From Gallo Pinto to Nacatamales, Discover the Delicious World of Nicaraguan Food
Everyone knows the basics of Mexican and Peruvian food. But what about lesser-known Latin American cuisines, like the food and drink of Nicaragua?
There aren’t many Nicaraguan eateries outside the country itself, after all. So unless you’re nicaragüense—or if you’ve traveled around Central America, or visited on vacation—you probably don’t know what it involves.
Suffice it to say, la cocina nicaragüense is more than rice and beans. It’s plantains, too. (Just kidding.) Read on for an overview of classic Nicaraguan dishes and street snacks.
Desayuno en Nicaragua
Nicaraguan breakfast is pretty much the same everywhere. You’ll get a serving of gallo pinto (rice and beans fried with onion, pepper, and garlic) a fried egg, and a wedge of salty local cheese. True, the cheese is something of an acquired taste: think of it like a condiment that adds flavor to the other items on the breakfast plate.
In some places, you’ll get a fresh tortilla, too. (Breakfast tacos, anyone?) It only complete with a cup or two of coffee, often locally sourced: Nicaragua is one of the big up-and-comers on the international coffee scene.
You’ll see plantains everywhere in Nicaragua. Whether thinly sliced and deep-fried and served in a paper sack in the park, or baked and served alongside stews, chicken, or meat, they’re a staple on the street and in the home kitchen.
Think of it as Nicaragua’s take on the Mexican quesadilla. This popular street food is made with soft cheese, pickled onions, and a dash of vinegar, all rolled up in a thick corn tortilla. A spoonful of cream on top is the finishing touch. A little messy, but qué rico!
Nicaragua’s version of tamales. Nacatamales come stuffed with pork, vegetables, cornmeal, and rice, all wrapped up in—you guessed it!—a big plantain leaf. On Sunday mornings, people sell them straight out of their own kitchens.
You might have watermelon or papaya on the breakfast table, or buy pre-sliced wedges from a street cart. Or you might get your daily fruit serving from the vendors that sell fresh-squeezed juices in little plastic bags with straws.
Either way, don’t miss out on sampling from Nicaragua’s bounty of exotic fruits, including bright-pink guayaba, delicious granadilla (passion flower), and the extremely popular calala (passion fruit).
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