Upon arriving go Ecuador one of the first things my host father told me about the food was “No es la cena sin arroz” – it’s not a meal without rice.  My time here has proven this statement to be very, very true.  I have eaten more rice in the past two months than I do in a year or more in the states.  A very typical Ecuadorian meal begins with soup, goes on to a mountain of rice, a cut of meat and some type of potato, and the meal ends with – depending on your family – a small dessert, like fruit or some ice cream, or a cup of coffee or tea.  This meal is typically lunch, but my family eats it at dinner when my host father is home.  The portions of these foods on your plate are also carb-o-loaded.  Half the plate will be rice, a quarter potato, and a small cut of meat.  Most nights my family has a small salad to go with, but this is usually doused in vinegar and other types of dressing.  To eat as the Ecuadorians do one must be prepared for a lot of carbs.  Bread is a main part of the diet.  There are panaderias (bakeries) everywhere, and they are filled with many varieties of bread and pastries.  As I said before, the main meal consists of both rice and potatoes.  Sometimes, instead of potatoes a common root veggie called yuca (commonly known as cassava) is eaten.  There are even yuca chips!  Made like potato chips, but with yuca instead, and just as tasty.   I am enjoying my meals here, but do not think I shall eat rice for a very loooooong time after I get home.

Rebecca Larson is studying abroad at Universidad San Francisco de Quito in Quito, Ecuador.