Cuenca has a lot of typical dishes that we’ve been making sure that Jen tries this week. Of course we went to one of the markets for fresh juice but we also had some roasted pork – complete with crispy skin.
Most restaurants in Cuenca have a multi-course lunch special for between $2 and $4. We splurged and took her to a $3.50 place. Most specials start with some popcorn or mote (cooked corn kernels, similar to hominy) and a soup. Our soup was chicken vegetable.
The main course is almost always rice, protein, vegetables (usually corn or some kind of potato) and a piece of fried plantain. Our main was chicken fingers with rice and a salad of corn and beans. The chicken was awesome! A typical condiment served with meals here is a spicy sauce called aji. You also always get a glass of fresh juice. Some places will give a small dessert at the end – this restaurant had small dishes of apples stewed with cinnamon.
Brandon and I also tried our hand at cooking a few traditional dishes for Jen. My food photography skills are not stellar – but I promise these all tasted good! We made chifles (Brandon’s specialty) which are just plantain chips served with a salsa that I think I’ve made a dozen times now – it’s so easy! 1 red onion, 1 green or red pepper, 1 hot pepper, cilantro, juice of 1 lime, a little salt and a little oil – and that’s it! You’ll see it along side all of our Ecuadorian experiments.
We also made a few egg dishes. This one is called tigrillo. It is boiled and mashed plantain cooked with scrambled eggs and cheese.
And this is my favorite – mote pillo. I made this mote pillo by just sauteing green onions and mote and then adding in a few eggs and cheese. Of course with salsa on top!
And a visit to Cuenca wouldn’t be complete without at least one stop at one of the many heladerias (ice cream shops). There’s a shop called Mixx that had my favorite flavor combo – chocolate ice cream with chocolate cake in it with a scoop of Bailey’s ice cream on top!