Those vendors scared my students

What’s a famous food in your city?

In Sangolqui, the city where I live, one of the most famous dishes is hornado, which is basically pork baked in a wood oven. It comes with a kind of potato “cupcake” (we call them tortillas de papa) and salad. It’s delicious!

Two weeks ago, one of my American students wanted to try hornado at a local market, so we went there.

As soon as we approached the food vendors, the situation got weird.

The sellers came up to us, and instead of asking what we were looking for, they started pulling us towards their food stalls.

It was uncomfortable not only for my students, but also for me.

And things got worse.

As we were walking through the food court, a couple of women asked me where my students were from, so I answered that they were visiting from the US.

— “Parecen chinos” (they look Chinese), the women said.

And my students, whose Spanish is good enough to understand that, felt even more uncomfortable.

Their parents are from Asia, so yes, they don’t look like the stereotypical American, but it wasn’t necessary to point that out, and I let the women know.

At the end my student chose a place to eat hornado, we sat there while she ate, and as soon as she finished we left the market.

Not all the people in Ecuador behave that way, I promise, but you might come across them from time to time. Consider that part of the experience if it ever happens to you.

Despite that, the food in that market is a good option if you want to try something traditional, and of course, there are other places where the vendors will be more polite.

If you come to Ecuador some day, and want to visit my city (it’s right next to Quito, the capital of Ecuador), I can take you to try hornado or some other typical foods.

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