Nicaragua’s cuisine relies heavily on rice and red beans or ‘gallo pinto’ as it is known locally. A Nica breakfast consists of gallo pinto with scrambled eggs and fried plantain with a corn tortilla. Corn is another staple and nacatamales are a popular corn-based dish. Larger than Mexican tamales, nacatamales are cornmeal pockets stuffed with meat, cheese and vegetables, tied in a banana leaf and boiled. When consuming, the banana leaf is untied and thrown away, not eaten.
Vigorón is a well-known dish in Nicaragua and finds its roots in Granada. A plate is covered with plantain leaves and then topped with yuca (cassava), chicharron (fried pork rinds) and salad. Tostones con queso is also a delicious snack and comprises several fritters of fried plantain topped with a cube of fried cheese. For dessert, many Nicaraguans will take to the streets and buy a raspados from a street vendor. This treat consists of shaved ice covered in dulce de leche sauce.
Safe eating while travelling in Nicaragua
As with most developing countries, the quality of the food found throughout the country can vary wildly. Restaurants in tourist areas will usually adhere to strict hygiene standards and restaurants off the beaten track will probably be just fine too but be a little more cautious with meat and fish in places that look a bit run down. Street food is generally fine to eat but if something looks a bit old or is covered in flies then use your common sense and don’t eat it.