Helado: A frozen treat in the street

Aug 11, 2016 | 0 comments

By Brian Buckner

I can’t imagine that there are too many people in the world who don’t like ice cream. It’s like the national dessert in Ecuador. Here, an indigenous woman and her daughter pause for a break at the parque, enjoying some cold and sweet refreshment!

chl HeladoWhipped up on the street corner in a copper bowl sitting in rock salt and ice, while you watch, the ice cream is about as fresh a serving as you can expect. Want a popsicle or some other novelty, well, they’ve got that too.

It’s everyone’s favorite and there are vendors everywhere who will serve you up some ice cold goodness if all you do is give them a little smile (and a dab of silver).

Seems like the most popular and convenient way to eat it is also about the cheapest way. Thirty cents will get you ice cream on a stick, popsicle that is.  The vendors pour the mixture into disposable cups and then poke a stick in it. Everything freezes and there’s the afternoon treat.

chl brian col logoWhen you hit the vendors up in Parque Calderon for some, you’ll be picking from vanilla, cookies and cream, coconut and chocolate. Some have a little berry juice mixed in and they all seem home-made. Choose your flavor wisely.

Some sticks are not placed in the center since placement is by hand. If your stick is too angled, well, your treat might become a treat for the dogs. They’ll gladly oblige with a cleanup detail leaving not a vestige of evidence that there was a mess on the bricks except for your tears making a puddle nearby.


After a successful career in manufacturing, Brian Buckner sold his commercial window fabrication plant and now makes his home with his wife, Edie, in Cuenca. He is a photojournalist and writer currently producing photo essays and stories of life in Ecuador. He and his wife enjoy hiking, photography, writing and giving their time to those in need. Brian may be reached by email at scottsbluff@hotmail.com.

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