Food from Ecuador can vary quite widely depending on the region you are in. Food in the coastal regions can be quite different from that which you get in the highlands and food in the lowlands can differ because of the variation in climate.
If you want to save money on your trip then like many of the Andean countries, Ecuador offers a very reasonable Almuerzo meal. If you shop around you could get a three course set meal for as little as $2-3 but be wary that the quality of the food can vary. Your best bet is to scope out the places that are really popular with the locals.
Almuerzo will generally consist of a very similar setup to that which you experience in all the Andean countries. Like in Bolivia and Peru it is very much the main meal of the day. Often it will consist of soup for a starter and carne or fish with rice for the main accompanied by a fruit juice.
If you are particularly keen to trial some of the more traditional cuisine when you travel to Ecuador then you might want to sample the following dishes:
Known locally as cuy this is probably the most talked about food from Ecuador. It was once the staple food of the indigenous peoples and so unsurprisingly it can be found extensively. Guinea pig is actually a dish quite common in the Andean regions when you travel South America and can be quite a tasty dining experience. Just be aware that there is often quite a lot of fighting through the bones to get to the chunks of meat!
Llapingachos is a dish that originated in the central Andean region of Ambato. It is basically fried potato cakes stuffed with cheese. It is often served with carne (meat), fried eggs, avocado and salad.You will generally find this food from Ecuador in the highland areas.
When you saunter up La Ruta del Sol you will find that ceviche seems to be commonplace as it is in many Pacific coastal regions in Latin America. Usually served raw and drizzled with lemon this is a surprisingly delicious dish. But do try to eat it in a reliable looking establishment. If it is left out too long it can go bad very quickly!
The lowland areas of Ecuador are famed for being one of the world's largest producers of fruit and so it is no surprise that there is a really diverse mix available. Bananas are often thought of as being a synonomous food from Ecuador because they are one of the prime producers of the fruit globally. But there are also lots of other fruits native to the country that you might never have come across before. If you walk along the market stalls you will also find weird and wonderful varieties like dragon fruit, soursop and granadilla.