Vendors at El Parque de las tripas in La Floresta, Quito @world.lisagermany.com
Quito is a paradise for food lovers. El Patio Hostel is located centrally to hundreds of restaurants, cafes, and street vendors, each serving unique and appetizing cuisine. Whether you prefer something sweet, savory, hot, or cold, there's a dish to satisfy every palate. You can't visit Ecuador without embracing the culture; much of which is celebrated through food.
Colada Morada &
Guagua de Pan ("bread babies")
Beginning in October you will often see advertisements for both Colada Morada, a thick, purple drink & Guagua de Pan, a mini loaf of bread decorated with icing. This traditional food is typically made in celebration of All Soul's Day, or Dia de Los Difuntos, on November 2nd. The pairing symbolizes the blood and the body of the deceased.
You can find both at cafés, cafeterías, street markets, and pananderías. Colada Morada is served warm and made from mortiño, strawberry, black cornflour, pineapple, and babaco. The cornflour creates thickness, while the berries give it a purple color. Guaguas del pan are typically filled with jelly and chocolate. It's a sweet fix perfect for Quito's rainy days!
The first time I tried Canelazo, I fell in love! The best way I can describe it is Ecuador's version of warm mulled cider. To make Canelazo, you need Jugo de naranjilla (similar to orange juice), cinnamon sticks, spices, and aguardiente--a sweet alcohol made from sugar cane. While popular around Christmas, Canelazo is a warm alcoholic drink that you can find all over Quito. At dusk, I recommend ordering Canelazo in a cafe on Camino de Orellana while taking in views of Parque Guápulo.
Locro de Papa
Locro de Papa is a rich and thick potato soup, usually made with lots of cheese and topped with avocado. It's popular in Pichincha province because of its heartiness, especially on cold days. Locro is derived from a Quechuan word, ruqru, meaning stew, which makes sense because the consistency is much more similar to a stew than to broth. After one serving your belly will be full.
Rosero is another unique drink that is both sweet and refreshing. You not only drink it, but you can chew it! This is because Rosero is prepared cold with bits of pineapple, babaco, strawberries, and mote (corn). Its floral scent comes from rose water, lemon verbena, anise, cloves, and cinnamon. This drink is so old that younger quiteños might not know it. It can also be hard to find in Quito. Luckily, there is a cafetería close to El Patio Hostel that serves delicious Rosero, called Frutería Montserrate. It's a must-try!
Fritada (de chancho)
If you're looking to try a real Ecuadorian meal, then Fritada for you. It consists of fried pork or chancho. A complete meal comes with mote, llapingacho (fried potato or yuca stuffed with cheese), avocado, pickled onions and tomatoes, and sweet plantains. This dish is served in typical Ecuadorian restaurants and can also be found amongst street vendors in Quito. Add a fresh limonada and you have the perfect almuerzo Ecuatoriano!
Bolón Verde is made from mashed green plantains and filled with cheese, essentially like a fried cheese ball. They are quite filling, but best eaten hot when the cheese is melted on the inside. While just cheese is typical, you will also see Bolón stuffed with fried meat or chicharrones.
You can't come to Ecuador without trying Ecuadorian chocolate! About 60% of the world's cacao beans are grown in Ecuador. Experts say that the volcanic ash from the country's volcanoes helped to create extremely fertile soil, allowing the cacao bean to prosper. One of the best brands native to Ecuador is the award-winning Pacari which you can find in most food stores in Quito. My favorite flavor is Jingebre y Chia!