From Piñas to Toronto: this family serves up incredible home-style Ecuadorian cooking


Ismaila Alfa: Why is Ecuadorian cuisine a good fit for this warm weather?

Suresh Doss: Okay, imagine the flavour of a tart, refreshing mixto ceviche. You have this bowl of assorted seafood in front of you; fish, plump shrimp, sometimes clams. They're all raw and brightened with acidity from lemon juice and accented with thinly sliced red onions and chillies. Then you have slices of plantain you can spoon the ceviche with. 

This has to be one of the best things you can eat when the weather is warm. 

Ismaila Alfa: Where do you recommend finding great Ecuadorian food?

Suresh Doss: There is a place called Las Fronteras. It's this small restaurant, tucked into the side of a plaza off Finch Ave West that has amazing food - including a great mixto ceviche.

Ismaila Alfa: How did you find this place?

Suresh Doss: I will drive long distances in search of a good empanada, and that's how I found Las Fronteras. I went to try their Ecuadorian empanadas - those are some of my favourites because I lean more towards baked empanadas over fried.

I mean, that's the beauty of the broad category of Latin American cuisine. While there are many similarities, there is also incredible regional variation as you cross from one border to another.

Empanadas are a great example, they have roots in Galicia and Portugal, and were brought to Latin America by colonists, but different local influences mean that, over time, they've developed into different variations.

So when it comes to empanadas, I tend to lean towards the way Ecuadorian empanadas are constructed, the fillings I mean. So, for example, the empanadas de verde con queso - stuffed with cheese and plantain or just a really good beef empanada, or even a queso empanada, where when you bite into it you get this glorious pull of cheese. And you can find all of these at Las Fronteras.