Food & Drink
Because of its physical and cultural diversity, Ecuador is blessed with a wide range of fruits, vegetables and edible creatures. Ecuador boasts some of the best jungle fruits which include chirimoya
, with a delicious custard-like inside; mamey
, which has a red, sweet, squash-like meat; and pepinos
, a sweet white and purple striped cucumber-like fruit. Specialities include llapingachos
[pancakes stuffed with mashed potato and cheese
]; shrimp or lobster ceviche
. This is traditionally accompanied by popcorn and chifles [thinly sliced and fried green bananas
] and a nice cold beer; locro
[stew of potatoes and cheese
[flavoured sweetcorn tamale
]; and the national delicacy of roasted guinea pig. Bakeries offer delicious sweet pastries and empanadas [hot crispy meat or cheese filled pastries
]. Another popular snack is patacones
[squashed fried green bananas
]. You will often find that most Ecuadorian homes have a special pounding stone for making this tasty snack. Restaurants have waiter service and there are cafe-style bars.
Ecuador has some of the best beer in South America. The most popular brand is Pilsener. International drinks and whiskies are available, but expensive. An Ecuadorian speciality is a unique fruit juice called naranjilla
– a taste somewhere between citrus and peach. Good Chilean wine is available, but expensive. The best local drink is canelazo
, made from sugar cane, alcohol, lemon, sugar and cinnamon. Another local drink is pisco
, made from fresh lemon. Alcohol cannot be sold after 02:00.
There is little nightlife except in Quito and Guayaquil, where there are excellent restaurants and other attractions. In smaller towns, social life takes place in the home and in private clubs. The cinema is the most popular form of entertainment.
Shopping hours: Mon-Fri 0900-1300 and 1500-1900, Sat 1000-1400.
Some shops open Sunday
Casual wear is widely acceptable, but business people are expected to dress smartly. It is important to be punctual when arriving for meetings. Smart clothes are often required when visiting hotel dining rooms and better restaurants. Beachwear should only be worn on the beach and revealing clothes should not be worn in towns. Smoking is widely accepted. If you are invited to a private home for lunch or dinner, it is appropriate to bring a bottle of wine or flowers.
A tip may be requested if you wish to take someone’s photograph and it is better to seek permission first especially with indigenous people in the Highlands and Amazon Region, where some natives, usually old people, will not like the idea.
10 % service charge is usually added to the bill in hotels and restaurants. Taxi drivers do not expect tips.