Despite the large Asian population, we have yet to find any Asian Markets in Ecuador that sell traditional Asian spices and ingredients.
The larger grocery stores like Supermaxi and Tía sell some of the basic items like soy sauce, yellow curry powder and firm/extra-firm tofu, but it’s very difficult to find Indian or Thai spices, and speciality ingredients like miso paste, silken tofu or rice paper.
Our friends who own Paradise Indian Restaurant in Cuenca, and South Indian Restaurant in Olón and Manta, have their loyal customers mule Indian spices from the U.S. and Canada, and sometimes they have family or friends bring it straight from India because it’s nearly impossible to find those types of spices in Ecuador.
MOMO in Olón has managed to source some Kimchi and miso paste, and Todo Criollo in Manta has some Asian spices. There’s also a tienda owned by an Asian family in Olón that sells some higher quality soy sauce.
However, Ecuadorians generally prefer bland food and can’t take the heat from spicy Asian meals so there hasn’t been much demand for a traditional Asian market in Ecuador. We’re hoping that will change as Ecuador continues to welcome more international cuisines.
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