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What’s a Seco? Seco de Pollo, Carne, Chivo in Ecuador

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One of the cultural dishes you’ll find on most menus in Ecuador is the seco. Have you tried it? I’ve tried a few different kinds, and I like them all.

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What’s a Seco? Seco de Pollo, Carne, Chivo…

A seco is a stewed meat dish, usually served with rice, a few pieces of avocado, some fried plantain, maybe some beans, and a small salad. It’s delicious!

There are a number of different kinds of seco: chicken, beef, lamb and cow stomach. A restaurant will usually serve a few different kinds on the same day.

The only kind I haven’t tried is cow stomach. I’m not a fan of cow stomach. And I’m not really sure if it is a true seco, but we’ve been offered it as one.

Translation:

  • Chicken = Seco de pollo
  • Beef = Seco de carne
  • Goat = Seco de chivo
  • Cow Stomach = Seco de guatita
  • Lamb = Seco de borrego or seco de cordero

Seco is usually an inexpensive and filling option. It’s very flavorful and the meat is tender because it’s been stewed.

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We find it funny that this dish is called a seco because in Spanish seco means dry, but the meat is served with the stew sauce. We asked a friend why they are called secos, and she said it’s because they are made with a mix of dry seasonings.

As with most Ecuador food secos are not spicy, which I like because I don’t like spicy hot food. It usually comes with a side of hot sauce, and sometimes some popcorn.

My favorite seco is the lamb meat seco. Where I had it, it was called seco do chivo (which actually means goat) but we were told they made it with lamb. It has a unique flavor, slightly different than the beef.

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Hungry for even more? Check out our huge guide to the best food in Ecuador.

Here is a wonderful-looking recipe (I haven’t tried it yet) for the lamb seco. There are lots of other great Ecuador food recipes on that site as well, enjoy!

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Your Turn

Have you tried this traditional dish? What did you think? Please share by commenting on this post.

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