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27 September 2012 / leggypeggy

Another market, another new food!


Babacos and yet more bananas

In my opinion, no trip to a city is complete without a swing through the local markets. We managed to go twice to the covered market in Baños—once for a look around and then a return for a delicious bargain lunch.

Every market I visit seems to offer up something I’ve never seen before, and Baños was no exception. For starters, all the butchers and fishmongers were women. They were a shy bunch and none of them wanted to be photographed face-on.

This is also where I saw the star-shaped papaya-type fruits that I have been hearing about but have never tried. Thanks to the waiter at the hostel where we are staying in Cuenca, I now know that it is called a babaco. Unlike a papaya, this fruit is seedless and the smooth skin can be eaten. It is said to have the tastes of strawberry, papaya, kiwi and pineapple. We’ll be the cook group again in a couple of days, so I’ll let you know as soon as I buy and taste one.

We also saw countless varieties of bananas, as well as yet another variety of passionfruit. This large golden one is called maracuyá in Spanish and it’s common across South America.


A hearty serving of llapingachos—typical Ecuadorean food

Lunch in the market was excellent. We arrived about the same time as hundreds of students being released from school, so there was hot competition for the limited seating. We hung back a bit until we were tempted by a menu advertising llapingachos. This is a typical Ecuadorean meal that we first tried in Quito. The Quito version cost $6.50 per person, but this equally delicious one was only $2.50.

The meal includes a chorizo sausage, rice, a fried egg, three potato pancakes and three varieties of salad—lettuce, tomato and beetroot. The woman who ran the stall threw in a special extra for the gringoes—a mixture of pork (we think) and beans.

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