Lunch And Dinner

Nicaraguan Cuisine: For Your Foodie Clients or Anyone in Between

Nicaragua’s iconic dishes, such as gallo pinto or the macua drink, are a must for your clients to sample when visiting the destination. But what many don’t realize is that the cuisine of Nicaragua is quite broad, varying from region to region in the country but delicious throughout.

Nicaraguan cuisine reflects a mix of the country’s history, combining influences from its indigenous people, Creole cuisine, and Spanish influences from early colonial settlers. On the Caribbean coast of Nicaragua and the Corn Islands, for instance, visitors will find regional specialties highlighting fresh seafood or coconut – coconut bread is a specialty in the Corn Islands or rondon, a fish and coconut stew.

Elsewhere throughout Nicaragua travelers can enjoy juicy, grass-feed beef in dishes such as churrasco.

In addition, Nicaragua’s diverse climate conditions produce a wide range of fruits and vegetables unique to the region. While in Nicaragua, your clients can sample exotic produce they may have never tried before, such as sapote, a fruit with red or orange pulp that is very soft and sweet; jocote, a small fruit with juicy and acidic flesh that can be eaten fresh (ripe or unripe), squeezed for juice or preserved; and or culantro, a pungent herb similar to cilantro.

After hiking volcanoes, boating on Lake Nicaragua, or simply relaxing on a pristine beach, your clients will likely have worked up an appetite. Nicaragua’s cuisine will shine, with both modern and organic culinary offerings as well as traditional Nicaraguan culinary specialties such as the following:

Pork rinds with yucca and coleslaw, served on a banana leaf

Vigorón – This Nicaraguan specialty can be found in most restaurants but also on the carts of street vendors in Granada, Masaya and elsewhere. The dish consists of chicharrones (fried pork rinds), curtido (a cabbage salad similar to coleslaw) and boiled yucca. Every Nicaraguan grandmother seems to have her own special recipe.

Red beans and rice
Red beans and rice, generously doused in oil and salt

Gallo pinto – Gallo pinto means “spotted rooster” in Spanish and refers to the speckled look of the dish, which is a mix of rice and red beans. Gallo pinto is a common breakfast dish enjoyed with eggs and fresh Nicaraguan cheese.

Rondón – A hearty soup from Bluefields on Nicaragua’s Caribbean Coast, rondón is traditionally made with a combination of meats, pepper, onion, yucca, green banana and coconut milk. It’s best enjoyed with fruta de pan (fruit bread) or pan de coco (coconut bread) to soak up the juices.

Meat-filled corn tamal, wrapped and boiled in banana leaves
Meat-filled corn tamal, wrapped and boiled in banana leaves

Nacatamales – Similar to a tamale but with a denser corn masa, the Nicaraguan nacatamale is filled with meats or vegetables and wrapped in plantain leaves. You’ll find them on street carts on Saturdays and Sundays.


Quesillos – A snack often sold by roadside vendors, quesillos are made of thick corn tortillas with soft cheese, pickled onions and topped with sour cream sauce.

Pinolillo (or pinol)
Pinolillo (or pinol)

Pinolillo (or pinol) – A sweet cornmeal and cacao-based traditional drink made of ground toasted corn. It can be mixed with water or milk, and served sweetened or unsweetened.