Thursday, April 9, 2009

Barzola... Ecuador Rises

According to the census, Ecuadorians have surpassed Colombians as the largest South American group in New York City and are rapidly catching up to Mexicans. Have you ever tasted Ecuadorian food? Ecuador is nestled in between Colombia and Peru so naturally the food incorporates elements of both countries plus their own to create unique flavors.
9212 37th Ave
Jackson Heights,
NY 11372
(718) 205-6900

Last Sunday after playing soccer and kickball with friends (regressing is so much fun), we sorely stumbled to Barzola, an Ecuadorian restaurant recommended by my former roommate Paul who was raised in Ecuador. Being the perfect judge of authenticity, he rated Barzola a 9 out of 10.

The service was shoddy at first, shown by the sheer fact that it took more than an hour to get a glass of water. Thankfully, the manager stepped in excusing our waitress, who was struggling on her first day, and offered the whole table free mojitos and piña coladas on the house. We appreciated the very nice gesture, but the tension had already faded as everyone took their first bite. Overall the food was scrumptious.

Jaquie and I split humitas (corn pie with cheese) and ayacas (shown above). The ayacas were like nothing i've ever tasted before. It’s a tamal made with sweet plantain dough and filled with a variety of ingredients such as beans, peas, and olives. It is very sweet and mouthwatering even though it looks salty. Though sweet, it was properly placed on the appetizer menu. Very Appetizing!

Jaquie ordered the ceviche, which is very typical in Ecuador, especially on the coast. It was a cold mixture of seafood, lime and onion extravaganza. Ecuadorians definitely know how to make a succulent ceviche!
I also tasted a warm ceviche, which was good but did not seem natural. You may want to ask if your ceviche is cold or warm when you order.

I ordered the most typical Ecuadorian plate, seco de gallina. It translates "dry of hen" which I never understood because it's always quite moist and even soupy, for that matter. Some of my most comforting dishes involve some moist chicken drenched with tasty sauce that I could soak up with rice. However, while this was really tasty, the chicken could have been seasoned better and wasn't as moist as I expected. It actually lived up to its literal name, seco.

Paul's brother-in-law ordered a rice plate that resembled Chinese fried rice. He did not recognize it as Ecuadorian and the name escapes me but it was good, and I'm still left wondering how it landed on the menu. If anyone knows the name of this dish, please leave a comment. Curiosity killed the foodie.

Lastly, Paul's father ordered the most interesting dish, a Bandera (Flag). I look forward to someday acquiring a taste for this dish. Bandera has ceviche on top of yellow rice, seco de chivo (dry of goat) and Guatita (tripe stew). His big smile said it all; so if this sounds like your cup of tea, you should definitely try this dish.

Something tells me that Ecuadorian food will be recognized widely in the near future. Get a head start and check out Barzola. If you feel more comfortable venturing into Brooklyn, there's a Barzola in Williamsburg as well.

Barzola on Urbanspoon


  1. The seafood, lime and onion brew looks delicioso!

  2. Dag I'm sorry I missed it!! BTW that Chinese looking dish is named Chaulafan... it's popular in Quito.

  3. LP-
    They are very well known for their Ceviche. This was my favorite thing along with the ayacas.

    Chaulaflan is a result of the Chinese influence in Ecuador... Very Tasty!

  4. everything looks sooooo good! i gotta try some of those food! :)

  5. I beg to differ, all of the plates look like what my 10 month old spits up after a big meal... I just hope they tasted much better than what they look like....

    Keep up the good work though, maybe one day you will make me want to try something new, but definitely NOT Ecuadorian food!

    Nina ;)

  6. Nina Open your mind and step out your little box....its not all about burgers and your preconception of how food is "suppost" to look...Please try a ceviche and then tell if not stay ignorant :}

  7. Hey, there are plenty of picky eaters out there, and they deserve props for continuing to look for new things. Baby steps Nina!! Besides, I know Danny already hit on something that you do want to try... Provoleta!!

    We appreciate everyone's continued support and interaction.


  9. Thank you for the compliments to our food, it is really diverse as our small country is.
    Just note that Barzola specialties are from the coastal area of Ecuador.
    Regarding the Ayacas, it is actually corn flour, not plantain, and they are wrapped in plantain leaves to be cooked (you don't eat the leaves); chaulafán is fried rice, the same as what you get in chinese restaurants; at this point it's as ecuadorian as the ceviche, and you will find it in the menu of most ecuadorian restaurants.
    Ceviche is always cold, what probably you had that was hot is "encebollado" that is fish, yuca (casava), onions and tomatoes, very common in our culture for the day after the hangover, same as the "bandera" that is called that way because it is a colorful combination of dishes, normally seco de chivo (goat stew), guatita (tripe stew with peanut sauce) and any type of ceviche, and of course, rice. Ecuadorians, specially the ones from the coastal area, eat EVERYTHING with rice (this includes spaghetti and mashed potatoes, just to mention what you might find the weirdest).
    thank you and enjoy our food!

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