Nicaragua is known for its delicious, fresh, and savory traditional dishes. You don’t have to dine at a high-end restaurant to enjoy these Nicaraguan delights. You can find them served in local markets, street kiosks, and hole-in-the-wall eateries.
Here are just a few of the top cuisines found and enjoyed everyday in Nicaragua.
The name gallo pinto translates to “painted rooster”. It is made up of red beans, white rice, and diced onions that are fried together in a large skillet with some of the water the beans were boiled in to give the mixture its reddish hue. 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. Gallo Pinto is a Nicaraguan staple and Nicaraguans joke that the country runs on “gallo pinto power.”
Gallo Pinto is also served up in the traditional Nicaraguan breakfast - Desayuno Tipico, which means “typical breakfast”. This fresh, delicious, and very filling breakfast includes fried or scrambled eggs cooked with onions and bell peppers, fried plantains, a few bits of fried or fresh cheese, a homemade corn tortilla, pico de gallo, salsa, and sour cream. Bacon or blood sausage may also be served. Wash it all down with freshly squeezed juice and a superb cup of Nicaraguan coffee. Ahhh. If you are coming for a visit to Gran Pacifica, you won’t want to miss out on the Desayuno Tipico served at SeaSalt Restaurante, it’s delicious.
Known as the signature dish of Granada, Vigoron, was created in 1914 by a street vendor fondly known as “La Loca” (The Crazy Woman). It is made of boiled yucca, pork rinds, vinegary cabbage slaw, and spicy chili, and is served on “nea”, a soft leaf harvested in the nearby town of Malacatoya. The reason it is loved by so many is it contains a perfect balance of flavors and textures and you can easily eat it with your fingers. While you can find vigoron anywhere, word on the streets is you should eat it in Granada since no one makes it like they do.
Quesillos are cheesy treats that street vendors sell all over the country. They are made of a homemade tortilla wrapped around homemade white cheese that is drenched in curtido (finely chopped pickled onion) and a generous dollop of crema (cream). They are served in two ways - either wrapped up in a plastic bag so you can eat them without making a mess, or flat on a plate. If you want to follow tradition, add a flavorful dash of homemade chili sauce before you indulge, and follow your quesillo with a chocolate and maize beverage called “tiste”, which is served in a gourd cup.
Rondón is a classic Creole dish on the Atlantic Coast of Nicaragua. The fact that it is easily prepared in a single pot is why busy fishermen helped to make it into the iconic dish for the entire region. Fish, shrimp, lobster, or any other seafood are added to the pot with vegetables like yucca, potatoes, carrots, bell peppers, chili peppers, and plantains. It is cooked in a fish stock sweetened with coconut milk, which creates a savory and succulent stew. Rondón can also be made with beef, pork, or turtle meat, but the creamy coconut fish stock tastes best with seafood.
If you would like to try some of the traditional Nicaraguan cuisines in person, why not plan your next vacation to Nicaragua? We have several Discover Nicaragua Tours on our agenda in 2018 and 2019. Click here for more information.
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