Andes food

Ecuador travel Andes food

Common foods of the Andes

The food in the Andean highlands offers great variety being based on potatoes and corn in all their varieties. Other important ingredients are Quinua, Mellocos, Ocas, Mashua and Camote (sweet potatoes) that are returning to be an important part of the local diet. Amongst the meets you can find cuy (guinea pig - an oversized hamster) this is considered the finest of meets by indigenous people; it is prepared rotisserie style so it can keep its texture and taste, to add interest it is served whole. Pork meet is also very popular and present in most traditional dishes.


The meet specially the ribs, is cut into cubes and cooked in a bronze caldron with condiments like garlic and salt. When the water dries out the meet fries in its own fat, finally onions are added. This local delicacy is served with potatoes and fried sweet plantains (fried in the pork lard known as "mapahuira"). It is also served with hominy (white corn) in some ocassions.


The seasoned cuy is impaled with its legs tied and is cooked over charcoal rotisserie style. This exotic dish is served with lettuce and potatoes cooked in peanut sauce or in a mixture of hard egg and onions.


A traditional dish served during Easter, it is a thick soup mixture composed mainly of grains and dry fish. Each family has their own recipe and it is a big tradition almost ceremonial and ritual the preparation of Fanesca. It starts with the pealing of the grains by hand and one by one. Then the cooking is done separately for all grains (corn, beans, lima beans, chochos, peas, rice), then they add fine cut cabbage, pumpkin and sambo. A milk based stirfry made up of blended peanuts and other condiments is added with the grains into one thick broth. At the end the dry fish is added. On the side it is served with empanadas (turnovers), sweet fried plantains and fresh cheese. Part of the tradition includes a second dish of mashed potatoes and for desert Babaco preserve or sweet rice pudding.


Served on the day of the dead, November 2nd, all around the Andes highlands also known as the Sierra. Ocassionally found in coastal cities as well. The Purple porrage is maid of purple corn (of course) and fruits like blueberrys and blackberrys, naranjilla, pinaple and strawberrys. The condiments added are very important for the unique flavor, local roots like ishpingo together with cinamon, sweet cloves, orange leefs, hierbaluisa and arrayan. The bread dolls that go with this delicious porrage are made of wheat flour and decorated with candy and food coloring.