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10 Classic Ecuadorian Dishes to Try

Even though it's small in size, Ecuador boasts an array of ingredients and culinary influences. Here are the 10 dishes you should know.
Ecuadorian dish with rice, plantains, and chicken
Llapingachos are fried potato cakes that originated in Ecuador. They are usually served with a peanut sauce. The dish is similar to Colombian arepasiStockphoto/ BrasilNut1 / Getty Images/iStockphoto

When you think of Latin American cuisines, Ecuadorian food is probably not on the top of the list. And that's a shame, because even though it's small in size, the country boasts a diverse array of ingredients and culinary influences. 

Here are the ten staple Ecuadorian dishes you should know:

Muchines de yuca

Yuca, the root tuber of the cassava plant, is widely used in Ecuadorian cuisine. Whereas el Pan de Yuca -balls of dough made with cheese -can be found on many Latin American menus, muchines are specific to Ecuador. Similar to the croqueta, they are crunchy on the outside and stuffed with an array of fillings, both sweet and savory. 

Encebollado

A fish soup usually eaten for breakfast (especially if you’re recovering from a night out) consisting of tuna, red onions, yuca and cilantro. It can also be topped with plantain chips or corn tostado. 

Bolón de verde

This Amazonian dish consists of plantain dumplings in the shape of large balls -or bolones- stuffed with either cheese, chorizo or chicharrón, and fried until crisp on the outside, but tender on the inside. These are traditionally consumed during breakfast or brunch as well. 

Llapingachos

These fluffy, arepa-like pancakes are made with mashed potatoes, onions and cheese. They are served with a peanut butter sauce, or salsa de mani. We recommend you try them as a side dish or snack.  

Mote

Ecuadorian food includes a lot of inexpensive snacks. Mote is similar to hominy and is peeled, boiled and served with pork or with eggs, called mote de pillo in this case.

Mote pillo hominy traditional ecuadorian food Cuenca EcuadoriStock/ pxhidalgo / Getty Images/iStockphoto

iStock/ pxhidalgo

Cuy

This traditional dish may be a point of contention for some, since it consists of roasted Guinea Pig (a favorite amongst the people of the Andean region). While the meat is sometimes chopped and included in stews, the most popular way to serve cuy is barbecued whole, and seeing those little paws may take a little getting used to.

Encocado

The coastal region of Ecuador is known predominantly for seafood, including this popular coconut milk saucey dish served over rice. It can be made with fish, shrimp, or any type of marisco. 

Secos

Every country has its comfort food and for Ecuadorians it’s el seco. A seco is a stew that can be made with many meats--seco de pollo, carne, chivo, or borrego--served with yellow rice, plantains, avocado slices and curtido. 

Hornado

A popular street food served in the mountain region, which as the name indicates, is a spit-roasted pig that has been alinado or marinated with garlic, cumin and beer, and roasted to perfection.

It is also popular for family and neighborhood gatherings, served with an array of popular side dishes, including the aforementioned Llapingachos.

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