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Kitchen Connection Goes to: Ecuador

Kitchen Connection Goes to: Ecuador

Ecuador, formally known as the Republic of Ecuador, literally gets its name as the “Republic of the Equator” due to its straddling location on the equator in South America. While nestled in the heart of the Amazon, its proximity to the coast has contributed to many delicious dishes including langostinos, Ecuadorian ceviche, and pescado encocado to name a few. Traveling to this country will also introduce you to many exotic species of seafood and fruit that will cool you off and make your visit even more refreshing!


Quimbolitos: The Sweet Tamales of Ecuador


Quimbolitos are sweet steamed puddings that can be served as snacks or for breakfast with coffee.They are known to be cooked in achira leaves, however banana leaves are also suitable.



Country Facts:


Official Name: The Republic of Ecuador 


Capital: Quito


Official Language(s): Spanish


National Dish(es): Hornado, Zarapatoca, Ceviche

Langostinos, Llapingachos, Patacones, Uchumanga, Encebollado, Mote con Chicharron, Pescado Encocado, Morcilla,Cuy, Carne en Palito, Seco de Chivo

Menestra, Chontacuro, Muchin de Yuca, Locro, Espumillas, Empanada

Arroz con Pollo, Bolon de Verde, Fanesca


Fun Facts: 

  1. Public buses will stop anywhere in the cities of Ecuador if someone is flagging them down.

  2. You may not have much choice of Ecuadorian evening meal, however, since many restaurants close after lunch or in the very early evening, especially in small highland towns or cold cities such as Ibarra and Riobamba, which are virtually moribund once it gets dark.  Larger or warmer towns and tourist areas are more likely to have restaurants open in the evenings.


“Insider Foodage”

*Country:  Ecuador

*Continent:  South America

Capital: Quito


*Largest City (ies):  Quito 

*Primary Language(s):   Spanish

*%Urban to Rural:  63.67%

*Primary Agricultural Exports: oc (tapioca), plantains, sugarcane, cattle, sheep, pigs, beef, pork, dairy products, balsa wood, fish and shrimp

*Population:  16,703,254

*Food expenditure for one week:  $325.78

*Caloric intake available daily per person:  2,344 kcal

*Alcohol consumption per capita:  3.88 litre

*Obese population: 18.70%

*Meat consumption per person per year:  56.4kg

*Prevalence of Hunger:  13.9 Global Index Score

*Culture:  Society and Culture



Ecuador is far from homogenous. The population is a mix of Mestizo (mixed Amerindian and white), Amerindian, Spanish and Blacks. 3%.

There are more than 14 indigenous groups on the mainland each with their own identities and nuances.

The main indigenous groups in the Amazon region are the Huaoranis, Achuar, Shuar, Cofán, Siona-Secoya, Shiwiar, and Záparo. The government declared the Tageri, relatives of the Huaoranis, "intangible," denoting their desire to live far from civilization.

The principle indigenous groups of the highlands are the Quichua, Cañaris, and Saraguros. The Awa live in northern Ecuador. The Chachis, Cayapas, Tsáchilas, and Huancavilcas live on the northern coast.


Regional differences exist and manifest in the way people dress, their physical appearance, language and family name. The people from the Sierra ("serranos") and the people from the Costa ("costenos") display the most pronounced regionalism. Ecuador has 4 diverse regions: the Amazon Rain forest, the Coast, the highland Andes, and the Galapagos Archipelago.

The Sierra is the heartland of Ecuador's indigenous culture. The oldest cultures of America lived on the Ecuadorian coast. Three cultures still exist: the Aws, the Chachis or Cayapas and the Tsachilas or Colorados.


The Roman Catholic Church has a strong influence on personal and social behaviour is part of national identity. Most holidays and celebrations are based on Christian festivals. Due to historical circumstances the Church is wrapped up with the process of government.

Indigenous Ecuadorians, while nominally Catholic, tend to blend Catholicism with their traditional beliefs.


Machismo survives in a culture where traditional gender roles remain. The man is the breadwinner and the wife looks after the home. From birth, children are raised to understand that they will have different roles and expectations in life.


*National Dish (es):  


  • Hornado - Hornado is a slow-roasted pork dish specially marinated in a mixture of chichi or beer, garlic, achiote or annatto, and cumin, making it savory and tender.

  • Zarapatoca - A stew that has become somewhat controversial due to its use of turtle meat. 

