A short guide to the strange fruits of Ecuador; they are not what mama fed you

By Lance Brashear Visitors arriving in Ecuador are often amazed at the country’s wild and exotic fruit. Both strange and delicious, many varieties bear little resemblance to what they know and love back home. An example is the granadilla, cousin of the passion fruit. To eat it, one is required to break open a hard […]

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Does cuy really taste like chicken? At Mi Escondite it tastes just like cuy

By Deke Castleman “It tastes like chicken” is such a common expression that it has almost become a self-fulfilling prophesy: Any uncommon meat is now compared to the bland standard of this particular poultry. Rabbit, quail, ostrich, goose, pigeon, ptarmigan, frog, turtle, alligator, snake, iguana, even kangaroo and the two-toed amphiuma (a type of salamander) […]

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Looking for cultural immersion to satisfy your appetite? Cuenca’s markets teem with produce, prepared food and adventure

By Deke Castleman and David Morrill Where do Cuencanos and expats buy their food? Although Supermaxi, Coral and other modern supermarkets sell their share of meat and produce, the city’s markets, or mercados, continue to be the city’s main food provider. The market scene in Cuenca is lively, vibrant, and bountiful, with large bustling produce […]

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Ecuadorian chocolate returns to its 5,000-year-old roots, producing industry ‘game-changing’ results

By Adam H. Graham While the Egyptians were building pyramids, the Druids were hauling blocks to Stonehenge and the Chinese were mapping out their wall, Ecuadorians were making drinks. But what they were imbibing may well have had a bigger impact on the world than those other ancient wonders combined. Chocolate was once thought to […]

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La Placita Restaurant will anchor a reinvigorated Esquina de las Artes, offering a full menu and complimenting the MeLatte coffee shop and an upstairs bar

By Sylvan Hardy Call it Esquina de las Artes’ second act. La Placita restaurant, which opened a month ago in space originally occupied by small shops, is intended to be the anchor of a revitalized Esquina de las Artes. Unlike its coffee shop partner, MeLatte, at the front of Esquina, La Placita offers a full […]

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On the Tomebamba riverfront, Mayu mixes casualness, a real bar scene, a youthful format, and craft beer with a touch of New York

By Sylvan Hardy When Paúl Arias moved back to Cuenca at age 15, he couldn’t forget the view of the Manhattan skyline across the bay from Beyonne, New Jersey. “I grew up in Jersey, thinking about New York, and when you do that you think a lot about food,” he says. The New York and […]

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MeLatte Café serves up great food quickly, simply and inexpensively; it’s the cornerstone for the revitalization of Esquina de las Artes

By Sylvan Hardy Although it was an instant hit with University of Cuenca students, MeLatte Café in Esquina de las Artes has been discovered by only a handful of expats. MeLatte is the cornerstone of a project to revitalize Esquina de las Artes, an attractive Spanish-sytle commercial center on Av. Doce de Abril and Agustín […]

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From Baltimore to Cuenca: Anubis brings years of experience from the U.S., mixes North American, European and Mexican tastes to perfection

By Sylvan Hardy It is a welcomed but often overlooked phenomenon on the Cuenca restaurant scene, and one that has transformed the experience of eating out over the past five or six years. It goes like this. Ecuadorians leave home, spend years working in U.S., Canadian and European restaurants, then return to Cuenca and open […]

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Sophisticated European dining where you would least expect it; Shamuí in Saraguro serves fabulous meals at rock-bottom prices

By Sylvan Hardy If the Shamuí restaurant, or Shamuico Espai Gastronomica as it is formally known, seems misplaced, you can blame it on a family migration to Spain two decades ago. Located in the proudly indigenous town of Saraguro, 70 miles south of Cuenca, Shamuí gets rave reviews from the few tourists and expats who […]

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Tierra de Fuego on Av. 10 de Agosto is a fabulous find and a great addition to Cuenca’s growing dining scene

What a great find Tierra de Fuego is! And I mean that literally; it’s a little tough to locate, but once you do, you will be rewarded (see directions below). The first thing you notice about the restaurant are the beautifully maintained grounds. Inside, you find a large eventos room which may or may not […]

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