What I ate in Ecuador!

The pride of the coast: fresh ceviche!

The pride of the coast: fresh ceviche!

For a rather small country, Ecuador has a boatload of different cuisines.

Fried trout -- a lunch tipico!

Fried trout — a lunch tipico!

On the coast, you’re pretty much eating fish for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I’m not kidding.

Breakfast of champions!

Fish & plantains ..Breakfast of champions!

Our most memorable meal was a croquette of plantain-encrusted fish, served to us in the middle of the ocean – complete with cold beer and hot, fresh coffee that were all handed over the bow.

Ecuadorian take-out!

Ecuadorian take-out!

Unfortunately, I can’t report on the crab and clam scene that was readily available on the coast since I don’t really eat those shellfish – and yes, I do realize that makes me a food moron. Sorry…

Pata de mule -- or mule's foot clam -- really HUGE!

Pata de Mula — or mule’s foot clam — really HUGE!

In the Sierra Highlands, it was pure vegetable heaven – with legumes, rice and greens served up in plain or extraordinary style.

Every lunch starts with sopa .. this one was lentil.

Every lunch starts with sopa .. this one was lentil…

...followed by this!

…followed by this gorgeous melange!

The most delicious meal we had was a staggering breakfast of eggs, papaya, queso, frijoles, cassava, coffee, juice, tomatoes, cucumbers and corn muffins at the family house where we stayed overnight. Homemade food is always the sweetest.cassava breakfast

But I have to say, the dazzling array in the Ambato Mercado on the last day of my travels for Heifer was some of the most beautiful food I’ve seen all year. turnip

From tree tomatoes (a taste cross between oranges and tomatoes)…Tree Tomatoes

…to cane sugar …Cane sugar…to ever-present maize…Corn Mix…it was a sensory overload…parsnips…always offered with a smile.

Fingers flying through the fava beans!

Fingers flying through the fava beans!

So … ¡Buen provecho! (good appetite)… Adios, sweet Ecuador…"ice cream"

And Happy New Year!!

Categories: Ecuador, Food, Heifer International, Photography, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 32 Comments

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32 thoughts on “What I ate in Ecuador!

  1. Susan

    Happy New Year to you too Betty! And thanks for all the beautiful images, people, information and places you’ve brought to us this year. a real gift!

    • You are SO welcome, Susan – it was my pleasure and privilege, and I really mean that! Happy New Year, and thank YOU for being such a loyal, enthusiastic reader!!!

  2. Susannah

    Have really enjoyed your posts this year. Happy New Year!


  3. Martha Radatz

    Oh, this was divine! Except for the whole trout on the plate staring at you. That’s one I can’t do.
    Are the tree tomatoes then considered more of a fruit, or prepared/served as a vegetable? That breakfast was FABULOUS!
    Happy New Year to you, Betty. Thanks for making my 2012 so enlightening & inspiring…not to mention entertaining. :o)

    • Thanks, Martha!! I’ve really been inspired by all YOUR comments — and while I’m not a big fan of whole fish, this trucha was swimming in the pond out back about an hour earlier and was SO fresh and delicious!! The tree tomatoes are considered a fruit, I’m almost sure — and grow on a tree, not a vine. How about that breakfast??! I just couldn’t do another plate of beans and cassava (not exactly your light fare) but I sure did love those tomatoes and homemade goat cheese and the coffee. YUMMMMM!
      I’ll miss this blog so much — now what will I do with myself??? Happy 2013!!!

  4. Deb Morrow Palmer

    My kind of eating. Fish and vegetables!!!!!!! I admit, I love all shell fish, but it doesn’t love me!! Tree tomatoes sound wonderful. A fruit instead of a berry possibly helps it stay fresh longer!! Happy New Year!! Thanks again for this wonderful journey through 2012!!

    • Tree tomatoes sounded so weird, I could never get myself to try them — but once I saw how beautiful they are, I was totally into it! And it was delicious!! Very refreshing and not thick like tomato juice, but a lot sweeter and tangier. YUM!!!

  5. Deb Morrow Palmer

    I will miss reading your blogs so very much. xo

    • I will miss writing them, Deb — and REALLY miss all the travel to places nobody goes, and all the incredibly sweet and wonderful people I met. I’ve loved sharing it all with you — what a great reader and commenter you’ve been! Happy 2013!!!

  6. A wonderful world tour Betty.

    If WE can’t believe it’s over, I have to wonder how you are feeling that your Heifer assignment is done.

    Will you share those thoughts with us?

