Step foot inside La Platea Container Park in Quito, and you'll be greeted by a large sign quoting Mark Twain. It reads "Un hombre con una idea nueva es un loco - hasta que la idea triunfa." Never has a sign been more appropriate.
Ecuador is a country steeped firmly in tradition and it does not often suffer men (or women) with new ideas gladly, especially when it comes to food. For centuries the traditional Andean meal in Ecuador has remained much the same: a large bowl of soup, a small bit of fried meat, a few teaspoons of vegetables, and heaping mounds of potatoes, rice, mote, or other starches. The meal is hearty, inexpensive, and fills bellies. Why tinker with a tried and true formula?
As it turns out, tinkering was just what many Ecuadorians were looking for and a new successful idea has taken root. Behold, La Platea, one of Ecuador's ever-growing number of food container parks. Here you'll find a variety of food vendors who have converted shipping containers (or other similar structures) into stationary food truck-like businesses. Hungry patrons are able to converge on one central location and have their pick of ceviche, hot wings, shawarma, pizza, bratwurst, arepas, and even sushi. It's a multicultural food frenzy washed down with artisanal tap beer.