Ecuadorian cuisine. It is not all about cuy in Cuenca.

I just arrived in Ecuador a few days ago and the best meal i have had so far was at Capitan in Cuenca. I ordered a local beer, Cervesa Pilsener, plus the sea bass and langostino prepared with wine and olives. They gave me two little helpings of Picante Salsa with my beer which was cool. The salsa was mild but tasty and the beer was muy frio, which was appreciated because it was kind of bland.
The sea bass was flakey and firm with a nice hint of the wine sauce, a nice dish. The langostino may have been over cooked a bit, it was a bit too firm but again, a very nice dish.
Capitan is located just south of Parque San Blas which is nice little area to stroll and people watch.
I am liking Ecuadoran food so far. Off in a few minutes for hornado, which is Ecuadoran whole roast pig.


Belay that " best meal in Ecuador was at Capitan" post, LOL! I just enjoyed Hornado at Mercado de 10 Agosto and it was REALLY good! Hornado is very similar Southern pig roasts in the US but they add a salad that really complements the pork and the crackling skin. Plus there are these huge corn kernels that are crisp and a pleasure to eat. Plus some sort of cakey thing, maybe potato?
The pork itself is done to a turn, fully cooked and juicy, not overcooked and dry. The skin, which i would gladly have accepted more of, was nice and crispy.
Just a delightful meal. Ordering is a bit of a goat rope if your Spanish is lacking but they tolerated me. Bring small bills, though. She was not pleased to hear “veinte dolares solamente.”
Oh well. She did laugh when i grinned and thanked her profusely for bringing me my change.


I went to a mini chain by accident, Cosita’s, once for breakfast and once for dinner. No one spoke english at either location so it was my Spanglish or nothing. Breakfast was fairly good but the waitress explained at length something i could not even come close to understanding so i just asked for “Espresso o cafe con leche con su desayunar especial”.
And got the special and steamed milk, no coffee. LOL! She was so sweet about it that i left w a smile.
So I walked across the street for a cappuccino.
My Spanish is horrible but i am trying and the people in Ecuador are pretty nice with foreign travelers. Good times! Off to Guayaquil and the Galapagos next.

OH! I forgot the Moro (?) she threw in for free! It is a purple fruit drink (blackberries?) Ecuadorans drink in the season around All Saints Day. Delicious. Slightly earthy and mildly sweet! I think the real full name is colada morada.


I’m so happy you are reporting from your trip! Please keep it up! You make me so vicariously happy!!


I am happy to post about travel. And Ecuador makes it easy to do. Cuenca is a great city with very cool people. Now I just have to find the picture of the dinner special, La Cuencana. It was epic! LOL! I am not sure what the main meat course was, I am hoping it was cuy but I think it was pork. One can hope.


An adventure of a lifetime, for sure!

Much longer ago than I care to admit, my husband and I were lucky enough to travel around Ecuador and the Galapagos for a couple of weeks while visiting a friend. Here are some standout foods that I remember, which I hope you get to try:

Encebollado, an Ecuadorian fish stew that I recall being particularly noteworthy in Guayaquil

Ceviche, notable to me for being served with popcorn to scatter on top

Patacones, which are the thick slices of fried plantains that you probably know as tostones and were popular as a side with corvina (sea bass)

Chifles, which are those skinny fried plantain chips—hopefully you’ll find them prepared fresh somewhere

Aji, Ecuadorian hot sauce that I remember especially enjoying with patacones, chifles, and corvina

Tree tomato/tomate de árbol, which folks kept telling us was very healthful, and I think we came across in juice form. Juices from fresh fruit were a popular breakfast item and commonly available, which I hope is still true.

Llapingachos, a kind of potato pancake served to us with a peanut sauce on the side

Pernil (sandwich), an Ecuadorian-style roast pork loin that was usually served as a sandwich on a small roll

Really interested to hear what your standout meals turn out to be in Ecuador. Happy travels!

ETA: We never did try cuy. Didn’t feel that we needed to with all the other wonderful Ecuadorian foods. Coincidentally I also enjoyed langostino in Cuenca, at a restaurant called El Jardin (which mindblowingly still seems to be around decades later).


Great list, thank you! I have asked my driver, Felipe, about them and he was saying you have good taste!
I am sitting down for a lunch of trout and patacones at Mestizo on my way from Cuenca to Guayaquil!


This was the El Cuencana special I had for dinner yesterday at my second Cosita’s location. Really good! I think it it is churrasco but i am not sure.
On edit, no, it had two types of Mote, dark and gold, so i am not sure what it was


Your streak of good eating continues, yum.

