Ecuador Eats : Tropical fruit

Ecuadorian food is worth the trip alone, but what I enjoyed the most was the abundance of perfectly ripened tropical fruits. Every breakfast included a delicious bowl of fresh fruit and a glass of just-pressed juice. Throughout the day we snacked on bananas and sipped batidos (smoothies) and jugos (juices). Dessert after lunch was also usually a piece of fruit. We tried some new ones – guanabana (soursop) and naranjilla – and some familiar favorites – passionfruit and mango.

Galapagos coconut

Sampling fresh coconut water in the Galapagos.

Pineapple juice back home couldn’t even compare to the freshly pressed juice available nearly everywhere in Ecuador. I had thought I loved pineapple juice already, but after trying it in Ecuador, I was ready to guzzle gallons of it. The only thing stopping me was the sheer variety of other fruits to try, which would send me into fits of indecision whenever I was confronted with a juice or smoothie bar (several times a day). Most fruit drinks are served refreshingly cold, but Ecuador also has its share of hot drinks too. On our first night in Quito, we tried naranjillazo, a version of the traditional canelazo made with naranjilla juice, spices and aguardiente (sugar cane alcohol) and sure to warm you right up on those chilly nights in the highlands. At the Saquisili market, we discovered what I think is colada morada, a warm blackberry drink made from Andean blackberries (moras), spices and purple corn flour, and served with a piece of sweet bread.

Fresh pineapple juice on Isla Isabela

And of course Ecuador is just heaven for banana lovers like myself. My favorite fruit of all time was everywhere I looked, and always perfectly ripened. After lunch on the boat during our day trip to North Seymour in the Galapagos, we were presented with a huge platter of banana halves and told to help ourselves. I remember thinking I had never tasted such a banana-y banana before. Delicious!

One of the many banana vendors at the Saquisili market.

Most everyone in Ecuador has a bunch of bananas hanging outside their house.

I know there are lots of other fruits that I didn’t get a chance to try, so I guess I’ll have to go back someday!

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