Delicious but globally under-rated, Ecuadorian cuisine is flavoursome and diverse. The most popular dish in Ecuador, and one that most travellers are eager to try, is cuy - or guinea pig in English. Greasy, messy and consisting of surprisingly little meat, these gristly little creatures are best consumed in Cuenca. Be prepared to eat everything, including the crunchy paws and gooey brains. Also a well-known delicacy in nearby Peru and across much of the South American continent.
Colca is a well-known snack food in Ecuador and is made from dry roasted Andean corn. Llapingachos, potato patties with cheese that have been griddled until crispy, are a national favourite and are served with fried eggs, chorizo, avocado and some salad. This dish is a great option for filling up cheaply.
For dessert, pick up some super sweet and incredibly sticky melcocha, a type of taffy that can be found all over the place. Wash it all down with a glass of canelazo, an anise-based alcohol, mixed with sugar, lemon and cinnamon and served warm.
Safe eating while travelling in Ecuador
As with anywhere in the world, under-cooked meat and fish can be a problem. Check your food has been prepared adequately before eating it and avoid anything that might have been rinsed in tap water, including raw fruit, salad and vegetables. Fruit that has been peeled or that you can peel yourself is usually fine and vegetables that are cooked are generally fine too. Avoid ice in your drinks and glasses that are wet, as they have probably been washed in dirty tap water, which could cause you to become unwell.