Thursday, August 16, 2012


Well, after 3 months in Ecuador and only a week in Peru, I must say, that I like Peru better...

That's not to knock Ecuador or anything. I love it there. But Peru is just..enchanting somehow. The architecture, the friendly people, the seamless blend of ancient, old and modern... and the food!
Peruvian food is known world round for its deliciousness, and the reputation is well deserved.

We started out in Lima, the new capital. A coastal city, Lima is a great place to enjoy seafood such as Peruvian Ceviche (fish 'cooked' in lemon juice and salt and served with corn)

or Pescado a la Plancha (grilled fish, here with mashed potatoes and salad)

You top everything with pickled red onions and Peru's version of aji, a spicy blend of hot yellow peppers, and wash it all down with the popular drink Chicha Morada, a sweet juice made of purple corn, pineapple juice, cinnamon and cloves.

Homeland of the potato and home to over 80 varieties of corn, Sweet Potato chips and Popcorn are popular street foods throughout Peru

Then we went to Cuzco, a city in the mountains and the old national capital. Although they don't have seafood, Andean trout is a local favorit and delicacy, and I enjoyed some in a tradtional soup called Chupe de Trucha - a variant of Chupe de Camarones (also pictured below) - a spicy tomato broth and vegetable soup with rice, cheese, a poached egg and a fillet of trout.

But even better in Cuzco is the Alpaca. It is like steak, only better. Tender, slightly sweet and gamey, it is falvorful and contains almost no fat. I had it here as Brocettas or skewers. with a peanutty-garlic sauce.

Another skewer I tried was another national favorite, Anticuchos, or roasted Cow Heart. I thought it would be tough and dry, but it was actually extremely tender and flavorful. Deliciouse in fact.

Other typical foods are Sopa de Quinoa - a grain native to the Andes and rich in protein

and Alfahores (cookies stuck together with manjar/dulce de leche)

And I would be remiss if I did not mention the ubiquitous Coca Leaf tea and Pisco Sours. Coca leaf is everywhere in Peru - to chew as leaves, drink as teas, eat in cookies or enjoy as candy. It helps with the altitude, staunches hunger, and stimulates like a cup of coffee.

Pisco, the national Peruvian alchohol, is made from grapes and is drunk mixed with sour mix, egg white and bitters to make the national drink, a Pisco Sour (tastes like a tangy/fluffy margharita)

Some other typical favorites are Lomo a la Pobre (thin steak over rice with fried egg and plantains)

Lomo Saltad0 - a chinese/peruvianfusion of stirfried beef in Peruvian and Chinese spices over french fries

and Aji de Gallina - chicken stewed in a cheesey yellow pepper sauce with rice

And lastly, a Maricuyah Mousse (passionfruit), because everything Maricuyah is deliciouse

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Ecuador 12 (Because Mami is Awesome)

Because Mamita is awesome she cooked me my favorite foods for my last home-cooked meal in Ecuador.

There was Locro de Papas con Nabo (creamy potato soup with a spinach-like green)

Conchas con Encebollado Y Limon (Ecuadorian Black Clams with Onion, Tomato and Lemon), Patacones (thick-cut, double-fried green plantains), y Arroz con Pulpo y Camaron (Rice with Octopus and Shrimp)

Gracias Mami!
And lastly, for my last day's morning snack, I made sure to treat myself and my brother and sister to an Ecuadorian favorite, Yogur y Pan de Yuca. There's little stores all over Cuenca that sell fresh yogurt, blended with yor choice of fresh fruit and served ice cold alongside two warm pieces of cheesey yucca bread. Banana and Mango were my favorite.

Ecuador 11 (wrap up)

Well, the time has come. I'm leaving tomorrow.  2.5 months in Ecuador has passed fast and slow, but passed nonetheless... :( Tomorrow I will post one last ecuador post of the last meal that Mamita is making me (it's going to be deliciouse), but before that I'm going to post all of the food's I forgot to mention so far.

Here is one of my favorite fruits that you've probably never heard of. It's called Cherimoya and looks ugly as hell on the outside, like a dragon's egg, but is sweet and deliciouse on the inside - think banana combined with pineapple.

Last weekend we went to the beach, and aside from getting the worst sunburn of my life, I also ate some of the best food I've had in Ecuador. Understandably, Costeño food is all about the seafood, and so am I - oh and all the tropical drinks were good too, especially the Piña Coladas and the Coco Locos (coconut milk, coconut rum, rum).

Here's a typical Costeño breakfast, called a Bolón. It's a ball of deep fried plantain and cheese- could you ask for anything better?