  • Ceviche -  Ceviche is made with seafood such as shrimp, black clams, or dorado (type of South American fish). The Ecuadorian version uses the seafood juices is it marinated in, making it more unique to the region.

  • Langostinos - Langostinos refers to the meat of the squat lobster, which is between a true lobster and prawn and are often used in many Ecuadorian salads, pastas, and casserole dishes.

  • Llapingachos - Llapingachos arepotato patties stuffed with cheese and cooked until crispy. If prepared as a main dish, it is often paired with chorizo, a fried egg, pickled tomato and onion salad, peanut sauce, and hot sauce.

  • Patacones - Patacones (or Tostones) are green plantains fried twice and served with fish dishes at restaurants all over Ecuador.

  • Uchumanga - Uchumanga is a fish stew that uses various types of fish based on location and availability. It is then combined with animal intestines and stewed.

  • Encebollado - Often eaten for breakfast, Encebollando is a fish stew made with albacore tuna or bonito, cassava, and red onion.

  • Mote con Chicharron - Mote con Chicharron is fried pork with boiled corn that can often be found in the markets and street vendors in Ecuador.

  • Pescado Encocado - Pescado Encocado is a fish dish cooked in coconut milk with tomatoes and bell peppers, where it is often served with fried plantains and rice.

  • Morcilla - Morcillas are blood sausages made with rice, vegetables, and pig’s blood that are often served at barbeques or fast food areas.

  • Cuy - Cuy is barbequed guinea pig cooked and served whole, however it can be chopped and incorporated into stews.

  • Carne en Palito - Carne en Palito are tender beef strips consisting of orange flavor and garlic that can be found at the local street markets.

  • Seco de Chivo - Seco de Chivo is ahearty goat stew usually served with rice, avocado, and sweet plantains.

  • Menestra - Menestra is a stew that be made vegetarian or with meat where it is made with lentils or beans, garlic, tomatoes, and chili powder.

  • Chontacuro - Chontacuro are essentially large beetle larvae. They can be consumed raw (live) or toasted on skewers.

  • Muchin de Yuca - Muchin de Yuca are fritters made from yuca and stuffed with cheese or pork.

  • Locro - Locro is hearty stew made with corn, beans, and potatoes. 

  • Espumillas - Espuillas a fruit flavored meringue topped with syrup and sprinkles.

  • Empanada - A universal staple food in South America, empanadas are a puffed pastry that can be stuffed with vegetables, chicken, turkey, or meat with plenty of cheese.

  • Arroz con Pollo - Arroz con Pollo is a traditional chicken and rice dish cooked with seasonal vegetables, herbs, and spices. 

  • Bolon de Verde - Bolon de Verde consists of plantains that are boiled then mashed and are stuffed with cheese or meat to be later pan or deep fried.

  • Fanesca - Fanesca is an Ecuadorian soup traditionally made during Holy Week consisting of 12 different beans and grains, which are believed to represent the 12 apostles. They are cooked in milk along with egg, pumpkin, fried plantains, and cod. The cod is meant to represent Jesus.


*National Drink(s):  

  • Canelazo (Cinnamon Spiced Rum) - This warm alcoholic beverage, a favorite in Ecuador, will certainly warm you up on a cold night. It is made with spiced cinnamon mixed with punta or aguardiente (local sugar cane alcohol).

  • Aguardiente (Firewater) - This beverage is similar to rum as it is made from sugarcane and flavored with aniseed.

  • Colada Morada (Spiced Fruit & Berry Drink) - A bold red and purple drink made with blackberries, raspberries, and spices. It is traditionally made during Dia de los Difuntos or “Day of the Dead”, where natives will bring this drink along with food to the cemetery and visit their deceased relatives.

  • Horchata Tea - A bright pink red Ecuadorian herbal tea made from a mix of herbs and flowers. 

  • Morocho - A thick, sweet drink made with morocho corn, sugar, milk, raisins, and cinnamon.  

  • Colada de Avena (strained oatmeal) - A fruity oatmeal drink made with oats, brown sugar, naranjilla fruit, water and cinnamon.  


*Main religions: Christianity (majority Roman Catholic, with Evangelical Protestantism 

*Indigenous communities and their dishes:Tsáchila, Chachi, Epera, Awa, Quichua, Shuar, Achuar, Shiwiar, Cofán, Siona, Secoya, Zápara, Andoa y Waorani, and Afro-Ecuadorians

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