For all you “Foodies” out there, you may be surprised to learn how delicious and inexpensive food is in Ecuador.
The food has actually been a surprise to me. It is both delicious and very inexpensive, with a four course lunch of appetizer beans, hot soup, salad, rice, laungustina (crayfish), fruit salad and wine costing $2.50USD. A huge dinner of fresh shrimp, vegetables, and curried rice or chicken vegetables and rice are yours for $5.00 USD. Most of the lunch or dinners we have eaten have cost between $2.50-$7.00USD per person.
My favorite individual dish so far has been coco flan and we went back three times to the restaurant in Bahia de Caraquez to have it again and again. It was $1.60USD.
There is a woman named Holly who lives near where we are living now and she started a new business delivering dinners to people in town every Friday. Last Friday night she delivered the most delicious lasagna, salad, fresh bread and brownies and blondies for dessert – the entire meal all for $5.00USD each. When I first met her, she asked me what my favorite food was and when I told her flan, she made me an entire flan pie for $5.00USD.
As for drinks, people drink bottled water, with and without gas, fresh squeezed fruit juices, smoothie’s and “bebidas” which are fruit, milk and ice blended in a blender, beer and wine, and fancy fruit drinks with names like “Sex On The Beach” which we are still trying to get clear on the ingredients of. One place in Canoa called it “Sex In The Beach,” which sounded painful. So there may be different versions of that particular drink, who knows?!
Large beers, 24 ounce bottles. cost $1.50. You can get also beer by hailing the beer delivery trucks driving by and they are the best deal as they come in a plastic crate case of 12 for $12.00. But in exclusive hotels on the beach, one large beer will cost you $6.00. Wine is more expensive here than in the States. And for those of us used to purchasing wine at the huge Trader Joes discount, there is a bit of a sticker shock on wine.
You can buy fish right off the fishing boats. Small shrimp is $2.00/lb sometimes if you are lucky. But more normal price for shrimp is $3-4.00/lb. And if you pay an extra $1.00 they will clean and butterfly it for you. You can buy fish at about $2-$3.00 per pound filleted and depending on the size of the fish you can buy the whole fish for less. Chicken and Meat and cheese are sold in supermarkets such as Supermaxi and that supermarket has everything you would ever need, kind of like a Fred Meyer in the US.
If you want milk, the farmers will drive by with their fresh milk from their cows People come out with their pitchers or big pans and get the amount they need. Then they take it back to their kitchens and boil it. Then they put it into the fridge to get cold. Then you can drink it or use it in your coffee. At the supermarkets you get milk already “ultra pasteurized” and sealed in boxes, kind of like what we see rice, soy or almond milk in the US.
Trucks appear at different times of the day selling fresh food from right off their farms: pineapples, bananas, papayas, plantains, tangerines and every vegetable you can imagine. Some have flowers. Each vendor has a different whistle, shout, car or bike horn sound and some even announce their arrival by loudspeakers blaring out the back of their trucks. The longer you live in a place, the more you get to know which food or beverage vendor truck is out front without even looking!
Ecuador Basic Tip #3: The food in Ecuador is delicious! Try it! You’ll like it!
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WORDS TO THRIVE BY FOR WORLD TRAVELERS: FOOTPRINTS IN ECUADOR by Mary Anne Dorward
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