One of the things that we find visitors to Ecuador love is trying the best food in Quito. A question we often get asked is, “Where can I get the best street food in Quito?” Here are our top seven recommendations for finding Ecuadorian food in Quito, including closed markets, markets on the street and other suggestions we think are well worth a try. Between these places, you’re sure to enjoy the best food in Quito. Don’t forget to bring an open mind!
1. Mercado Central – tucked away on the edge of the historical part of town, the Mercado Central is your quintessential Ecuadorian market. It’s not located in the loveliest looking building, but once you venture inside you’ll be glad you came. Here you can try all variety of strange looking, unfamiliar street food. There are excellent juice stalls and options for vegetarians and meat eaters alike. Here you can pick up an “almuerzo” (a set lunch) for just a few dollars, and eat a filling and delicious local meal, just as the locals do. Here you can get some of the best street food in Quito.
2. Parque Genaro Larrea – if you want to try a selection of strange looking and exotic meats, and you have a strong stomach for the more unusual, then head to the residential district of La Floresta, just towards the north of the city. Here, in Parque Genaro Larrea you’ll find the outdoor food market. It’s a bit smoky at times, but this is the real deal and you’ll have the option to eat street food in exactly the same way the locals do. One of the common favorites of people in Quito is guatita. This is a type of cow belly stew. You might also try pork intestines (tripa mishqui) or morcilla (blood sausage) while you’re at it. This place surely does offer some of the best street food in Quito.
3. Inaquito Market – as Ecuadorian food in Quito goes, Inaquito Market is one of our favorites. Here, you can get a real flavor of local life, as well as tasting some great street food options too, available from the many stall holders. Walking around this market one of the highlights is the vast array of weird and wonderful fruits and vegetables on display – some of which you likely won’t even recognize at all. Why not buy a few from the stall holders and give them a try? Given the freshness of what the stall holders have to offer, you’re sure to get some of the best food in Quito here.
4. Salchipapas – one street food treat that many Quitenos, and actually many Latin Americans love is “salchipapas”. What is it? Well, it’s all in the name. Salchicha means “sausage” and “papa” means potato, so this is piping hot good old-fashioned sausage and fries, with an Ecuadorian slant. You’ll find that you can get your hands on this delicious snack at many locations across the city, though some speak highly of the Salchipapas on Calle Guayaquil in particular. Maybe it’s not the healthiest Ecuadorian food in Quito, but it’s worth a try.
5. Mercado Municipal Santa Clara – Mercado Santa Clara is located between the Centro Historico of the city and the north area. This is another great local market to visit for some of the best food in Quito. You can get a genuine sense of how people live in Quito, and to observe them shopping for their daily wares, as well as to pick up a few tasty snacks. One fruit you might want to look out for and have a taste of at the market is a babaco. This is a very sweet treat, which even people with the sweetest tooth will enjoy.
6. Mercado San Francisco – this market is located in the district of San Roque. It has been operating for more than a century, and it a closed market. Here you’ll find a wide range of different options for meat, some of which may not be very familiar, as well as lots of fresh produce, like fruits, vegetables, eggs and so on. The market has a good reputation for cleanliness, and you can head to the food court area to try out all kinds of different Ecuadorian delights, perhaps such as “caldo de patas” – cow foot soup. We visit this market on our Live like a Local tour.
7. Hamburguesas de Rusty – Okay, so it’s not really street food, and nor is it Ecuadorian food in Quito, but maybe you’ll fancy a taste of something more familiar looking after all your street food market adventures. When you enter a Hamburguesas de Rusty branch you’ll see that this is a special treat that Quitenos love, often with lines out of the door, and the smell of those burgers grilling is sure to induce a desire to dribble with anticipation. Chose from a Rusty Mix “Simple”, “Doble” or “Triple” and get fries and a drink on the side.