Growing up in Ecuador, I always looked forward to our end of school year trips. Sometimes we took these trips with our entire class, while others times, my family took a few days off to travel to La Sierra, the Andes region of Ecuador. On school trips, we rented a large school bus that could fit the entire class plus some chaperones, and set off to Quito and Riobamba for four days.
Regardless of who I was traveling with, my favorite part of the trips were the pit stops at the little hole-in-the-wall restaurants along the way. At these spots, we could order fritada (Ecuadorian pork fry), caldo de salchicha (Ecuadorian blood sausage soup), empanadas, and many other delicious and traditional foods. Fritada was – and is – one of my favorite Ecuadorian dishes to eat. The pork is fried in its own fat, and it is served with mote (hominy), fava beans, maiz tostado (similar to corn nuts), maduro (fried sweet plantain), encurtido (red pickled onions), and a small salad.
For breakfast on these trips, I loved to order mote pillo, a traditional hominy and egg scramble. The onion and garlic refrito base gives this scramble a delicious flavor, absorbed by every hominy kernel. This dish has queso fresco and a hint of achiote powder which gives it some color. In Ecuador, I would also order a side of salchicha (blood sausage) with my mote pillo and pair it with some Inca Cola. (If my mom knew I had soda for breakfast, she would have a heart attack!) But these days, I eat my mote pillo with a hot cup of café negro, of which my mom approves.