Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Food (& Poop) in Quito

You all should already realize how important food is to me because of this post: because I have a passionate relationship with food that has gotten even more serious since my broken jaw fiasco. 
Anyway, here's my take on the food in Quito so far:
Fresh fruit and veggies are everywhere--maybe a little more fruit than veggies. It costs about $4 to fill up a reuseable grocery bag with bananas, mandarines, avocados, mangos, papayas, etc, etc. from any old fruteria (and they are on pretty much every street). Also, there are fruits I'd never known about before, like guanabanas, tree tomatoes, grenadillas, taxos, etc. Tree tomatoes make the best juice ever; it's like a cross between passionfruit, tomato, and something citrusy. The others I've tried haven't knocked off my socks, but they are also good. (My god, the juice though! All of it is so good.)
As far as other food, most QuiteƱos eat rice and some kind of meat as well as soup and a class of juice for dinner (dinner is midday and one of these meals is usually $2.50-3.50). Locro, which is a creamy potato-vegetable soup served with cheese and avocado, is delicious, and beans and rice are always good. Llapingachos, little fried balls of potato-goodness, are pretty common here also. When I go into a restaurant and say "I'm vegetarian. What can I eat?" I usually can eat some salad or soup and some rice, corn, mote (hominy?) or something--although people seem to think by "vegetarian" I really mean "no red meat." I accidentally bought a chicken empanada the other day and had to force it onto a friend--oh, empanadas are also common. 
There are some special, traditional meats such as cuy (roasted guinea pig) and hornado (roasted pig). These are on display at mercados like El Mercado de Santa Clara, which is a happening little market not far from my house. And by on display, I mean that a whole pig, with an apple or something in its mouth, stares at you from a table. Teeth, nose hairs, etc, are all intact, reinforcing my vegetarianism. They are everywhere right now because it's Fiestas de Quito tomorrow--a celebration of the founding of Quito--and there are crazy parties happening all over the city. 
Speaking of Fiestas de Quito, I went to one of the many free concerts for the celebration last weekend and tried my first canelazo (, which was delicious. It's especially popular during the fiestas. 
I also went to La Ronda, which is the prettiest part of Quito's Old Town, during a parade. It was an accident. My friend had just wanted to take me there to show me how pretty it is at night, but we were suddenly in a swarm of people, listening and watching marching bands, dancers, and people in masks perform. Some people lit fireworks off right there in the crowded street (no one seemed to think this was dangerous but me) and everyone drank canelazo to stay warm. (I mean, it's gets down to maybe 45 degrees here at night--gotta bundle up). Which reminds me, people mostly drink instant coffee here, which is a crying shame, since it's produced in Ecuador and not expensive and, um, not disgusting? Nescafe has just done a terrific job marketing here, but real coffee is also available at legit coffeeshops and at the supermarket.
All of this talk of food has undoubtedly made you wonder how I can have regular bowel movements if all I do is eat fruit, drink juice, and slug coffee. Two words: queso fresco (I'm in love with this as well). One more word: bananas (they bind you up). 
But in all seriousness, many people have poop problems here. If you aren't careful with fresh fruit and vegetables, it's possible to get parasites (possible, not terribly common anymore) and in general I've heard expats say their BMs just aren't very normal here. But, I've been lucky so far--only a couple incidents. I've even had a little tap water to drink (don't tell my aunt). I have some friends who haven't had a problem with tap water though, so I guess you never know. I also just met some people who are doing a parasite cleanse though...
Welp, that's my food & poop update. Here are some pictures I stole from the internet, so that you would have a better idea of what I'm talking about:
Tree tomatoes!
Santa Clara
La Ronda

La Ronda at night

1 comment:

  1. As I was reading this I went and fried myself up some ham. I think it was more related to the pregnancy and less related to the picture of the pig corpse, but still. Kind of funny. And I want some of that juice...