The Ecuadorian Coast has a rich culinary tradition with a variety of dishes that showcase the region’s diverse ingredients and flavors and seafood from the Ecuadorian Coast. Here are some typical plates of food you might find on the Ecuadorian Coast:
Ceviche: Ceviche is a popular dish made with raw fish or seafood that is marinated in citrus juices, typically lime or bitter orange, which “cooks” the seafood through a process called denaturation. It’s often served with diced onions, tomatoes, cilantro, and sometimes plantain chips or popcorn on the side.
Encebollado: This is a hearty fish soup made with albacore tuna, cassava (yuca), red onions, tomatoes, and various spices. It’s usually served with pickled red onions, fresh cilantro, and a side of chifles (fried green plantains) or patacones (fried green plantain slices).
Arroz con Menestra y Carne Asada: A common dish consisting of rice (arroz) served with menestra, which is a type of lentil stew, and carne asada, grilled or pan-fried steak. It’s often accompanied by a salad and fried ripe plantains.
Bolon de Verde: A dish made from green plantains that are boiled, mashed, and then formed into a ball or patty. These are usually stuffed with cheese, chicharrón (fried pork rinds), or sometimes seafood.
Corviche: Similar to bolon de verde, corviche is made by mixing fish or seafood with a dough made from green plantains, then wrapping it in a plantain leaf and steaming or frying it.
Chifles and Patacones: These are popular snacks or side dishes made from green plantains. Chifles are thinly sliced and deep-fried, resulting in crispy plantain chips, while patacones are thicker slices that are fried, smashed, and fried again, creating a thicker, crispy patty.
Viche: A seafood stew made with fish, shrimp, crab, and various vegetables. It’s cooked in coconut milk and flavored with a variety of spices, creating a flavorful and creamy dish.
Seco de Mariscos: A seafood stew made with a mix of seafood like shrimp, squid, and clams, cooked in a peanut-based sauce along with vegetables and spices. It’s often served with rice and patacones.
Encocado de Pescado: Another dish using coconut milk, encocado de pescado features fish fillets cooked in a coconut milk sauce with tomatoes, onions, and bell peppers. It’s usually accompanied by rice.
Babacoche: This dish features boiled and seasoned green bananas, served with a peanut sauce and sometimes a type of cheese.
These are just a few examples of the delicious dishes you can find on the Ecuadorian Coast. The cuisine of this region is influenced by its proximity to the ocean and the availability of fresh seafood, as well as its use of native ingredients like plantains, yuca, and various tropical fruits.