This is a bowl of ceviche I bought on the beach (ceviche de la beachay?). Octopus, squid, conchas, fish, shrimp... hit's the spot on a hot day and you don't even have to leave your towel.

This is another one of my favorit foods, called Camarones al Ajillo - shrimp in creamy garlic sauce with rice and sweet plantains ($4.50 btw).

And finally, maybe the best thing I've eaten this whole trip. I ordered an Empanada de Camarones for breakfast on Sunday, and instead of you're normal-sized empanada, this thing was the size of my plate if not bigger and FULL of shrimp in a sauce of tomatoes, onions, carrots and spices. This pluz the Piña Colada was pretty close to heaven on earth.

When we came back from the beach Mamit made Bolónes deVerde for dinner, but her style involves mashing the plantains with Chicharrones (deep-fried pork skin), pan frying them (healthier?), and serving them alongside a fried egg. Mmmm cholesterol...

And speaking of cholesterol here's a street food I finally tracked down last week. Salchipapas are everywhere in Ecuador, but being on the heavier-side for a snack I hadn't gotten around to eating them yet. French fries and a deep-fried hot dog covered in Ketchup and Mayonnaise...yep. You know that shit was good.

And finally, a Quimbolito. Quimbolitos are the cousins of Humitas (sweet tamales with egg) and Tamales (salty with chicken or meat). Corn flour and raisins steamed inside a banana leaf, they are more cake-like and somewhere in between corn bread and spongecake. Not my favorite, but hey... gotta try everything once.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Ecuador 10

On the second day here in Ecuador, I broke the program rules and ate food on the street. Not just any food, mind you, but probably the riskiest one I could've chosen - Ceviche (raw seafood and veggies 'cooked' in lemon juice). and... nothing happened. of course. actually, it was deliciouse.

Ever since then I've been on a mission to find and eat as much ceviche as possible. Last week, my abuelitos (grandparents) sent us some conchas (shellfish) from the coast, a species native to ecuador, with a black flesh and salty black juice inside. I thought we were going to make ceviche out of them, but we ended up just making Conchas a la Plancha (grilled). You grill them till they open up and then squeeze in some lime, add a sprinkle of salt, and eat them right out of the shell, juice and all. You can also put the juice in your rice, like i did, to soak up the wonderful briney flavor. They were probably the best seafood I've ever had...

But my family, being awesome, was not to let me down on the Ceviche front. This sunday they prepared 2 types of ceviche, one in a Peruvian style (just lemon and salt) with pescados (fish - tilapia and corvina), and shrimp, and a second, Ecuadorian style (tomatoes, less lemon) with shrimp and onions.

There was also tostada and choclo (toasted and boiled corn kernels) to accompany the Peruvian version, and homemade chifles (plantain chips) and mayo as a snack.

Needless to say, they were AWESOME. I even had seconds, trying to please Mamita, and although I couldn't finish my seconds and got chided, she can't say I didn't try.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Ecuador 9

Comida de la Calle parte dos.

As I've said, I love the Panaderias (bakeries) here. Ecuador is a fresh bread eating culture, and the Panaderia al lado de CEDEI (where I'm studying) is not something to resist. Here is a typical Pan de Dulce that comes topped with sugar and filled with a sweet and tangy cheese. Best eaten warm.

Here is another deliciouse thing which is... actually i'm not sure, but it was chocolate. Think sugar stuck together with condensed milk, like the consistency of cookie dough, topped with frosting... Yeah.

Yesterday for lunch, I went on a solo mission in the centro and ate ate a small restaurant called El Toque Costeño (the touch of the coast) which specializes in seafood and dishes typical to the coast. Here is a DELICIOUS bowl of Sopa Marinera which was a rich seafood broth with hints of peanut that was literally overflowing with crab, shellfish of 3 types (in shell), fish, octopus AND squid. Top that with pickled onions and peppers, plantain chips and lime, and... DAMN! good eatin'

And speaking of good eating: we went to Gualaceo today, a pueblo known for its gastronomia. A reputation well deserved. Here is an awesome little plate of the local specialty Hornado, which is a whole pig roasted for hours. They torch the skin to make Cascara which is like the crunchiest, tastiest potato chip you've ever had, and this and the juicy meat come served over Mote along with Llapingachos which are small patties of mashed potato and cheese and then fried.

As if that wasn't enough, I also enjoyed some other local specialties like Tortillas de Choclo. Tortillas here are more like pancakes and are slightly sweet thanks to the corn and cheese.

Another specialty in Gualaceo are Quesadillas, which like tortillas, are something completely different in Ecuador. Think a small mound of sweet cornbread in a pastry-like envelope.

And, finally, fried dough balls topped with sugar, because...well, because.