Our Man Sietsema went hunting, with calvin Trillin, for an Ecuadorian Easter soup called fanesca, and eventually found it in Sunnyside at Guagua Pichincha. Fanesca is a bean bonanza with a salt cod stock.
The room was filled with snowy-haired ladies and gentlemen, some in wheelchairs, all slurping the Lenten soup ($10). My bowl of it brimmed with brown broth, and a split boiled egg floated on top, heaped with chopped cilantro. As I dredged in the complex and incredibly toothsome stew, I inventoried the ingredients: medium red beans and smaller pink ones, corn kernels of two sizes, green peas, giant fava beans with a black stripe along one edge, pine nuts, and potato-like tubers called mollocos, the size of a baby’s little finger. “The Ecuadorans have a very broad definition of bean,” Trillin had noted.
I thought I saw the face of Jesus on one of the tiny mollocos. But rather than scare the other customers, I shut up and swallowed it.
The soup is only served on Lenten Fridays, but don’t worry, Our man also enjoyed his encebollado mixto, some llapingachos, and a bandera equitoriana, which came with “a side of tart and soupy shrimp ceviche.”
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