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 Caserío 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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