Traditional Comfort Food Since colonial times there have been huecas, humble eating houses that keep alive our traditions, the food that identifies us, the culture that exalts us and the heritage that we will conserve to bequeath to the coming generations. In the huecas and picanterĂas, there are no linen tablecloths or gloved waiters. We are greeted by the warm smile of the down-toearth people who happily cook up the same recipes that they learnt from their forefathers. It is almost as if you can hear the voice of the grandparents, old aunts or parents keeping up the oral tradition, telling us which herbs and spices to use and how to cook the dishes. Every corner of the country has its own hueca and picanterĂa, custodians of hundreds of years of culinary knowledge, passed down
from generation to generation. They are full of movement, song, life and the beating hearts of the ordinary people. It is like plunging into a dream from the past, and also a way to discover the notably different tastes of each region. It is one thing to eat a juicy fish on the sea shore, something totally different to fill up on a thick potato soup, locro de papas, in the mountain region, and another experience altogether to try out the chontacuro worms in the Amazonia. The Ecuadorian table can become a multicoloured, multiflavoured and multicultural mosaic; it all depends on what kind of culinary voyage you wish to take.