Ecuador Essential Eats Part 1: Quito

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8 days, hundreds of photos, and a slow crawl back to reality later, I present to you the good, bad, and bizarre eats from the world of Ecuador. ¡Bienvenidos!

Our stay in Ecuador began and ended in its capital city, Quito. Located 9,350 feet above sea level, it is summery enough to stay warm during the day but cold enough to bring a jacket, similar to San Francisco. It is a bustling city, divided into Old Town and New Town with food that ranges from traditional cuisine to American burgers.

Coffee menu from Tianguez

I wish I could have spent more time in Quito, as it’s a big place with lots to explore. But of course, we never have enough time, so the motto during our excursion was, appropriately, #wheninecuador. Everything eaten on this trip lived and died by this mindset, and it’s how I believe we all should act when visiting some place new. How else will we find the most delicious noms?

As much as I missed me some ‘murrican food, I committed to eating as traditionally as I could during my stay. Check out the highlights from Quito and get the links for everything below!

Capital cuisine.

Breakfast in Quito is a mix of old and new. We stayed in Hotel Quito, a renowned and modern place, so our morning meal matched the ambiance. Fruit is a big deal, especially passionfruit because there are three different local varieties. I liked topping my fruit with coconut and granadilla seeds – they taste like crunch boba! I can’t remember what the second item was, but it was essentially semolina steamed in a banana leaf, a common cooking method in Ecuador.

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Tianguez is an arts and crafts shop and restaurant at San Francisco Plaza, in Old Town. It has a lot of local goods, such as passionfruit jams and cacao liquor, which tasted like a much better version of Kahlua.

Coffee in Ecuador is extremely tasty and it fueled many an early morning for us. Tianguez has great coffee – strong and flavorful, so a little goes a long way. Our favorites were the espresso, el sagrario, and café cantuña, that had enough rum to keep us buzzing for the day!

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When in Ecuador, eat ice cream before lunch, because you can and it is delicious. However this isn’t ice cream the way we consider it to be. Made only from sugar and fruit juice, these helados are made by hand by vigorously stirring everything in a large copper pot (the paila). The resulting dessert is fresh, light, and super fruity. I had a double scoop of two passionfruit varieties and yes, if anyone is noticing, I kind of developed a thang for passionfruit after this trip. It happens.

Linkables

Hotel Quito: Highly recommended; knowing Spanish is helpful, as there is a language barrier with some of the staff.

Tianguez: Great shop for souvenirs and a midday pick-me-up. The shop stretches underground for a mile with dozens of rooms showcasing different knickknacks. It’s easy to get lost and spend a lot of time here, so keep an eye on the clock if you have a schedule.

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