Now, when you’re galavanting about Ecuador at elevations of 9,000 – 13,000 feet and you only bring two pairs of pants (genius move, really), it gets pretty damn cold.
Luckily, South America has an answer for these nippy noodles – locro.
A traditional potato and cheese soup, locro is very popular in cities along the Andes mountain range. It has the consistency of a thinner potato chowder and can be served with additional slices of cheese (that taste similar to paneer), pumpkin seeds, avocado, and chili flakes. In restaurants, you’ll see it in the appetizer section, but it makes for a satisfying vegetarian lunch on its own, especially because it comes in American-sized bowls (merps).
I went on a locro spree in nearly every city I visited, so it’s safe to say that I’ve come to know a thang or two about what a good locro should taste like. The favorites are pictured below, along with where they came from. If anyone has a good recipe for this deliciousness, please send over!
Crap photo, but such is the price I pay for a bowl of this deliciousness at 11pm upon arrival into Ecuador. This version at Hotel Quito remained my favorite throughout the trip.
Restaurant Yaravi’s verison, at El Mitad del Mundo, not too far from Quito. I liked the DIY aguacate and cheese add-ins, but the soup wasn’t hot enough in temperature.
I loved the addition of the pumpkin seeds in this loco at San Pablo, which added a nice textural element to the soup of which I’m always a fan. Chicharrones were another add-in, but I stayed vegetarian….for now.
Another locro libation at D’Anita, in Cotocachi. Hot sauce addition by yours truly, because #lezbereal, it’s a brown thing.
Hotel Quito: Highly recommended; knowing Spanish is helpful, as there is a language barrier with some of the staff.
Restaurant Yaravi: Located amongst the shops of El Mitad Del Mundo, it serves traditional, no-frills Ecuadorian food. Pretty touristy, but solid food.
Cabañas del Lago: Beautiful bungalow rooms overlooking the lake and Imbabura volcano. Helpful staff with delicious South American food.
D’Anita: Another 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.