Tag Archives: Ecuador

Llapingachos

As I traveled around Ecuador, the food I saw most often, from Otavalo’s street markets (where I first tried one) to the restaurants of Quito, was the llapingacho (yop-in-GAH-cho), a potato and cheese cake with as many variations as there are people making them. It was common to see llapingachos on griddles next to fried eggs, a popular accompaniment, or offered with fried platanos or peanut sauce. I also had them as a side dish, along with highly-spiced roast pork and buttery, white hominy. But however they were prepared, they were always wonderful.

The Andes are where potatoes originated, so it is not surprising that Ecuador has them, but the variety and flavor were impressive—many types I’d never tried before. Of the varieties we have here, my choice for this recipe has always been new (red skinned) potatoes, because they have more protein and moisture, and hold together better. Yukon golds would probably be good, too. Russets or baking potatoes, which are dry and crumbly, wouldn’t work quite as well. However, farmers markets are now offering us more varieties than these grocery-store staples. You may want to experiment. Continue reading

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Ecuador

Iglesia, Cotacachi, Ecuador

Iglesia, Cotacachi, Ecuador

When people say, “Oh, you must come and visit us,” I always warn them, “Don’t say it if you don’t mean it.” Because I am likelier than most people to show up. So when friends took a one-year sabbatical to study language in Quito, Ecuador, I warned, but they insisted that they really wanted me to come. So one sunny December, I found myself heading south of the Equator to visit the country named for the Equator, Ecuador. I had long been interested in Ecuador, but found that it exceeded my expectations—I fell in love with the place.

Quito’s climate is perfect. The combination of a spot on the equator and an altitude of 9,000 feet means that the temperature is about 70 degrees year ‘round. Quito is an odd, wonderful city that is in some ways growing too fast, yet in other ways moving at a leisurely pace. Quito Coloniale, the old part of the city, is a beautifully-preserved quarter of narrow streets, glorious cathedrals, government offices, elegant restaurants, and most of Quito’s hustlers, since they know this is where the tourists are likely to be (so watch your wallet). Continue reading

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