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Sep 4, 2007 10:56 AM

The ever-so-elusive Ecuadorian food

I am a frustrated Ecuadorian living in Los Angeles. Granted, there are a couple of Ecuadorian restaurants in the general area, but nothing that has satisfied me completely.
El CaserĂ­o on Virgil and Beverly has received many great reviews. Overall, it's not bad, and some things are definitely better than others. However, they specialize more in highland dishes, and their attempts at coastal variations have more often than not left me deeply disappointed.

For years I have been craving a restaurant in Los Angeles that specializes in coastal Ecuadorian food, like bollos de pescado, bolones con sal prieta, viche, corviches. encocados de pescado, sangos, encebollados!!

I had almost completely lost hope... until just recently, when I happened upon a man selling Ecuadorian hallacas (also spelled "hayacas") in the West Side. He does this on the street, apparently at night when people are hanging out at bars. I don't even know if what he does is legal, but the hallacas are delicious and very authentic, and I wished I could have bought a whole bucket of them! By the way, hallacas are made out of cornmeal and wrapped in banana leaves; the Ecuadorian variation of this dish is stuffed with chicken, a touch of peanut sauce, raisins, olives, and other delicious things. Savory and a little sweet, too.

I don't think anyone living in L.A. will have another opportunity like this. If you see him, take the plunge and eat some hallacas. If I find him again, I will try to get his information and see where he usually hangs out.

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  1. On what street, in what neighborhood, or near what bars did you find this guy? I'd like to give Ecuadorian food a try...

    1 Reply
    1. re: glutton

      It was near Venice Blvd, in the vicinity of Carbon, Saints & Sinners, in that general area. As soon as I see him again, I'll post the information. This time I won't let him get away so easily!

    2. a hallaca sounds like a Central American tamale -- El Salvadorans, for example, wrap theirs with banana leaves rather than corn leaves.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Normal Garciaparra

        yes, it is similar, the way it is wrapped and the texture of the masa. i guess the difference is in the stuffing and spices. both are pretty good!

      2. There's a restaurant named Rinconcito Ecuatoriano up the street from me in Hawthorne. I've only visited once and can't report any details, but if you decide to visit there please report back!

        Rinconcito Ecuatoriano
        12631 Hawthorne Blvd, Hawthorne, CA 90250

        El Caserio Restaurant
        309 N Virgil Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90004

        2 Replies
        1. re: DiveFan

          Sorry guys, Rinconcito Ecuatoriano is no longer in business. That was the only authentic ecuadorian restaurant in L.A.

          1. re: fabricio2

            Very sad news - their food was wonderful. We have tried a place which is just east of Atlantic on Beverly in Commerce - not all Ecuadorian but some specials. Wonder what happened to El Caserio?

            El Caserio Restaurant
            309 N Virgil Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90004

        2. Your list ommited a little hole in the wall "Dos Burritos". From my understanding they have been around for over 15 years. The food is authentic ( little old lady named Amadita ) serves up delicious ceviche, bolones, seco de gallina and the like. Every weekend they have caldo de salchicha - a delicacy , soup made with sausages. This easter I tried the fanezca ( spelling ? ) . There are no signs that say Ecuadorian food as it also serves Mexican Food. Dos Burritos is at 4734 Hollywood Blvd. ( at vermont) 323 644-0416.

          The reason El Caserio is not authentic from what I hear is that the cook is Central American

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