I have a brief opportunity to capture an Ecuadorian dining experience before we lose contact with civilization tomorrow. I read that the Andean culture is famous for soups and that locros de papa is one of the favorites. So I ordered it for lunch today. I'm not sure what all the ingredients were, but I know it had potatoes, a strangely textured cheese and avocado. Potatoes originated in the Andes and the International Potato Center has identified over 4,000 varieties found in the Andes. I'm pretty sure whatever kind was in this soup was different from what we usually eat due to the texture. I believe the spices in the soup were cumin, achiote chili and cilantro, based on the taste and the one English language recipe I could find on line. It was very filling and enjoyable.
The other discovery of the day was aji. Apparently every Latin American country and even individual restaurants have their own version of the hot sauce. The two I tried today were bright yellow and medium hot. Very good on the chicken kabobs we had at the end of our city tour of Quito. I hope I'll have other interesting tasting experiences to report before the trip is ended.