Welcome back to another #MountMartes blog post, but from Maryland. We returned to Maryland last Tuesday and throughout the past week, I have been reminiscing about everything that I experienced in Ecuador. The thing I miss the most about Ecuador is the amazing food and cuisine we experienced. This week, I will be highlighting some of my favorite dishes I had while in Ecuador.
We visited Quito as our first stop in Ecuador. This is where we had some of the most memorable meals and desserts for the entire trip. In Ecuador, we ate many different types of fish. In Quito, one of the dishes was fish covered in a coconut cream sauce. The flavors in Ecuador are very different than the United States, and coconut is a very popular ingredient that is commonly used in most dishes. The desserts we had were so delicious, and they all tended to be fruit-based but covered with chocolate or cinnamon. My favorite dessert in Cuenca was a banana covered in chocolate and a scoop of banana ice cream with coconut caramel sauce drizzled over it. We also had little bits of strawberry with this dessert. In Ecuador, they always had interesting ways of upscaling fruits to make them into dessert items. Ecuador is known for its soups, so typically with every meal, we would have a bowl of soup as the appetizer, a meal, and then dessert. This is a very traditional custom, so this is also what I experienced in my homestay every day for lunch. Lunch is also the biggest meal of the day in Ecuador, so what they eat for lunch is what would be considered to be a dinner-sized meal in the United States.
My favorite food I had in Ecuador had to be these empanadas from a little shop in Cuenca. Most of the students on the trip all got the chance to have these empanadas, and they were so delicious. They were served with a side of green salsa and garlic sauce. They were all made to order, so they were always so fresh and hot. We had these empanadas every week here in Cuenca. The walk to this spot was so nice too, as we took about a 15-minute walk through one of the busiest streets in Cuenca, past the local historic high school, over the bridge that covered one of Cuenca’s rivers, and up a flight of stone-covered stairs to get to this little shop.
We all miss our time in Cuenca and miss the things that became a routine. This includes the food and things we’d eat every day. In my homestay, for example, we would have a special queso fresco and aji sauce with every meal. Throughout the following weeks, I will be highlighting other experiences I had in Cuenca that made my time there so memorable and some of the most exciting things we did and experienced. I am excited to continue to keep sharing my experiences in Cuenca with everyone. Stay tuned for Tyler’s post from his memories in Cuenca coming this Thursday.