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Sample the best of Ecuador's street food I © Carolina Leon
Sample the best of Ecuador's street food I © Carolina Leon
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Street Food You Have to Try in Quito, Ecuador

Picture of Carolina Loza Leon
Updated: 9 June 2017
As Ecuador’s capital, Quito is a great place to try the country’s street food. While adventurous eaters will relish the more obscure meat dishes, others will still find plenty to have them licking their lips in delight. Whether you’re a confirmed carnivore or a lover of all things sweet, here’s your guide to deciphering what’s what in Quito’s street food hotspot.

Where to find it

To experience authentic street food in Quito, pay a visit to Mercado de las Tripas (Tripe Market), a line of food stalls located in the Vicentina neighborhood. The best time to go is in the early evening, when you’ll find a buzzing atmosphere with many Ecuadorians enjoying a hearty dish or a snack.

Here, we mention just some of the most popular dishes on offer, though it’s also definitely worth taking your time and exploring. Make sure you arrive with an empty stomach by 5pm, when the stalls aren’t too crowded so you can take your time asking about dishes – plus, if you get there ahead of the crowds, you can even get a table.

Dishing up at the Mercado de las Tripas I
Dishing up at the Mercado de las Tripas I | © Carolina Leon

Tortillas

Make a beeline for the stall selling tortillas – potato patties and sausage topped with a fried egg, served with chopped lettuce, tomato and sometimes rice. This is one of the hearty dishes that many Ecuadorians eat after a long day in the office.

Get stuck in to a tortilla I
Get stuck in to a tortilla I | © Carolina Leon

Tripa mishki

Yes, it’s tripe, but don’t let that put you off. Seasoned and fried intestines are one of the most popular dishes here, and among the most delicious. According to many Ecuadorians, this dish is good for your gut (literally, no pun intended) as it takes a while to chew thanks to its consistency.

Try some tripa mishki I
Try some tripa mishki I | © Carolina Leon

Guatita

This cow’s stomach stew in a peanut-based sauce is popular on the coast, and the Mercado de las Tripas is one of the few places in Quito where you’ll find this dish, eaten with avocado, boiled egg and rice. The sauce itself is delicious and worth trying.

Get ready for guatita I
Get ready for guatita I | © Carolina Leon

Empanadas de viento

Deliciously moreish, these tasty empanadas are filled with a tiny bit of cheese before being deep-fried and then sprinkled with sugar. Make sure to get a couple, as not only will the first bite leave you craving more, their lightness (the clue is in the name – ‘viento‘ means ‘wind’) means you’ll happily have room for more.

An empanada de viento fresh from the frier I
An empanada de viento fresh from the frier I | © Carolina Leon

Seco de pollo

This chicken stew served with rice, boiled egg and potatoes is one of the staples of Ecuadorian cuisine. This meal is found throughout the country, but has a particularly good reputation here – many travelers find themselves often ordering this stew after trying it for the first time in Quito.

Dishing up seco de pollo I
Dishing up seco de pollo I | © Carolina Leon

Morocho

And… onto the drinks. This beverage, made from morocho corn, is a sweet, hot drink that is obtained after cooking the corn with milk. Morocho is popular as a tea-time drink and can be found at street stalls throughout the country.

Make room for morocho I
Make room for morocho I | © Carolina Leon

Horchata

Nope, it’s not the drink you had in Central America. Horchata in Ecuador is a refreshing drink made of herbs and served as tea, or as a cold beverage. Originally from the south of Ecuador, this red, sweet drink is becoming more popular throughout the country.

A refreshing cup of horchata I
A refreshing cup of horchata I | © Carolina Leon