Saturday, July 10, 2010

June 27th - Quito - Zona Antigua - for the love of CORN! (todo sobre MAIZ!)

Arrived quite late yesterday, so very tired today.  Walked around for hours in the Antiguo area of Quito.  I have been quite insistant that we try for authentic Ecuadorian food before random food except for Filet o Fish.  I have a thing about having that fish sandwich that comes in blue wax paper in every country I goto.  It was my goto food for many years when forced to deal with 'salad's as the only option for dinner while travelling in potato and beef heavy countries like the Czech Replublic.  Anyhoo.  That did not happen since the McD's here does not have the fish. Waaaa!

Ecuadorians love their corn.  The staples in land away from the coast are Corn, Yucca and Potatoes.  Thankfully, I love them all.  The thing to note is that corn here is a pure grain treatment.  Even the corn kernels I had on a salad were savory.  The Hominy or Mote is a good example of this use as a staple starch served aside proteins.  Today, I started with my hunt for the most renown snacks and foods.

We started the day at the famous Basilica Voto  Nacional and ate lunch in the near by in a cafe, I had the Ecadorean staple snack of a Humita and a Bolon de Verde.  A Humita is like a Tomale, a Corn based dumpling steamed in a Banana Leaf or Corn Husk.  A Bolon de Verde is a round ball shaped variety of a simple Verde which is a fried sort of Fritter or Empanada based in Corn with Green Bananas with Cheese. Verde refers to unripe Plantains or Bananas. 

The Humita was great.  Nicely seasoned and filling.  Nice local fare.  Normally Tamales back in North America are always Pork or Chicken so it was lovely to have Vegetarian ones all over the place.  Woohoo!  I did not care for the Bolon de Verde.  The local cheese was super salty and the Verde was a bit funky.  I'll try it again somewhere else to see what's what with the Verde or if it was the oil that that particular one was cooked in.  They each cost about a dollar USD as do most snack foods away from the tourist area known as Mariscal aka Gringolandia.

For dinner, we were forced to try a local 'westernised' place that was a cross between an american steak house and an Aussie bar theme that served Ecuadorian food.  I'll write that up another day...

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