Not only is Nicaragua known to be the Country of Lakes and Volcanoes, it is also known to serve up some of the most delicious cuisines in Central America.
Tasty Nicaraguan Staple “Gallo Pinto”
Nicaraguan Gallo Pinto - Courtesy of Conchita Foods
In Nicaragua, red beans and white rice are staples to most dishes and never disappoint when it comes to tasting delicioso. The vast majority of Nicaraguans eat this dish almost daily, so much so that it’s considered a national symbol. Gallo Pinto is a mixture of fried rice with onion and sweet pepper, red beans boiled with garlic. They are mixed and fried all together. On the Atlantic coast and Nicaragua’s Caribbean islands, the mixture is fried in coconut oil or with a dash of coconut milk to make it extra creamy.
Indio Viejo - Courtesy of Pinolandia
Indio Viejo, which means Old Indian, is a dish from pre-Columbian times. It’s a thick soup made of maize dough with shredded beef and onion. The “sopa” gets its name from an old legend. The legend goes that a number of famished Spanish conquistadors arrived in a Nicaraguan village and smelled something delicious being cooked. They demanded to know what it was and one of the tribe members answered that it was, “Only an old Indian who died yesterday.” Shocked by this story of “cannibalism,” the Spaniards rode off to raid another village. The tribe laughed as they ate their meal of maize that had been cooking over the fire. Indio Viejo gets its slightly sweet flavor from yerba Buena, bitter orange, and annatto, which gives Indio Viejo its orange-red color. It is traditionally served with tostones (fried green plantains) and cuajada (curd cheese), or boiled plantain.
Baho (Steamed Meat) - Courtesy of Recetas Nicaragüenses
Vaho, baho, or bajo, depending on languages and cultures, is a delicious party dish that’s usually served as a Sunday lunch, although you can find it daily in the markets. It consists of salted, marinated beef brisket, (or veal liver), green plantains and yuca cooked in banana leaves. It is a traditional Nicaraguan dish originated from the mix of cultures between the indigenous, mestizos, and Afro-Nicaraguans of the country. The word “baho” means, “to steam” in Spanish.
Nicaraguan Quesillo - Courtesy of fromnicaragua.com
Nicaraguan Quesillo is basically a corn tortilla with cheese. It’s simple to prepare and is a delicious treat. It consists of a piece or slice of stretchy cheese that is placed inside a tortilla, with pickled onions added. The finishing touch is to put sour cream and a bit of salt on top and wrap in a plastic bag so you don’t lose any of the onions—although you can also have it served on a plate.
Enjoying Nacatamal with Coffee - Courtesy of Diario Metro
This is a traditional Nicaraguan dish that’s similar to a tamale. It is different than Mexican-style tamale as it is larger and the masa has a bit of bitter orange added to it. It is made up of dough, which is prepared with ground corn and butter, then filled with small pieces of pork or chicken, rice, potatoes, sliced tomatoes, onions, and sweet peppers. This mixture is packed in leaves of plantain trees tightened with a small thread, which makes it look like a tiny pillow. It is then cooked inside the leaves and boiled for five hours. Nacatamal is a weekend dish, usually reserved for Saturday dinner or Sundays at mid-morning, and eaten together with fresh bread and café con leche. Yum!
If you’d like to try some of these delicious cuisines first hand, come to Nicaragua for your next vacation and stay with us at Gran Pacifica. Be sure to read our blog “5 Reasons Why You’ll Love Staying at Gran Pacifica Resort” here.
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