Every nation has their specialty foods and Ecuador is no different. However, due to the extreme diversity of the country the different regions often have foods all their own. Yet there are some foods and drinks that can be found throughout the country and are truly the taste and toast of the nation.
Following are three that are as uniquely Ecuadorian as there is.
- 1. Cuy – Far and away the one food that is Ecuadorian. Before you order you should know that the word Cuy is another word for Guinea Pig. Yes, the same fluffy little guinea pig you can buy at pet stores and take out of its cage and cuddle with. The Ecuadorian name comes from the sound the animal makes. It is a delicacy in the main cities, but is a common staple in the Andes and Central parts of the country. Be prepared if you order a whole cuy, because it will come served complete with its head still attached.
- 2. Canelazo – An Ecuadorian original created in the country’s highlands, this drink is found few other places in the world outside of the Andes. The main alcoholic ingredient called aguardiente is extracted from fermented sugar cane. Cinnamon is the other main ingredient. It is served hot to ward off the cool mountain nights. It can be found from street vendors to upscale establishments.
- 3. Chocolate – With its native cacao plant growing wild as well as being commercially farmed it is no wonder Ecuador is home to some of the best chocolate in the world. The cacao seed goes back centuries and was first traded by indigenous tribes as a form of currency. Even now the beans are worth their weight in gold when it comes to taste. There are many chocolate factories in the country. One especially well known is the Orrico Chocolate. Like most it specializes in dark chocolates and its final products can be purchased in specialty stores in the U.S.
Remember when dining in Ecuador, the food does not have to begin with a “C”. But if it does, keep an open mind and enjoy the culinary specialties of the region.