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In the coastal region, there are many dishes based on sea food. The most typical ones are ceviches and rice with fried fish. Yes, rice is an important part of Ecuadorian people in the coast, while in the highlands some grains like "chochos" and "mote" (white hominy) are very popular, along with potatoes and a similar thing called "melloco".
Fish and other Sea Food meals Edit
When you ask for dried fish, you may either get corvina, lenguado, dorado, or picudo, which are the common ones. The fried fish is served with rice, lettuce, onion salsa, tomatoes, and patacones, which are pieces of green plantain that are friend, then squahed a bit, and then refried. Other typical dishes are ceviches, made with any kind of sea food; the "encebollado", which is similar to eviche, but is made only with fish, either picudo, albacora, or tuna, and it includes yam. It is good for hangovers. There are also cazuela. It is made with a green plantain preparation, and filled with sea food and prepared in some clay pots called cazuelas in spanish. It can be cooked or put in the oven. Bollos are good too. They are prepared with a mass of green plantains, peanut sauce, fish, and they are put in plantain leaves and cooked in vapour.
Crabs are also very popular. In Guayaquil we eat the red crabs which grow in stuaries, near some trees that grow in the stuaries and are called mangles. Moving to the north, in the Esmeraldas province, you can find the blue crabs. Many preparations in Esmeraldas include coconut. Those dishes are known as encocados.
Central Coast Meals Edit
Moving to the center of the coastal region, there are some other dishes like the famous "seco". It's a kind of stew, prepared mostly with hen, chicken, or goat. It can also be prepared with lamb or beef. Seco is served with yellow rice, that is rice that has been cooked with achioti to give it that yellow color. It is served with fried rippened plantain.
Rice with Bean sacuce (or lentle sauce) and pork chops (arroz con menestra y chuleta) is the typical food from Guayaquil. It is also served with patacones, and instead of pork chops could be meat or chicken, even fried fish.
Rice with guatita is also eaten here. The guatita has peanut sauce, potatoes, and pieces of boiled cow stomach or lamb stomach. It is served with fried rippened plantains too.
Another typical food, good for breakfast, is "bolón de verde". That's fried plantain that is smashed and combined with water and salt to form a mass. That mass is mixed with chicharrones (fried pieces of pork skin) and/or pieces of cheese. Then you form some balls with them, and serve them with coffee. You may serve them like that, or refried them a bit more, and then serve. In the Esmeraldas province, there is something similar called bala esmeraldeña or esmeraldas bullet translated into English. The green plantains are boiled, not fried, and the mass formed is filled with cheese.
Continuing with the balls, there is a typical soup here, the name of which if translated directly into English would be "ball soup". It is a soup made with meat, peanut sauce, cabbage, potatoes, yam, carrots, and a long vegetable, bean-like, called verdura; and of course, the balls. The balls are made from a mass of boiled plantains, mixed with a raw plantain grounded. They are filled with meat, peanut sauce, raisin, and hard bloiled egg. Yummy!! The balls are put in the soup and they fall down to the bottom. When the raw plantain is cooked, the balls will float. Then it is ready to be served.
There is another soup, though, it has to deal with the bull's genitals. It's called caldo de tronquito. I've never tasted it, but it is made from the bull's penis, and it is said to be an aphrodisiac. Another soup is tripe soup (caldo de salchicha), made with the tripes of the pig filled with rice and blood. Also good for hangovers.
The highlands Edit
Visiting the highlands and not eating the typical food there, can be considered a sin by some people. Going up to the mountains, the typical food is the pork. Some dishes are prepared with pork, like hornado, fritada, chugchucaras. We call fritada to the fried pieces of pork that have been marinated with garlic, cummin, salt, pepper, onions, and they are served with white hominy and lima beans. Sometimes with potatoes too. The hornado is the pork that has been marinated in a special sauce for 3 days, and then taken to the oven. The pork meat is soft and juicy, and it is served with potato tortillas, white hominy, onion salsa, and a piece of avocado. If possible, you may also get to taste the roasted pork skin. Yapingachos (or llapingachos) are delicious too. The best ones are in Ambato. It is two potato tortillas placed on a bed of lettuce, covered with peanut sauce, onion salsa, and two fried eggs, plus some fried sausage. Chugchucaras are typical from Latacunga and the north of Quito. It is a combination of some things like fritada, mote, toasted corn, boiled corn, popcorn, potatoes, rippened plantain, and a small empanada. In the southern highlands, in Cuenca, you can find the "motepillo", which is white hominy that has been cooked, and then fried with eggs.
A typical dish in regions like Baños, Ambato, Riobamba, Cuenca, and parts of Quito, is the roasted guinea pig. In many parts they are pets, but in this region, it is eaten. Depending on the size and the place where you buy it, a guinea pig might cost between 8 and 12 dollars. Served with boiled potatoes covered with peanut sauce. Delicious!