When I was researching all the food I was going to encounter in Ecuador, (obviously way more important than sightseeing), I was worried that there wouldn’t be a lot of pescatarian items for me. South America tends to be a meat-heavy cuisine, and it shows when you walk through the plethora of beef and chicken markets.
Luckily, Ecuador is a lush country filled with rivers and lakes, which means fish. In nearly every city we stopped in, fish found its way onto my plate, and gracias al dios because otherwise I’d be eating empanadas for every meal (which I would be okay with – more on that later)!
Check out the best of the traditional and non-traditional fish dishes we sampled. I added in a few of the standard meat options as well; I didn’t try them, but I heard great compliments from my family members who did eat those entrees. As for me, I was content with my
trout snapper sea bass – you get the picture.
Pescado for days.
In between cities, we made a stop-over to try maitos from a dhaba-looking place. Maitos are made in the same way as tamales – steaming things in banana leaves. Typically, they are filled with meat and served with some yucca root. The tilapia comes whole, head and bones, so it’s a little tough to pick apart, but worth the effort. Chonta kura (worms!) are another common delicacy, but I wasn’t brave enough to try them, which I’m okay with.
Most meats are cooked over an open flame in Ecuador, and fish is no exception. At Cotocachi, we had prawns and snapper, which I had fond memories of eating last year in Belize. The fish is prepared traditionally and is served with familiar items like fries and a salad.
Ecuador’s lakes are filled with trout, so it was the easiest fish to come by. The trout at Hacienda Manteles was fantastic – well-proportioned with room for dessert.
Llapingachos, a traditional dish of sausage, corn cake, egg, and avocado. Simple ingredients, but a filling dish as my brother can attest to.
How many licks does it take?
Banana con helado, a simple dessert with cream that is light as a feather. Moar plz.
Restaurant Yaravi: Located amongst the shops of El Mitad Del Mundo, it serves traditional, no-frills Ecuadorian food. Pretty touristy, but solid food.
D’Anita: A traditional restaurant in Cotocachi, a town known for its leather goods. Run by a family, everyone is attentive and accommodating, so don’t hesitate to ask questions. Outdoor patio is great during warmer weather, and fish dishes are delicious.
Hacienda Manteles: Beautiful hotel in Baños with great views of the mountains. It’s a homey bed-and-breakfast with extremely nice staff. If you ever need anything, Fernando, the manager, has your back no matter what.