I forgot locro in my list of greatest hits. It’s a potato soup that I remember having in Quito. I believe the version I had was garnished with peanuts (?) but my recall may be sketchy.

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I had a small 9" trout at Mestizo Restaurant just NW of Cajas National Park. Started w Las Ojos (?) that the server gave us while we waited and then trout, salad and patacones with a mushroom sauce that was really good.
I am butchering the name of the treat but it was really good, moderately sweet w light cinnamon finish.
The trout was small but a nice size for lunch and was prepared well. I am still trying to feel the love for patacones, and they were better w the mushroom sauce rather than the aji. I just felt like one was going to go flying across the room as i was slicing each of them into smaller pieces.
Off to find encebollada (sp?) near the Wyndham in Guayaquil.


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I just got off the Isabella II, my Galapagos Islands boat. Great time! But i did not take a single photo of any of the meals, though they were uniformly good.
The only Ecuadoran meal i took a photo of for 5 days was breakfast at the Wyndham Guayaquil.
Pretty good for a breakfast buffet at a hotel. Omelet man was rocking the range but the omelet arrived after i took the photo!

On to Peru later today.

PS. Some bucket list events are only so-so when you actually accomplish them.
For me, visiting the Galapagos Islands was even better than i imagined. It is simply incredible.


This is just a taste of how beautiful the Galapagos are.


We have been scheming for a Galapagos trip and even more so with Spring Onion. Love the reports/photos. Thanks, man.


There were not many younger people in the groups I saw, and none under 20 on my boat, which is a shame because they would LOVE the ability to see and approach wild life in the Galapagos. Most of the boats have 8 cabins because the Galapagos bureaucracy enacted a rule that there has to be one licensed naturalist for every 16 tourists. Which means cheap tours are harder to come by but you have small groups with each naturalist/ranger/guide. But you really have to shop around and sometimes booking early seems to mean you will pay the highest rate. I went through a small travel agency in Cuenca and got a rather good deal on the cruise, a one way tour from Cuenca to Guayaquil and a single night at the Wyndham in Guayaquil. The downside there is that there has been a bit more violence in Guayaquil of late. I believe 5 police officers were murdered by gangs over the past month. The Wyndham seemed secure with a lot of security.
I got my single room with no single supplement at around half of what some of the people paid who reserved their cabins early in the year, or before Covid hit in once case. I sailed on the Isabella II, which is not the newest or the fanciest, but it worked well for me.
I really liked just about everything about my larger boat. It was mid-sized, having 21 cabins, so 3 guides but only 31 people were there during my 5 day/4 night trip. That worked really well because there were 10 people who preferred their tour in Spanish and 21 that preferred it in English, so the 3 Zodiac boats were split evenly with plenty of room in the bow which allowed them to ride dry. The Isabella crew did not discriminate, half the announcements were in English first and Spanish second and the other half were Spanish then English. All 31 people bonded pretty well after we got to swim with penguins, seals, sea lions, flightless cormorants, sunfish, groupers, marine iguanas and sea turtles.
The chef was pretty good for a smaller boat with a nice touch with the corvina/sea bass, ceviche and shrimp. Deserts (simple but nice) were his specialty, sadly. I am not a sweets person.
Cabins were decent sized and very clean. The bar tender and head waiter were good sorts and the Captain was friendly and allowed us on the bridge when we crossed the equator during the early evening. We all got Shellback certificates from Neptune himself, declaring us to be true equator crossing Shellbacks. Plus there was a doctor on board. Who was also the best snorkeler on the boat…
There may be boats/ships that cater to younger people more than the Isabella, but if you can not find one, I do recommend Isabella.


Man, an experience of a lifetime. Sailing in the wake of Darwin.

Need to reread Steinbeck’s The Log From the Sea of Cortez again.

After Central/South America, you will continue to Asia??

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Yeah, I love Asia. Thailand is on of my favorite places and Japan is not far behind.
Right now my plan is to go to Nazca, Machu Pichu, Lake Titicaca, Chile, New Zealand, Fiji, Australia, Indonesia, Japan, Thailand, Turkey, Greece, Italy, Spain, Portugal, and then up to Frankfort to fly home on one of the last (kind of) 747’s flying.
My family has a cattle ranch in Montana and I would like to be home in time to help with branding on Memorial Day weekend.


Great trip!! Inspirational. :slight_smile:


I can hardly wait for all these reports! Thanks so much for posting, I am thoroughly enjoying everything you say!