In Ecuador the most important meal of the day is the midday meal. Favourite foods vary from region to region. The Serranos (people from the Sierra) like to eat meat, corn and potatoes, while Costeños (people from the coastal regions) prefer fish, rice and beans. Soup is served at both lunch and dinner and hot bread is a popular snack.

Ecuadorian dishes include seco de chivo (goat stew), patacones (green bananas fried in oil, mashed and refried) and humitas (sweet corn tamales). Ceviche is fish or seafood marinated in lime juice and seasoned with onion, tomatoes, chili and cilantro. It is sometimes served with cangil (popcorn). Ecuadorians boil their coffee until it is thick and strong. They also enjoy a hot drink called api, made from ground corn.

Ecuador produces many different kinds of fruit, including citrus fruits of all kinds, mangoes, papayas, melons, tamarinds, custard apples and passion fruit. Naranjilla is a fruit that is unique to South America. It looks like a crab apple but yields a delicious juice that is often served for breakfast. Ecuador is also famous for its bananas. The yellow variety that are exported are called guineos, but there are also miniature bananas called oritas, green cooking bananas called verdes and red bananas called magueños.
Did you know?

The Quichua tradition of dried meat or charqui, has given us the English word jerky.

Special foods are served on holidays and during fiestas. On Good Friday a special fish soup is made with 12 grains that symbolize the 12 apostles. Every year, on All Souls' Day, most families share colada morada. This is a syrupy drink made from flour and fruits.

Guinea pigs or cuy are a delicacy served during important festivals. In some villages, the guinea pigs run loose in the house until the feast day. After the pig is eaten, it is traditional to remove a tiny bone from its ear. The host places this bone in a drink and attempts to swallow the bone. The person who is successful gets to make a wish.

Empanadas de queso


375 ml flour
15 ml butter
175 ml warm water
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. lemon juice
250 g cheese
500 ml oil


Mix flour and butter in a bowl. Pour water, salt and lemon juice slowly into the flour mixture. Form a semi-firm dough. Roll out dough until it is very thin. Cut the dough into oval pieces. Place cheese in each oval piece. Fold dough into half-moon shapes. Ensure ends are closed. Fry the pies in hot oil. When golden brown, remove and drain oil. Sprinkle sugar on top and serve hot.