an authentic one
Fondest memory: I was a bit shocked to see an art nouveau building with quite an ornate interior but decided to make the splurge. The inside was even more impressive once inside and the service in the form of the owner’s very young son charming and surprisingly professional. In fact, I’d have to say the kid provided the best service of my whole six week trip to Ecuador. My elation was short lived however when a small dish of mote and fried pork pieces arrived. It was very tasty but not the massive meal I had anticipated. After it was easily polished off I was happy to see another place replace it-this one much bigger and containing the remaining tidbits I’d read about. It took quite awhile to eat this course and in such grand settings there was no rush. Besides, it went well with the local beer that the young kid kept bringing out.
Afterward I took quite a few photos and the owner noticed my zeal and took me on a tour of the remaining three floors including a rooftop terrace and more formal party areas. He even showed me the bathroom’s waterfall sink he was justifiably proud of. It would be a remarkable restaurant in New York City so its presence in a relatively small Andean town in Ecuador is more like an oasis. All good things must come to an end and I asked for the check and was surprised that the huge meal was under five dollars. Though I don’t customarily do it I over tipped. The kid was not only cute but a charmer and he was an exceptional server regardless of not despite his age. Besides his father had given me the grand tour and it was of a place that Ecuadorians hold with some esteem. Everyone that came in while we were there gawked as if in a palace. It was obviously a very special place to go for this much coveted local meal. I was happy to find it, not just the meal but the entire experience. It was an authentic one, just like Latacunga.
- Beer Tasting
- Food and Dining
- Budget Travel
sometimes just the food is enough
Favorite thing: I'll admit I came to Latacunga mostly to try the local dishes but I was surprised at some of the colonial architecture that survived Cotopaxi's wrath. It was a lot more charming than I expected and the people were totally unaware of your presence, something nice to be able to say this close to their second most popular National Park.
Fondest memory: I’m fond of saying I’ve found a lot of great places in my quest for trying different beers but it applies to food as well. I’ll be the first to admit that I often check out the culinary aspects of a city before looking into the sights most come to inspect. Latacunga is a case in point. Pretty much anyone traveling in the Andes of Ecuador will pass through this transit hub but many decide to jump on the next bus rather than spend a night. It’s a shame because while Latacunga is not a stunning city physically it is an interesting mix of Old World Andean culture and a mad rush towards the modern west. That it was destroyed numerous times by nearby volcano Cotopaxi’s eruptions should not be ignored when judging the city’s lack of spectacular architecture. What remains is a vibrant market town with a few remnant buildings of the colonial age, some pleasant squares, the modern amenities of a big city, and a plethora of great places to eat. In short, Latacunga is an authentic Ecuadorian city that should not be missed by anyone that has the time.
I would have likely given Latacunga a pass myself if I’d not read about chuchachuras, the city’s hallmark dish comprising of mote, crunchy pork pieces, roasted potatoes, cheese empanadas, plantains, pop corn, toasted corn, and pork rinds. It’s quite a feast and not for the vegetarian or extreme health conscious but anyone that likes typical Ecuadorian fare should try it. There is a string of places that serve the local delicacy on the edge of town and it’s a nice place to get away from the hectic hustle bustle that characterizes the area around the market. I generally like to go to the least fancy place and it was tough walking by a couple of intriguingly authentic looking places but I’d read about one place in particular and ventured on. (concluded below in Fondest Memory)
- Food and Dining
- Beer Tasting