I usually try to book our food tours towards the beginning of a trip to get the lay of the land and ideas for future meals, but as Quito was at the tail end of our Galapagos trip, it had to wait until the last night. Unfortunately, my husband was feeling under the weather and so I reached out in the morning to make sure that there were other guests, to make it worth the guide’s time if he was unable to attend. The owner assured me that there was another guest and my husband decided to come, knowing that it was a short Uber ride home if he couldn’t stay for the whole thing.
We met up with Daniella and sadly the other guest scheduled to join us was a no-show. It was quite a walk to the first stop where we had the first of 2 alcoholic beverages, which acted as the bookends of the tour. It was a warm, festive drink at a super cute restaurant, which made for an auspicious beginning but then the long, somewhat uphill walk to the next town and stops got the better of my husband and he went home before getting any food although Daniella did offer to get him something to take home.
I enjoyed the next few stops which included skewers (a bit chewy), chicken gizzards (an acquired taste), and two delicious sorts of empanadas. I didn’t have much of an appetite, and I’m sure that it might’ve been different if more people had been on the tour, but I found this to be a little more of a tasting tour than a filling one. There was never any pressure to eat everything, but if everything wasn’t to your taste, you might not quite get enough to serve as a full meal. I’m sure if I had asked for more of the cheese empanadas, which were my favorite and the most filling, Daniella would’ve happily obliged, but not knowing what was coming next, I didn’t want to fill up on one thing. In retrospect, I wish I’d gotten a few takeaway things for my husband. The last food stop was a kind of food court, where I tried a tripe sample, which had great flavor, but it’s never something I can manage to eat much of, and didn’t really count toward the meal/tour. She gave me the option of trying a thick seasonal drink or a
‘wind empanada,’ and I figured I’d go with the drink since it’s not always available. It was okay, but heavy so I didn’t manage to finish that either. Finally, we ended with a beer where I opted for a smaller glass than what was offered, because I didn’t want to be wasteful and knew I couldn’t finish the double pints it looked like they were serving.
Throughout the tour, I enjoyed talking to Daniella. She was super personable and made it about the culture and food, but also Quito and Ecuador in general. Seeing the street food scene and having someone help me navigate it was great. The only reason that I give this 4 instead of 5 stars is the value. When tours involve stops where space has to be reserved or food preordered, I allow for a slightly higher cost, but as this was relatively inexpensive street food paid for as we went along, and might not even be enough to constitute a whole meal for some (again, I didn’t leave hungry, and I didn’t ask for more, I’m just comparing it to other 50+ food tours I’ve done), the $80pp cost seems a bit high. Would I do another Bondabu tour though? Absolutely.