Baking Soda (Bicarbonato de Sodio)

Baking Soda Ecuadorian Style

Baking Soda Ecuadorian Style

I have heard that Ecuador has no baking soda.  At every supermarket from Quito to Manta to Libratad and Salinas I have looked for that familiar orange box to no avail.  I read somewhere that you needed to get it at the pharmacy so today I stopped at our local Cruz Azul and asked for Bicarbonato. He brought out these tiny packets, 15 gramos to be exact at a cost of .45 cents each.  I asked for 10 went home and added two packets to both the freezer and the refrigerator.  Now I can make some cookies that require baking soda.

21 thoughts on “Baking Soda (Bicarbonato de Sodio)

  1. Pat Creasey commented on your post: (from Facebook)

    “glad to know that, I want to make up my own bisquick, cake mix and self-rising flour. I did bring back a couple of the orange boxes, would have shared, but glad to know how to get it.”

  2. Pingback: Morning Update – Monday, August 2, 2010 « South of Zero

  3. Grr. I just went to the pharmacy but forgot how to say it in spanish and was telling him something like “de hornear” but he didn’t get it. I’m going to go back and ask for bicarbonato. Please have it! I want to make cookies! Thanks for the info!

    • Hey Wendy
      The hornear you are talking about is Baking Powder – you can find this in almost any supermarket, the popular brand is Royal – Polvo Para Hornear — it’s in a white plastic container with a red lid and red label. The Baking Soda is called Bicarbonato de Sodio and that comes from the pharmacy (if they are out let me know as I have several packets). Have you seen food coloring in your travels around — I have looked in both Super Maxi and Hipermarket and there is none –I may ask my friend from the states to send me a box.

  4. my husband (native quiteño) said that they can’t sell it without permission, because they use it to do something for cocaine. ? this seems insane to me. i asked him to try to get some for me, we’ll see what happens.

  5. I found out about this today, thay its prohibited to buy more than an ounce (1 onza) of bicarbonato de sodio in pharmacys at each time, they gave me the same reason that they stop selling larger quantities because it can be used for making cocaine, this is complete BS… the big coorporative pharmaceutical industries probably prohibited because its an effective and cheap cure for a lot of things, there’s even doctors saying it can cure cancer (hongo – fungus),
    its ridiculous, how in the united states still sell arm n hammer bak…soda and here be prohibited to get it off the shelves.

    Wake up people!!

    I was born here and this really surprises me, this is something I didnt spect living in Quito

    • Hi David,
      I have purchased up to 10 packets at a time in the pharmacy in Salinas of course that is $4.50 which I find outrageous for baking soda. I have been told by many folks that you can find a box of it on the shelves with the cleaning supplies in the big supermarkets. Again, yesterday while in Hippermart I looked in the cleaning section and found none.
      Thanks for your comment, have a great day, Nancy & Joe

  6. Thanks for posting this! A group of ESL teachers and I were just talking about how much we missed making biscuits and gravy. We were at a loss for how to explain these to a British friend until we found this page. Now we can make some!

    • Hi Kelsey, It is a pain to buy itty bitty amounts in the pharmacy and so expensive at .45 for these little amounts. I have been told by others that you can find baking soda in the cleaning section of the supermarkets like SuperMaxi or Hippermart but all the times I had looked they did not have any unless it is some strange name beside bicarbonato-de-sodio. Our friends that live in Las Tunas just brought me a box as they had a few. Yesterday I found boric acid -it was with the cleaning supplies in Super Tia and is called El Secreto de la Abuelita – not sure if you use boric acid… thanks for your comment and have a great day, Nancy

  7. Thank you Nancy! My boyfriend needed some for his biology lab (he’s a high school bio teacher here in Quito) and we spent forever searching for it in Megamaxi to no avail. He ended up substituting baking powder instead. But now I need some for a biscuit recipe. I’m going to search for it in the cleaning section at Mega next time I’m there but if that doesn’t work I’m glad to know I can get a couple packets at the farmacia! I’ll report back if I find it in the cleaning section at Mega…

    • HI Liz, I hope you find it, at .45 cents for less than a teaspoon it gets expensive buying in the pharmacy. I actually have a good friend who brought me two boxes of Arm & Hammer last summer. Thanks for following our adventure. N

  8. And, I thought I was the only one not finding it….. ;)
    I even made a video about it – but we did find it in Quito (the maid brought these packets to me) and not quite as expensive as you are paying, but nearly!

    I only recently moved here and even thought about bringing some baking soda (I use it for brushing my teeth, cleaning as well as baking), but thought it too heavy to bring – didn’t know we could ‘black market’ sell it for more than the plane ticket! ;)

    I’ll bookmark your blog here – seems a good reference for those moving to Ecuador.

    • Hey Steve, Very cute video thanks for sharing. I had a friend bring me two boxes of his last trip to EC and I am very protective of it. I have shared small quantities with friends for their baking. I have heard that you can find it at the bigger stores in the cleaning section but I have looked and have had no luck both here and in Guayaquil. I guess when the Expats find it they buy it all. Thanks for your comment. Nancy

        • Hi Steve, that is a very exciting find. Joe and I did pass a chemical store in Portoviejo by the cathedral but there were several folks waiting in line and we were on mission for something else. I did see that they sold boric acid and borax. Our next trip I will take more time and see what other goodies they have for sale. Thanks for the heads up, I hope my readers go to your blog to find out where in Quito you made your find, Thanks, N

    • Hi Larry, No, I have had several folks bring me boxes of the stuff because we cannot buy it here. Then I share it with other expats that don’t have any…Bring a few extra and if you are up in our area I will barter a jar of mango jam for a box of it…ha ha Be well, Nancy

  9. Hi Nancy,
    I just came accross your blog and the comments about baking soda. I’ve been trying to find it in “normal” quantities forever. So I was really excited to see that Steve found some, but his blog doesn’t seem to be active anymore – could you tell me where it was that he found the baking soda? Thanks!!!

    • Maja, thanks for following the blog. I have never found it anywhere here in Ecuador except for those itty bitty packets in the pharmacy that cost an arm and leg. I seem to get a box every now and then as a gift when someone has gone back to the states. At one time someone on one of the forums said you could find it in the cleaning section of the supermarket but I have looked and looked and have never found it. Sorry I could not be much help. Nancy

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