    Happiest 2013 from our house to yours.

    • Thanks, EOSR — I am sure you are cooking up a storm and having a blast with your family … Happiest of New Year’s to you … and yes, I will be sharing my thoughts & feelings about the end of my blogging for Heifer. How could I resist??? ( :

  7. And happy new year to you – yum, you left us all hungry for more!!!

  8. alice schrade

    i want to go with you next time…Pleeeaaase !!!
    Your photos were outstanding, your feel for the folks you visited was just so tender and your way of expressing your thoughts about those people who work soooo hard and diligently to eke out a living from the land and water that the rest of us are working so hard to destroy is fabulous.
    Soo, Betty carry on and do keep in touch.

    • I hope there IS a next time, Alice — but if not, I am so glad you were with me in spirit throughout this year … and Happy New Year to YOU, too!!

  9. What delicious food!
    — I’ve never eaten ceviche that looks like a soup.
    — re the Ecuadorian take-out: how on earth did they cook in that little boat?
    — Do the tree tomatoes taste very different from regular tomatoes?

    I wonder why rice and beans aren’t on the menu in Ecuador? When we were in Costa Rica and Belize we ate rice and beans with every meal – including breakfast – and felt so healthy.

    I’m sure you must have changed after spending a year traveling to all these places in the world where you met hard-working salt-of-the-earth people. I look forward to reading your summary.

    • Hey Rosie — The ceviche is actually kind of a soup there in Ecuador and it is DELICIOUS!! The food on the boat they cooked on shore and then somehow transported in a heat-saving blanket and thermoses… but it was amazing to get that fresh-cooked food on the water! Tree tomatoes taste entirely different than tomatoes — it really is more like oranges with a tangy tomato overtone! Rice and beans are pretty much THE menu in all of highland Ecuador, but on the coast where they don’t have land to grow anything, it’s just an ancillary to the fish! I will be doing a summary soon!

      xoxoox b

  10. Wanda Eason

    Betty, I hate for your year to be completed almost as much as you do. Even though I didn’t reply each time, I waited eagerly for your next post throughout the year. I am a Heifer Volunteer and I learned more about how this wonderful organization works in the areas you visited. It’s always good to have new stories or facts to tell when speaking about Heifer. Thanks for your time, your talent, and your love for all the wonderful, hard working Heifer Project Partners you met.

  11. You’ve made a wonderful contribution and lasting impression on the families, workers, communities and blogosphere. More than anyone I “know”, you embodied the spirit of this amazing and powerful video of Beyonce on United Nation’s World Humanitarian Day, a song called “I Was Here”. Thank you for BEING, in all those places over the past year, and for being an incredible humanitarian. Cheers and Happy New Year to you Betty!!

  12. Betty. Sigh. Wonderful. Thanks.

    Happy New Year !

  13. Renee Swanson

    Hello Betty, I want you to know that your blog is the only one I read and that i have enjoyed it tremendously. More importantly, you have helped me truly understand the incredible effect that an organization like Heifer International can make on communities all over the world and really understand how it works so that i can articulate it too others. Looking forward to seeing what you do next!

    • Thanks so much, Renee — I’m really so SO happy that you have enjoyed the blog all year — and that it’s brought you to a closer understanding and appreciation for Heifer’s work. That makes my year!!!

  14. Meredith

    Hard to believe we’re starting another year already! could you post a photo of your passport stamps?
    what a treasure chest of memories you have made for us. Enjoy your rest.
    Ciao for now, Meredith

  15. I hope it al tasted as delicious as it looked.

  16. Wow, I need a nap just looking at that colorful breakfast display. But, I would always save room for the final dessert shot….

  17. Absolutely gorgeous Betty! Looks scrumptious and so delightful! 🙂

  18. Fish at every meal? I’d be dead in a month. But that last picture — is it ice cream? I may go to Ecuador, after all.

    Happy New Year, Betty!

  19. Adventures in Kevin's World

    Just stumbled onto your blog. What I’m curious about it – did you LIKE the food in Ecuador? I spent 5 weeks there in 2011, and while I fell deeply in love with the country, the food was… well, it will keep you alive. I found it monotonous. I must admit that you did a better job than I of capturing images of food! Thanks for the good reads.

    • I did like the food in Ecuador — a LOT! But then, I wasn’t there for 5 weeks (alas). I did get a little tired of the fish on the coast (for breakfast, lunch AND dinner with the same fried plantains) — but once we got up into the country, the vegetables were pretty amazing and fresh so that was nice. THANKS so much for writing!!

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