Traditional Dishes
Ecuador traditional dishes: Whole roast pig
Tostado, or toasted maize grains
Traditional food: trout supper in Mindo in Ecuador
Chochos, a traditional snack in Ecuador
Traditional Ecuadorian dishes: guaguas de pan, or bread babies, and purple drink colada morada
Bizcochos biscuits made from the traditional recipe for sale in Cayambe
Ecuador's food is generally simple but tasty.  Look out for typical traditional Ecuadorian dishes in the different regions of the country.  My food photography may not be great, but the traditional recipes have stood the test of time and the food was delicious, I promise!

Traditional Dishes of Ecuador

Local dishes in the different regions of Ecuador are always worth a try and planning your tour around the foods of each province does not seem over the top.  The traditional recipes are handed down through families with subtle variations in different towns.
Fans of food photography will find some wonderful opportunities around the country, with whole roast pigs in the highlands, mountains of cotton candy at parades and elaborately decorated "bread babies" for the Day of the Dead.  Just don't forget to leave time to enjoy your food as well as photographing it!
There are many traditional recipes around the country based on corn (maize) pulped then steamed or boiled wrapped in little leaf parcels of various shapes.  The shape, size, and sweet or savoury additions such as raisins, pulled meat or spices, seem to depend on the area, the time of year and how the cook's grandma used to make it.
Whether or not you take a gourmet tour or plan your own epicurean adventure, don't miss these typical regional Ecuadorian dishes:
Typical Ecuadorian dishes in the highlands (sierra)
Traditional foods of the highland region of Ecuador are often based around potatoes, sweetcorn, cheese and avocadoes.  Typical highland Ecuadorian dishes include llapingachos, delicious little fried patties of mashed potato and cheese, often served with a fried egg, avocado, and beetroot and sometimes sausage or pork as well.  Without the meat, llapingachos make a good meal for veggies, one of the easier to find options for vegetarian food in Ecuador.  Locro is a filling potato and cheese soup.
Whole spit roast or oven roast pigs (hornado) can often be seen at roadside restaurants and the crackling is fantastic.  Fritada, lumps of deep fried pork, are wonderful with a cold beer and are often served with mote (a type of boiled corn) and a salad of tomato and onion. 
Guinea pig, "cuy", is a famous and traditional dish in the highlands, often reserved for special occasions as they are not cheap.  The guinea pigs are bred for the table, they are not pets, and they taste delicious, though there is not actually a lot of meat on them.  You'll need to eat them with your fingers to get at all the crispy skin and tasty meat, so make sure there's somewhere to wash your hands before settling on the location for your cuy experience. 
Cayambe, a town northeast of Quito, is known for its regional speciality, bizcochos, a type of buttery biscuit which you can watch being baked in traditional wood-fired ovens, and dairy products.
Traditional foods of Ecuador's costa or coastal region
Typical Ecuadorian dishes in the costa makes use of local ingredients such as plantain (savoury banana), yuca (a type of yam), coconut and rice.  There are also a wide variety of subtropical and tropical fruits (papaya, pineapple, starfruit and many more) though these do not often appear on restaurant menus other than as fresh juices.
Plantain is a staple in the costa and appears in many forms, most of them very enjoyable.  Patacones are thick chunks of plantain, fried, bashed with a stone, fried again and served with salt (and a cold beer, if you can arrange it).  Chifles are thin deep-fried slices of plantain, rather like crisps.  Maduro con queso is a whole, barbequed ripe plantain split open and filled with cheese, at its delicious best from the stall on the corner at the Zapotal t-junction.  Unripe or green plantains are usually just referred to as verde (green), which can be confusing.  Bolones de verde are balls of unripe plantain mashed with cheese - perhaps the best that can be said is that they fill you up.
Typical seafood dishes in Ecuador
Ecuador's seafood is, of course, at its best and freshest on the coast.  Esmeraldas province, in the north, is rightly famous for its fantastic "encocados" - fish or prawns in a rich coconut sauce, usually served with rice and patacones.  Encocados are difficult to find outside of Esmeraldas, but are one of the finest traditional Ecuadorian dishes, so don't miss them if you are visiting the beach resorts of Atacames or Sua.  
Ceviche, raw seafood (or boiled, in the case of prawns) marinated in lime or lemon juice with chilli and onion, is perhaps the most famous traditional dish of Ecuador, usually served with popcorn.  Pick a clean restaurant with a high turnover for safe, fresh ceviche - get a local recommendation if at all possible.
Encebollados (literally, "onionateds") are a wonderful local food, though not well known outside of Ecuador.  They consist of seafood in a tangy, tomatoey soup with mashed yuca, onion and coriander.  Add plenty of lemon juice and pepper, and popcorn, tostado (toasted maize) or chifles (fried slices of plantain).  Encebollados are said to cure a hangover and make a surprisingly good breakfast. 
Traditional holiday foods
Certain public holidays and festivals in Ecuador also have special foods associated with them.  For example on 2nd November, All Souls Day or the Day of the Dead, decorated bread babies (guaguas de pan) are eaten.  Colada morada is drunk at this time, a purple drink made from a huge list of ingredients including black raspberries, blueberries, dark maize flour, pineapple and a range of different herbs and spices.  At Easter, a special and very filling soup, fanesca, is prepared with many different ingredients and garnishes, all of which have their own significance and traditions.
If your Ecuador trip coincides with any local festivals or holidays, ask around to be sure you don't miss the associated seasonal Ecuadorian dishes.

Traditional Dishes of Ecuador
Traditional foods of Ecuador, typical Ecuadorian dishes, local specialities and traditional recipes, regional Ecuadorian cuisine and tips on finding the best food in Ecuador.
I'm much better at eating traditional foods than photographing them, so apologies for the quality of the food photography.

& Vegan Food
in Ecuador