Must-Try Food in Ecuador

Enjoying the beautiful sights, learning the culture, and meeting new people are just some of the joys of traveling. But did you know that one of the best parts of visiting a new place is trying the food?

Every fresh place you explore opens a whole new world of flavors and dishes. From savory meals to decadent desserts, there’s always something interesting to try. The possibilities can be endless. 

Ecuador is a beautiful country worth exploring. From spectacular landscapes to tropical beaches, historical towns, and the best food choices. When you sign up for our Ecuador surf camp, we’ll take you on a fun culinary adventure. Here are some must-try dishes and a local drink that will delight your taste buds.


Image by Storyteller Travel via Pinterest

Another delicacy you can’t afford to miss is corviche. The best corviche is found in the beautiful town of Ayampe. This pie-like delicacy is filled with a medley of ingredients such as mashed green plantain, fish, vegetables, peanuts, onions, and celery. After frying, the corviche comes out crunchy on the outside but soft on the inside. At first glance, some might mistake it for a potato but the magic begins once you take a bite. The fusion of fresh and tasty ingredients makes this local treat very irresistible.

Llapingachos (pronounced as yah-peen-GAH-chos)

young shanahan from Bratislava, Slovakia, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Llapingachos are fried stuffed potato patties which date back to pre-Hispanic times. They are made of cheese, mashed potatoes, scallions, and spices. This traditional Ecuadorian dish is crispy outside but is tender on the inside. It’s a delicious comfort food that is often served with a savory tomato-onion salad. You can also drizzle it with aji (Ecuadorian hot sauce) if you’re into spicy food. The nice thing about Llapingachos is that they can be enjoyed any time of the day or night. You can eat it during breakfast, lunch, snack, or even dinner. Llapingachos can be paired with other food like sausages and fresh fruits on the side for a more filling meal.

Trivia:  Potatoes are a staple crop in Ecuador. There are about 350 varieties of potatoes grown in this country although only 14 varieties are usually found in the markets. Folks in Ecuador consume around half a kilo of potatoes per person every week. 

Empanada de viento

Do you believe in love at first bite? If not, then you haven’t tried the empanada de viento. It’s another versatile Ecuadorian food that can be eaten at any time. The word ‘empanada’ is derived from the Galician word ‘empanar’ which means coated in bread. The word ‘viento’, on the other hand, means wind because you feel the air in the middle of the pastry when you bite into one. 

Empanada de viento in Quito, Ecuador
Empanada de viento in Quito, Ecuador, Photo by Flora Baker via Flickr

Empanada de viento is Ecuador’s own version of the famous Latin empanadas. The dough is filled with cheese and then fried until crispy. It is sprinkled with some sugar on top to make it more delightful. Unlike the typical empanadas, these light and puffy pastries are huge. It’s a crowd favorite among locals and tourists alike. 


No one makes Ceviche as the Ecuadorians do. This savory dish may vary in ingredients but its base is usually seafood. Popular seafood ingredients are fish, shrimp, crab, lobster, oyster, octopus, or a combination of two or more. Since Ecuador has a long Pacific coastline, you can be assured that the seafood is always fresh.

Ceviche Ecuador
Rinaldo Wurglitsch, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The seafood is served in a flavorful broth of its own juice. The dish is spiked with lime and mixed with finely chopped red onions, tomatoes, and green peppers. Sometimes it’s served with crunchy plantain chips on the side. Locals love crushing the chips and mixing them with the ceviche.


If you want a complete meal that is both delicious and hearty, then you might want to try an Ecuadorian churrasco. It’s made of thinly sliced grilled steak and topped with a fried egg. It is also served with rice, chips, salad, plantains, sliced avocado, and garlic spicy aji sauce. This appetizing dish will surely satisfy your palate. 

Bolon de Verde

Plantains are widely grown in Ecuador and used in many traditional local dishes. The popular dish Bolon de Verde presents an innovative way of using plantain. Green plantains are cooked and then mashed to create a doughy base. Then it is mixed with other ingredients such as ground peanuts, cilantro, cheese, pork, or a combination of any of these ingredients. It’s ideal for breakfast, snacks, or as a light dinner.


If you love cocktails, you have to try canelazo which is an Ecuadorian spiced hot drink. It’s comparable to mulled wine but it has a richer flavor to it. A typical canelazo is made of naranjilla (a local fruit), cinnamon, sugar, and puntas (local alcohol). Cheers to a great Ecuadorian food trip!