as in any other country. Because our immunity is different from people in foreign countries we need to be cautious. People from Ecuador could just as easily come to the US or Canada and get sick eating the same things we eat with no problem. It is the same for us there.

Another thing to consider is that the same health precautions are not as commonly implemented in Ecuador as in the US or Canada. So be judicious as to where you eat and you will more than likely be fine. A good rule of thumb is to stay away from fresh salad or fresh fruit considering that the tap water may contain parasites.

I don’t mean to scare anybody, I just feel that this may reduce your risk of illness; I’d hate for your trip to be ruined with parasites! Something that works well to disinfect fruits and veggies at home is grapefruit seed extract.

Hungry for even more? Check out our huge guide to the best food in Ecuador.

Your Turn

I hope you’ve enjoyed this post and that it’s given you inspiration for your trip to Ecuador!

So, what do people in Ecuador eat? The traditional food is delicious and (generally) inexpensive! What are you looking forward to trying?

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Meet the Author

Drew Haines is an animal enthusiast, travel writer, and content marketer. She loves to share her passion through her writing. She is the founder and owner of EverywhereWild Media, EverywhereWild, and co-founder and owner of JustBirding. She also writes on GringosAbroad and Storyteller Travel. She lived in Ecuador for 6 years and explored the Galapagos Islands. Currently based in N.S., Canada.

9 comments… add one
  • Satwant singh Oct 21, 2019, 8:49 pm

    Please add about other countries food also that tourist like more, indian food shere punjab restaurant in quito and baños de agua santa, plz mention in food categories thanku

  • Marco A Eguez Feb 18, 2019, 8:48 pm

    It is simply amasing the way you describe all those delicious dishes. You missed one important one which is served only on Easter and is called fanesca . Happy eats.😊

    • marta ramirez Oct 11, 2019, 10:09 pm

      Could you please help me with a definition or description of what “bolor” is in Ecuador?
      Much appreciated!!!!

  • Anne Parr Jul 6, 2017, 1:50 pm

    Great article Drew. I have read your parents articles for many years and have now moved to Ibarra. I hope you will return! I would add Fritada and Ceviche to your list although the latter might not appeal to everyone!

  • Gayle Strohkirch Mar 27, 2017, 2:09 pm

    Congratulations on being an accomplished writer! I really enjoyed the article, but I felt I needed to add MY favorite Ecuadorian (not sure if it is originally Ecuadorian, though) food – HUMITAS!!! Especially the cheese-filled ones! Have you tried them? YUM!

  • Rob Lamontagne Jan 2, 2017, 4:54 pm

    Love the writing style. It is fresh and bold! The content was good too! Haven’t tried them all yet, but will look for them. I would add ceviche con camarón to your list, my personal favorite!

  • Thomas Stanford Jan 1, 2017, 10:25 am

    You forgot seco de pato(Duck). My favorite.

  • Yolanda Hayes Jan 1, 2017, 7:52 am

    I just want to say that this was a well written blog. I truly enjoyed it! I thank because I have always wanted to show the foods here, but I not that talented or patient to compile the photos and added imformation. You deserve an applause ! Thank You again!

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