There are affiliate links in here. I get a small commission if you purchase through them at no extra cost to you.
Food is the best. It’s exciting, delicious, and adventurous if you choose the right thing. While I was in Ecuador, I got to try weird things, well weird for me.
This included llama, guinea pig, and cow skin soup. It was all delicious, but the soup was a little weird, think soggy gummy bears in broth. Very odd, but I’d still recommend you try it if you can!
Food is a great way to experience a different culture. Not only is it exciting, but it opens your eyes to delicious food that you may have never been able to try back home.
Aji and fresh fruit juice are two things I never knew I needed in my life. Fruit juice is a part of every meal and a refreshing addition to the rice also at every meal. Here’s a look at some of the food of the popular foods in Ecuador and traditional Ecuadorian food.
Travel Services I Recommend:
AllTrails – This is my favorite hike tracking app.
Discover Cars – I recommend Discover Cars for rental cars.
Booking.com – This is great for finding and booking hotels.
Get Your Guide – I recommend Get Your Guide for booking tours.
National Park Obsessed – This is the best national park planner.
Skyscanner – Skyscanner is great for finding and booking flights.
See all my resources here.
Who doesn’t like ice cream? I’ll leave it at that. I would also recommend the little strawberry ice cream hearts you can find in little shops. I ate so many of those!
I love plantains. That’s what I ate probably 75% of the time I was in Nicaragua. They usually come two ways. Yellow plantains are ripe and when they’re fried, they’re soft and sweet.
Green plantains aren’t ripe, so when they’re fried, they are much crispier. I definitely prefer the green. These are a popular street food, but they also come as side dishes quite a bit. My preferred way of eating them was with white rice and hot sauce.
Cuy (Guinea Pig)
The whole thing. They breed them to eat, I’m pretty sure that’s why they’re so giant. It was actually really good. Like a lot of things, it was like chicken. It can be found in the Andes in Ecuador along with Peru and Bolivia.
Trying cuy in Ecuador is definitely something you should do at least once. I’d say this is one of the must-try tradition Ecuadorian foods you need to try.
Figs and Cheese
This was our dessert one night. I wasn’t a huge fan, I think it was a little too sweet for me, but it’s still worth a try. If (when) I go back, I’ll probably still try it again.
This is a fermented beverage made from corn, maize, grains, or yucca. I’m not sure if we had it the traditional way (served with a dash of saliva) since we had it in a bar/restaurant in Quito, but I do remember it was pretty good and served hot. I’m not sure if it’s always served hot, but I would recommend it that way.
Cow Skin Soup
This was weird. It tasted fine, but the pieces of cow skin were, uhh, different. They almost felt soggy. A lot of places will have a basket of popcorn on the table.
This isn’t a pre-dinner snack. You put it on your soup! It’s delicious, but I would recommend adding it as you eat and not all at once. That way it doesn’t get as soggy.
This is a salsa-type condiment that goes on everything. Sometimes it’s spicy, other times milder. It. Is. Heavenly.
I’ve tried to find it in the US, but haven’t been successful. Now I’m thinking I should just try and make some myself. This is the perfect condiment and accompanies pretty much every meal.
The ones we had were filled with cheese, and super delicious. Ecuador has pretty great food. The most common fillings are cheese, chorizo, mushrooms, chicken, turkey, beef, and veggies. These are a very popular street food in Ecuador.
I have been told multiple times now that this is not an empanada (in the picture below), it’s just what I was told they were. I’ve been told these are tortillas, if that’s not right either, let me know and I’ll fix it.
Or as I like to call it, cold fish soup. This is another must-try Ecuadorian food. There are tons of different kinds to try, but it’s pretty likely no matter what you kind you choose here, the fish will be pretty fresh thanks to all the coastline in Ecuador.
Your fish of choice will be in a broth of its own juice with lime and occasionally orange juice.
It will also usually have chopped up onions, tomatoes, and green peppers. Unlike most ceviche, the fish is usually cooked in Ecuadorian ceviche giving it a nicer consistency. I won’t lie, it wasn’t my favorite but it wasn’t terrible either.
Ours came with rice, fried plantain, and an avocado. I’m not sure how common this is (not very, I’ve been informed), but we had it in a small village in the mountains. I wasn’t a huge fan of this.
The meat was pretty tough and fatty. I’m also not a huge fan of the sweet plantains like this, I prefer the fried ones. I didn’t love this, but I’m glad I got to try it.
If you’ve been trying to figure out what to eat in Ecuador, I hope this helped at least a little bit and that you enjoy whatever you end up with!
Even if something sounds really weird, definitely try it. From traditional food in Ecuador to the street food in Ecuador, it’s all delicious and you should try everything you can.
What’s the weirdest thing you’ve eaten? Do you like trying weird food when you travel? Have you had any of these things?
10 thoughts on “Aji, Figs, and Guinea Pigs: What To Eat In Ecuador”
Hiya! I’m an American that now lives in Ecuador, and I can wholeheartedly back up everything you said. The Salcedo ice creams are amazing!! And so’s cuy 😋 if I may add, there’s a few other weirder things you can eat here. Some people put tree tomatoes (which are actually sweet fruits, not related to tomatoes in taste) in the ají. I’ve also tried churros here, which are NOT cinnamon pastries, but are actually tiny freshwater snails they serve with lime, salt, and toasted corn. There’s also different bichos, or beetles they have here. One is a large white one that only seems to exist in November (haven’t gotten to try those yet, you have to get up at 2 am and catch them yourself), and a smaller brown one that…well the flavor was great. Like dry barbecue rub. But the texture…crunchy and hollow…it sort of got to me lol. My personal favorite though, is called guante. Better know as the world’s largest rodent- capybara!!! It tasted like pork chops 🤤
Thank you! I would love to go back and I’ll definitely try more things! The aji with tree tomatoes sounds delicious!
Hi, if you have someone coming to Ecuador you can ask them to get you Ají from the supermarket, ask for the kind with chochos. Or if you email me I’d be happy to send you a recipe but I don’t know if you will get the tomate de árbol in the States.
Also we do have the pastries called churros, and there are street carts who sell them (with a paila of boiling oil in the cart, yes).
Llama is not common at all as a dish, however there are lots of dishes with pork! Our specialty seems to be soups, there are hundreds of typical soups. Also many kinds of empanadas and foods wrapped in leafs (like tamales).
Happy you Ecuador, come back soon!
Ohh, thank you! I would love a recipe if you have one, I’ll shoot you an email! I think I liked most of the soups I had when I was there. It sounds like I definitely need to go back to try more of the food! Of course I need to explore more, too, but the food! haha
the picture for empanadas are not empanadas, those are tortillas…
Weird. We were told they were empanadas and they had cheese in them, but I could still be wrong. Thanks!
Yeah, they’re tortillas. The ones here in Ecuador are different than the Mexican ones. But there are a large variety of delicious Empanadas here too, many filled with cheese!
Good to know, thank you! Either way, they were delicious and I want to eat more of them
Hi there 😊 I too love Ecuador and the food there is amazing my favorite is Encebollado de Pescado. I just made some last week it’s fantastic. Here is a link to Laylita s blog she has tons of recipes. There is a really good recipe for aji and lots of other delicious Ecuadorian food!
Thank you! I’ll definitely check out the aji one and see what else there is!