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Meet the Instagramer: @laylapujol on the cuisine of Ecuador

We’re following Layla Pujol, a food blogger originally from Vilcabamba, Ecuador, now living in Seattle.

Published 31 Aug 2021, 06:07 BST
Layla is passionate about the diverse cuisine of Ecuador.

Layla is passionate about the diverse cuisine of Ecuador. 

Photograph by Layla Pujol

How would you describe Ecuadorian cuisine?
Diverse. The coast, highlands, islands and the Amazon each have their own distinct ingredients and dishes. In the coastal areas, you’ll find dishes made with plantains, shrimp, fish, black clams, crab, and peanuts. In the highlands, it’s potatoes, corn, beans, grains, cassava and avocados. Soups and stews are common everywhere.

What did you eat growing up?
A mix of Ecuadorian and my mum’s New Mexican food. She made everything from scratch, from flour tortillas to tofu.

What are your favourite dishes to cook?
Anything with plantains — from plantain empanadas to stuffed plantains. I also like cooking Ecuadorian soups like locro de papa (creamy potato and cheese) and encebollado (fish and cassava topped with lime-marinated onions). 

What’s the one Ecuadorian dish everyone must try?
It’s impossible to choose just one, but I’d go with viche de pescado fish soup on the coast and roasted pork hornado in the highlands. 

Who do you look up to in food?
I really respect Ecuadorian chefs like Alajandra Espinoza and Rodrigo Pacheco. They’re working extremely hard to share our cuisine with the world. There’s been a huge shift in the last few decades when it comes to showcasing traditional dishes.

Where‘s great for food in Ecuador?
I love the food stalls at the local markets, hole-in-the-wall restaurants called huecas and ceviche carts at the beach. I like trying new restaurants, too. Recent favourites include De La Llama and Urko in Quito, La Pizarra in Guayaquil, and Muyu in San Cristóbal.

Published in Issue 12 (summer 2021) of National Geographic Traveller Food

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