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Quito is a cosmopolitan capital city with a wide range of options for those who love to eat. The Ecuadorian food of the Andes is the result of a blend of cultures and ingredients dating back 4.000 years ago since the introductio...Open the full description

Quito is a cosmopolitan capital city with a wide range of options for those who love to eat.

The Ecuadorian food of the Andes is the result of a blend of cultures and ingredients dating back 4.000 years ago since the introduction of the agriculture 2.000 BC. Pre-Columbian cultures ate potatoes, corn, avocados, tree tomatoes, and lupines accompanied by the protein of the meat of the deer, guinea pig and ducks. Thanks to the wide network of communications between Andean Cultures with the jungle and the Coast, they had access to other products such as yucca from the Amazonia and fish from the Coastal lowlands. With the arrival of the Spaniards, new meats were introduced such as poultry, cow, goat and pork, as well as other products such as faba beans, onion, coriander and garlic. They also introduced the Africans and with them the sugar cane. Spanish stews mixed with Andean soups, creating a rich variety of meals. On the other hand, celebrations and religiosity were other important ingredients that influenced in current local cuisine.

The first vestiges of agriculture found by the archaeologists on the Coast date back 7.000 years BC on the Santa Elena peninsula in a culture known as Las Vegas. Around 3.900 BC, Valdivia appeared as one of the oldest Pre-Columbian civilizations whose inhabitants domesticated several plants such as beans, corn, sweet peppers, peanuts and manioc, as well as some fruits such as pineapples and papayas. With the arrival of the Spaniards in the 16th century, new meats, vegetables and spices arrived. The rice native to South Eastern Asia was introduced in South Carolina in 1694 from Madagascar by Dutch and Portuguese sailors. However, it is said that although the Spaniards introduced some seeds in Veracruz, Mexico in 1520s, probably African slaves were responsible for the dissemination of rice in Brazil and the rest of Latin America and the Caribbean. First rice plantations in Ecuador date back 1774 in Yaguachi, Babahoyo and Baba in the Southern Coast. Rice reached world importance in our country after World War II. On the northern Coast of Ecuador, African slaves introduced their seasoning and ingredients such as the coconut milk and sweet and green plantain, base of their food. The central Coast’s gastronomy is based on peanut and manioc and the south on green plantain, beans and crab.

The base of the Amazonian cuisine is the manioc, also called cassava. Wild species of Manihot sculenta were probably domesticated in west-central Brazil around 8.000 BC. Forms of the modern domesticated species can also be found growing in the wild in the south of Brazil. By 4,600 BC, manioc pollen appears in the Gulf of Mexico lowlands, at the San Andrés archaeological site. The oldest direct evidence of cassava cultivation comes from a 1.400-year-old Maya site, Joya de Cerén, in El Salvador.

Enjoy the best food in places as diverse as high class restaurants with gourmet cuisine or in popular markets where nice ladies offer you with a "¡Venga mi vida!" (Come my darling!) the most delicious delicacies of local food.

There are also excellent places for international specialties from French "haut cuisine" or Mediterranean fusions to Japanese sushi or Peruvian seafood.

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