If you’re ever making the trip to Ecuador, be ready. Be ready for the surreal landscapes, the welcoming people, and the rich culture, but most importantly be ready for the delicious contrast in food. Although the majority of the meals we have eaten haven’t been incredibly unfamiliar, there have been many ways to find extraordinary in the seemingly ordinary. At this point in the trip, I would estimate that around 40% of our meals have been chicken and rice. Although this repetition can seem tiring at times, and the stomach flu can very well take the meal away in an instant, I have found a new appreciation for trying new things. With long stretches of little variation, it has been enticing to try new foods outside of my comfort zone. For instance, I learned that the texture of cow’s feet definitely is not for me. However, I have also found an appreciation for things like the cheek meat of a piranha.
Even greater than the food though, the hands that have prepared each meal have been incredibly welcoming. The most memorable time with food service would have to be when we received the owner of a restaurant’s own CD as a sign of gratitude, and continued to play through the whole album on a long bus ride to our next stop. So yes, Ecuador is full of surreal landscapes, welcoming people, and rich culture, but on top of that, they have a delicious way of saying welcome to Ecuador.
By Nick Yutzy