Ten bites of Ecuador food


  • Tomate de arbol, literally tree tomato, but known to us as Tamarilo is a key ingredient of Ecuadorian chili sauce. It explains the vibrant orange colour of the sauce.
  • Tamarilo is also the go to juicing fruit for set meal breakfasts. It’s like the Ecuadorian lulo.
  • Avena – oats – is also sometimes served in a ‘juice’ form. This is not appropriate. Tamarind juice is only marginally more acceptable.
  • Whereas in Colombia cheap set meals were normally only available for lunch, in Ecuador you can get them at dinner time too. Tonight we had chicken soup, roast chicken, beans, salad and rice and it cost $2.50.
  • All these set meals have soup and then the seco or dry course. Luckily it’s seldom dry.
  • Another excellent seco option includes fried egg, chorizo and hash brown.
  • They make toffee from sugar cane here and they stretch it out dramatically from pieces of wood (see above). We bought some that was mandarin flavoured and it was excellent.
  • Local Ecuadorian chocolate is available here and some, for example the lemongrass flavour, is delicious.
  • The ice cream culture is more subdued than in Colombia (it’s much colder after all) but Magnum ice creams are widely available and a fraction of their cost at home.
  • Bacon also exists on breakfast menus.

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