Ecuador: Quito – Iñaquito Market

Posted on | December 19, 2012 | 14 Comments


After leaving Peru, we briefly went to Quito, the capital of Ecuador, before heading to the Galapagos Islands.

Our hotel was located in the historic center. which is the best preserved and least altered in Latin America, and was declared a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site in 1978.


As pretty as Quito is, Alastair and I aren’t really the kind of people that get excited about looking at churches and old buildings. So before we left Australia, I decided what I *really* wanted to do in Quito was a cooking class or a market tour (surprise surprise). Unfortunately, our only whole day there was a Sunday, so there were no cooking classes available.

But there was a market tour. :) And you know how much I like visiting markets so I booked us into a half day tour which included a visit to Inaquito Market.

Quito view

We bummed around in the morning, before meeting up with our guide, Juarez. It turned out to be just us three and a driver – we basically hired a friend and a driver for the afternoon. :)

Before heading to Inaquito Market, we took a ride on the aerial tramway, Telefériqo, to near the top of Pichincha volcano, which overlooks Quito. The top of the tramway is located at about 4,100 metres (13,500ft), and from there it’s easy to see the layout of the city. The city of Quito is positioned in the Ecuador’s northern highlands in the Guayllabamba river basin. It’s flanked by Andes mountains on one side, and on the west is the volcano Pinchincha, so the city is long and thin – it’s about 40km long but only about 5km at its widest.


And then to market, to market. Located in the north of the city, Inaquito market sells fruit, vegetables, seafood, meat, dry goods, medicinal herbs and all other kinds of produce.


We wandered around, our guide pointing out interesting tidbits. He also did some of his shopping while there – hah.


We stopped for awesome juices – Alastair had carrot and orange, and I had blackberry.


And we sampled some mussels that were gathered from mangroves.

Blood mixture

There were two food courts at the market, and as we passed through, Juarez pointed out all the different foods. This is part of an Andean specialty – yahuarlocro – a blood stew (more on that later).

Warm ice cream

This is what they call warm ice cream. It looks like meringue?



When we reached the fruit section, we sampled some. Yay!



We didn’t try this one. I believe it’s a cherimoya, and it’s apparently incredibly delicious. Unfortunately it was too big for us to sample.


But we did try this one. It’s called mamey.


This is the inside of the mamey. The flesh was sweet, creamy and soft, and flavourwise was a bit floral.


And this one is a caimito. The flesh was very sweet and soft, with a mild flavour. The skin is inedible and is really, really sticky.


We also ate a big passionfruit – lovely and sweet.


We happened to visit on the Sunday where all the stall holders were tidying up their stalls. Once a month everyone does a big clean, so many of the stall holders were busy painting their shelves.



After fruit sampling, we had a wander through the rest of the market.

Pig face

And then we had lunch – my favourite part!


Mhmmm epic crackling. Alastair selected a pork dish for lunch.

Alastair's lunch

It came on top of mashed potatoes (coloured with a bit of spice). The meat was sooo lovely, and the crackling was awesome.

Unfortunately, he may or may not have gotten food poisoning from it. Ahhhh. Let’s just say the flight to the Galapagos the following day was a bit uncomfortable for him. Poor thing!

My lunch

Whereas I wanted the strangest food possible, so I selected the previously mentioned yahuarlocro. Yahuarlocro is a Quechua word that roughly means blood stew. The red/purple part was made from cow stomach, which is mixed with blood and flavourings. It came with a thick potato soup that contained chunks of potato and chicken. It was hearty, filling and really good.


Since I didn’t get sick, I have great memories from that day. :) I bonded with Juarez about food, got to sample different fruit, and eat an Andean specialty. Good day in my books!

Mercado de Iñaquito
Iñaquito y Villalengua, west of Amazonas, La Y Trole stop


14 Responses to “Ecuador: Quito – Iñaquito Market”

  1. Hannah
    December 20th, 2012 @ 2:27 am

    Why is it that my brain is all “meh, meat”, but then reads something like “blood stew” and wants it? Oh, novelty and intrigue and intense flavours!


    Agnes Reply:

    Because you’re a weird one, that’s why. ;)


  2. leaf (the indolent cook)
    December 20th, 2012 @ 9:40 pm

    So many cool things at the market and so nice to have a guide-friend to explain them to you! Your stew looks so interesting. Love the fruit selection, too, the mamey reminds me of something similar back home.
    leaf (the indolent cook) recently posted..honey sage pistachio balls / energy bites


    Agnes Reply:

    I need to hire friends more often. Haha.


  3. piggyeatalot
    December 23rd, 2012 @ 11:32 am

    Oh wow! My friend Dorenedo is also touring South America right at this moment! Didn’t hear her mention anything about blood stew though XD You are a brave brave person!

    The cherimoya looked a bit like custard apple, but is it bigger?

    It’s so nice that you have an adventurous partner to travel with you. Hubby would not touch anything in that market *rolls eyes* His greatest fear is food poisoning :P But I reckon being adventurous you will have to take the good with the bad, and it’s all worth it :)

    Are you guys back now? Or else you can check out dorenedo’s instagram pics also which made me endure massive bouts of food envy
    piggyeatalot recently posted..Coi


    Agnes Reply:

    The cherimoya is MASSIVE, but yes I think it’s like a custard apple.

    Haha I’m not afraid of food poisoning either (cast iron stomach) and Alastair is semi adventurous with food. He doesn’t go near offal so the blood stew was mine all mine. :D You have to try these things at least once, right?


  4. Thanh
    January 9th, 2013 @ 7:31 am

    It is impossible for one to get sick on pork crackling. Fact. :-)
    Thanh recently posted..Ballarat Summer Fling – Great Melbourne Weekend Getaway


    Agnes Reply:

    Hah, perhaps it was from the pork fumes Alastair inhaled then.


  5. Ashley
    January 9th, 2013 @ 4:21 pm

    Ooh, what a great idea to do a market tour! I love visiting markets when I’m overseas, but never really think of actually doing a tour, looks like a great way to get to know the local produce better. So many interesting fruit!
    Ashley recently posted..Brooks


  6. msihua (@msihua)
    January 13th, 2013 @ 2:25 pm

    So glad you got to do a market tour! I would love to do one when I go!
    msihua (@msihua) recently posted..St Ali North @ Carlton North, VIC – Melbourne’s “Coffee King” Heads North


    Agnes Reply:

    Market tours are the shiz.


    April 2nd, 2013 @ 5:40 am

    What you thought was a Cherimoya is actually a Guanabana.
    The juice id good con Ron…


  8. Simon
    May 19th, 2013 @ 4:27 am

    Thanks for the info. Did you find any cooking classes? We’re struggling ….



    Agnes Reply:

    Hi Simon

    I wanted to do this one, but it wasn’t offered on a Sunday –

    It’s has a bakery tour and then a cooking class at the end. We did the market tour through that operator so it’s legit. :)

    Apart from that, didn’t find any others. Good luck!


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