5 Nicaraguan Foods You Have to Try

You can’t VISIT NICARAGUA without trying these local favorites. Cheap and delicious, these traditional Nicaraguan dishes are a treat for any palate.


Gallo Pinto


Gallo Pinto. Every latin country has their version of rice and beans, and this is Nicaragua’s. The red beans are cooked with onions, garlic and spices and mixed with white rice. This is the lifeblood of most Nicas and makes up a part of breakfast, lunch and dinner.







Vigorón. Often served on a banana leaf, this classic Nicaraguan street food is perfect for filling your belly without emptying your pockets. Crispy chicharrón, fried pork skin, is piled on a bed of boiled yuca and topped with a tangy vinegar cabbage salad.






Nacatamal. I am not the biggest tamale fan – I think they can get a bit dry – but, this Nica take on the tamale has won me over. Corn meal, tender pork, vegetables, rice and spices are bundled up in a banana leaf and steamed for hours. The abundance of ingredients keeps everything moist and delicious. For some unknown reason, it’s usually served with a slice of bread or tortilla as if the nacatamal itself wasn’t a meal and a half.



Indio Viejo


Indio Viejo. This dish is not as easy to find as the others, but if you see it on a menu, order it. This delicious slow-cooked stew is made of chicken, corn flour, onions, garlic, herbs and sour oranges. When the flavors come together, the result is one of the best dishes in the country.





Quesillo. If you’re looking for a quick snack, then quesillo is the perfect treat. This simple street food is sold at stalls in every city, town and village across the country. Quesillo cheese, a local cheese with a mozzarella-like texture and tangy bite, is wrapped in a corn tortilla and placed in a plastic bag. The tortilla, and subsequently the bag, is filled with pickled onion and cream for a cost of less than a dollar. Amazingly tasty, quesillo is also ridiculously messy, so make sure to grab an extra napkin or ten.



Honorable Mention:




Cebollita. This condiment should be generously poured on ALL of the previously mentioned foods. You won’t find a comedor (local eatery) in the country that doesn’t have a jar filled with this spicy pickled onion mix on every table. The bite of the onions, the spice of fresh chilies and the tanginess of the vinegar balance each other out and make the perfect topping for any Nica food, or hamburger, or hot dog, or anything else really.


What are your favorite Nicaraguan foods?


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