One of the highlights of visiting any foreign land is to experience their cuisine. The culture of eating can be so different in another country. Not just in the food itself, but in the way people eat and the time of day that is considered mealtime. It’s not only about the food; as you break bread with those you are visiting or traveling with, suddenly the language and cultural barriers disappear and a commonality of a simple shared pleasure becomes the understood language. To truly understand the flavor of another country, you must delight in the flavor of their food.
So onward I went. I was determined to take the risk and lead with my taste buds wide open and ready to experience the cuisine of Ecuador. And what a treat it was. In Ecuador food still comes from the ancestors and culture. Indigenous people, once part of the Maya empire, still farm the steep terrain of the Andean volcanic range as you can see in the photo. It turns out that Ecuador is the birthplace of corn and potatoes. We saw 70 kinds of corn and 200 varieties of potatoes. The biodiversity is stunning and the way of life continues as it has been for thousands of years. How refreshing!
One of the 70 kinds of corn we saw (left) A woman shells beans at a local market (right)
Along the way we were offered empanadas, freshly boiled corn and oranges (left). There is even a village that specializes in mango and passion fruit grain alcohol (right). We sampled a sip from the car before moving on.
Fried corn called Chocle is served up with Cameron (shrimp) ceviche . I had it every morning for breakfast (left). For one lunch after rafting we had freshly fired Trout caught from a high Andean stream that flows wildly into the Amazon basin (right).
Eating from a village’s outdoor cooking facilities offers up the best array of typical Ecuadorian fare….
The only thing I didn’t eat this time was the cuy, or guinea pig. It looked too much like rodent being barbequed on the spit.