A Short Guide to Common Nicaraguan Foods

I thought I'd share few details about the food we've enjoyed while we're here in Nicaragua (recall, Laura and I are here with a team of eyecare professionals giving free eye exams in several villages here in the country).

First, the food is really good here. Really good. Simple, straightforward, unpretentious and delicious. We've had gallo pinto (simple beans and rice) with nearly every meal, whether morning, noon or night, and we've really grown used to this wonderful comfort food. I have to find out a way to copy the special way they make it here.

Another common food here is vigaron: cabbage salad. It's thinly sliced cabbage in a light vinegar sauce that's found alongside nearly every meal. Nicaraguans consider it like a side salad. Again, it's basic, unpretentious and really good.

Also, queso frito or fried cheese. They have a simple white cheese here that is salty and firm. When fried, this cheese doesn't melt--it gets just a bit crispy on the outside. It's a common appetizer or side dish here and it's utterly delicious. One of the best meals we had during our entire trip was a simple platter of queso frito, fried plantains and a side of gallo pinto--along with a Toña, one of Nicaragua's national beers:

Finally, a delicious fish we've had the pleasure of having here: guapote. It's a mild white fish, typically grilled and served up whole. It's kind of a beastly looking fish that looks like it belongs in the Jurassic era, but it's easy to eat, not too bony, and well worth ordering.

Guapote con salsa tomate, arroz (rice), tostones (fried plantains) y vigaron:

Guapote, detail:

We didn't come to Nicaragua for the food, but we've been really surprised and happy with everything we've eaten on this trip. And we've been overwhelmed with all of the people we've met and the things we've seen here. This is a friendly and inexpensive country that is patient with tourists. It's almost as if they've seen enough tourists to appreciate them, but not too many to get sick of them or try to take advantage of them.

If you're considering a visit to Nicaragua, both Laura and I would highly encourage it, and if you want to ask any questions, feel free to reach us via email or by leaving a comment below.

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FIONA said...

I'm glad your trip is going well.

The good food is such a bonus--and sounds so healthy and fresh.

Daniel said...

Thanks Fiona--nothing like good comfort food. No matter where in the world you go, you can find it.


Melissa said...

Definitely can't wait to see the fish. And I had to smile at the rice and beans thing - my neighbor went to Nicaragua's neighbor Costa Rica a few months ago and remarked upon her return that she ate rice and beans at every single meal and was totally burned out on them when she got back. Sounds like you guys like them more than she does. ;)

Safe travels back for you and Laura. It's wonderful that you guys went!

Liz Tee said...

Here's a link to a version of gallo pinto I settled on after my first trip to Costa Rica. It's dependent on Salza Lizano, but I hear worcestershire can be subbed.


Thanks for reminding me - it's been awhile since I made it. Guess what's for dinner tonight?

Also, if you come up with a recipe for the vigaron, I'd love to see it.

Daniel said...

Melissa, I don't think I could ever get sick of rice and beans. I'm simple like that. :)

Liz, thanks for sharing! I'll see what I can do about a recipe for vigaron.


. said...

Hi Daniel, this was a great post for me. I've traveled through Nicaragua and was actually born in Costa Rica. I could live on gallo pinto and be content for the rest of my days. Too bad my husband gets burned out -- he was born in New York and finds repeat foods challenging.
I'm in CR and can send you Salsa Lizano on my return if you want to try it!

Daniel said...

Hi Priscilla, thanks for sharing. And YES I'd love your recipe for Salsa Lizano--you can find my email on my profile page, or you can leave another comment on this post, whichever is easier. I hope you are enjoying yourself in Costa Rica!