>> Delicias Manabitas | Eat the World NYC

15 December 2017

Delicias Manabitas


Sometimes you just have to follow your instincts. On my way south through Astoria after enjoying a recent Croatia World Cup qualifier, I noticed this small restaurant on 35th Avenue. Despite having a plan for something in Sunnyside, after peeking inside it could not be resisted.

The city, and especially the four non-Manhattan boroughs are full of Ecuadorian restaurants like this, filling storefronts in somewhat fringe areas. Not as ubiquitous as Mexicans and their food, the tri-colored awnings representing Ecuador's flag are not lagging that far, they just don't hold the same accessibility in most people's minds and mainly serve the enormous expat population of their own countrymen and women.

This particular evening was starting to get very cold, so some kind of delicious warming soup was on the brain, but first an humita ($2.50, below) to get things started.

Humitas are made with masa and steamed similar to Mexican tamales, but they also use fresh ground corn as well and let this vegetable provide the tastes rather than adding meat and salsas. Much like their counterparts though, you will see vendors on the streets of Ecuadorian cities selling these beauties, although in recent years the government has been trying to "clean up" and force them to stop.

In coastal areas of Ecuador, the weather may be tropical, but a hearty and very warming fish stew known as encebollado is very popular. This stew is perfect for the winter climate here in New York City, a steaming bowl on your table and the small dusting of snow on the ground outside immediately fades from memory.

The soup is very prominent on the menu here and offered in five different versions. The one above is the encebollado mixto ($13.75), a mixture of fish and shrimp. Besides the seafood, the soup is made of onions (the word encebollado translates to "made with onions"), cassava, and pickled goodies. On top, more onions, cilantro, and tomatoes are sprinkled on to make sure your table does not remain clean.

Traditionally, the soup is enjoyed with a side of chifles, the thinly sliced fried plantains seen in the background.

The operation seems small here, but the menu also includes many different plates. Each item has a distinctly homemade feel to it, and the overall feeling of the place is a simple retreat for homesick Ecuadorians to get those tastes they miss so dearly.

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Delicias Manabitas Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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