The country of Nicaragua is a cultural hub in Central America, and there is no end to the historical landmarks, musical performances and rich heritage that the nation has to offer. However, it would be a mistake to forget about the culinary richness of Nicaragua.
A wonderful combination of international eateries and traditional fare means that Nicaragua is a mecca for foodies. Get to know some of the best dishes that no trip to Nicaragua would be complete without.
Gallo Pinto: The People's Breakfast
If you're looking for a traditional way to start the day, try out Gallo Pinto, one of the most common breakfast dishes available in both Nicaragua and Costa Rica.
The name Gallo Pinto translates to spotted rooster in Spanish, which represents the spotted color of the dish that is made up of rice and either red or black beans.
If you'd rather have a quick breakfast on-the-go while you travel, try an empanada filled with Gallo Pinto as a handheld delight.
Nacatamal: A Corn Staple
Arguably the most common ingredient used in Nicaraguan cuisine is corn, and Nacatamal is a clear example of such. A Nacatamal is similar to the tamale, and it consists of a corn dough and a meat or vegetable filling. Making Nacatamal is a labor-intensive process typically reserved for Sundays, and they are enjoyed as a family meal.
Ceviche: The Freshest Seafood Imaginable
One of the perks of living in or visiting Nicaragua is having affordable and fresh seafood available to you year-round. One of the most common seafood dishes in Nicaragua is ceviche, which contains all types of seafood like crab, fish and shrimp.
Rather than cooking the fresh seafood, it is cured in a mixture of lime juice, onions and salt. The acidity breaks down the proteins and almost cooks the fish, creating a unique and magnificent dish that seafood lovers will adore.
GÃ¼irila: The Perfect Snack
A staple of Nicaraguan cuisine is the GÃ¼irila, or tortilla made from young white corn. They are thicker than most tortillas and are cooked on a hot press with banana leaves to prevent them from sticking.
Look for them as a side dish in restaurants or grab them hot from a street vendor, where they are typically sold topped with local crumbled cheese for a filling snack.
Arroz a la Valenciana: A Delightful Dinner
If you're hungry for a hearty and delicious meal, then look for the dish Arroz a la Valenciana on the menu of your nearest restaurant in Nicaragua. Similar to the dish paella, which is found in Spain, Arroz a la Valenciana is made with rice, chicken, sausage, tomatoes, onions and bell peppers. All of the ingredients are slow-cooked and then fried together in a delicious mix of butter, beer or wine.
Pio Quinto: Sweet and Luxurious Dessert
If you're in Nicaragua around Christmas, don't miss the chance to try Pio Quinto, a traditional holiday cake that is soaked in local rum. Topped with cinnamon and custard, this cake is a heavenly finish to any meal.
The cuisine in Nicaragua is influenced by criollo food, the locally available ingredients and colonial cultures, and the result in a foodie's dream come true.