Bocadillos y Adios: Ecuador Essential Eats Part 5

Food market at Otavalo; quail eggs and juices are on the breakfast menu this morning.

Various types of juice; pepinos dulces, or sweet cucumbers, jello!

In the life of a twenty-something, it’s easy, and oftentimes preferred, to spend our hard barely-earned money on immediate needs – a good meal (my friends know I do this way too much), a good drink (hay, whiskey), and a good night on the town.

While I love all this, I actively try to spend on what I normally am unable to experience. That means travel.

Travel necessitates us to put ourselves in another’s shoes. It is a privilege and sometimes a curse, but ultimately it is a fresh perspective. Ecuador gave me each of things in small, bocadillo-sized portions. Nowhere else would I be able to eat three different types of passionfruit, munch on yucca chips instead of potato chips, and sample guinea pig.

I encourage all of you to strap on your walking shoes and get moving to experience some place new whenever and wherever you can. Even if you become fearful, annoyed, or sick (also known as the guinea pig incident), it’s all worth it. Enjoy these last noms from el mitad del mundo and have a wonderful weekend of food!

The guinea pig incident….the shark made me do it!

Ama la vida y baila cada día.

Sorry SF, this is a real rooftop garden.

A snack of plantain with some sort of cheese inside

¡Cuy! For guinea pigs, they’re pretty big 😛

Yucca chips and melcocha, an Ecuadorian taffy candy made by handpulling the sugar against tree branches.

Empanada Frenzy: Ecuador Essential Eats Part 4

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A local in Baños makes savory and sweet empanadas.

I know – y’all are probably sick of me gushing about Ecuador by now, but guess what? Empanadas!

Along with the overload of volcanoes we saw (seriously, there are so many volcanoes with so many names; I renamed them all Karl), empanadas are errywhere. A staple in South America, they come stuffed various fillings depending on the region. In Ecuador, green banana is common, as is cheese and one filled with cinnamon and sugar for dessert! The American equivalent would be hand pies, but we all know they just aren’t the same.

The word empanada comes from the word empanar, which means to wrap something in bread. I find that fascinating that there is a whole word devoted to this concept. It just goes to show that the Spanish know what’s up when it comes to their pastries.

Check out mis pasteles favoritos below. I’m very tempted to make some dessert empanadas of my own next week – what are your thoughts on what I should stuff them with? If I pick your filling, you’ll get a homemade batch delivered to you!*

So many options.

* Giveaway applicable to SF residents only.

Starting the trip right with baby empanadas at Hotel Quito. The spicy dipping sauce was awesome as well.

A green banana empanada on the right and a chicken one on the left from Restaurant Yaravi.

A sweet empanada from the local market. I also got a savory one, cus I’m a fatty like that.

The last empanada standing…at the airport! Don’t mind my grimy nails.