As some of our readers know, Al and I just recently went to Nicaragua for ten very hot and extremely windy days. We had a great time, and since food is such a big part of our life, we decided to share with our readers some of the dishes we sampled during our travels.
For five nights we stayed at Casa Cubana; a fabulous boutique hotel in Granada, where we received a yummy breakfast every day. A fruit salad consisting of watermelon, banana, papaya, a little yogurt and granola always started the meal. The main breakfast ranged from banana pancakes to gallo pinto with bacon and eggs.
We tried a number of different restaurants for lunch. One day when we were riding our bikes all over the city we stopped at Garden Cafe, where I had a veggie sandwich with coleslaw, and Al had a turkey sandwich, which looked more like ham. The atmosphere was very nice; the garden courtyard was a perfect way to escape the heat and get away from the “hustle and bustle” of town.
Based on recommendations from others, we also tried a restaurant by the name of Las Colinas, which was a traditional Nica fish restaurant – complete with dirt floor and plastic lawn chairs! Al ordered the Lake Nicaragua Fish and I ordered the Fish Special, which appeared to be the same fish but a smaller catch.
The rest of our meals were identical; white rice, salad, tortillas, homemade salsa and of course…french fries. Needless to say, neither of us were able to finish our entire meal.
We also tried some of the local food from street vendors. Sadly, we neglected to take pictures so you will have to take our word for it.
While strolling through parque central, we decided to share a plate of vigoron, which is a cabbage salad (chopped cabbage, tomatoes, onions, and chili pepper marinated in vinegar and salt), boiled yucca, and chicharrones (fried pork rind pieces), all wrapped in banana/plantain leaf. Another local favorite we ate were quesillos. They are made from a corn tortilla topped with soft cheese, pickled onions and sour cream. The funny thing about quesillos is that they are packaged up into a thin plastic bag. That way when the runny sour cream and cheese falls out of the end you are not eating, the bag will catch the mess. These cream-filled plastic bags reminded us of something else when we were finished with them! Both of these foods were something completely different for both of us and we were really glad we tried them. I can’t say we’d be Jones-ing for another quesillo, but the vigoron was definitely worth another go.
For the second half of our trip we went to San Juan del Sur and stayed at Las Palmas Bed and Breakfast, where once again we were treated to a tasty and plentiful breakfast every morning. There was plenty of fresh fruit, juice and coffee. The owners also want to make sure you try some local cuisine by serving up some tasty Nacatamales. These consist of a base of masa (corn), then are topped with a filling of seasoned pork, rice, a slice of potato, bell peppers, tomato, onion, olives, cilantro and raisins. The masa and filling are then wrapped in a plantain leaf, tied with string, and made into pillow-shaped bundles. They are then steamed for several hours. The entire process is very labour intensive. Our hosts told us that the first time their housekeeper made them a batch it took almost four days for her to complete the entire process. The Nacatamales were also quite filling and once again something very different from our usual fare.
One of our absolute favourite meals in Nicaragua was at El Colibri. We were actually just going to go out for pizza that night since we were both bruised and battered from our day of surfing, but our B&B host recommended we try this place and were we glad that we did. We started off with a jug of sangria…Yummy!
We then both ordered one of their many specials for that day. Al ordered potato gnocchi with gorgonzola cream sauce, while I had a filet mignon with gorgonzola cream sauce. My filet came with the best salad we had during our entire trip along with some roasted potatoes. I asked for my steak medium rare and it was actually served that way!
On the night before we flew home we stayed at the Best Western Las Mercedes in Managua. For dinner we both had the Best Western Hamburgeuesa, an American size burger well worth the price.We drank beer for the majority of our trip, but we saw some others ordering mammoth sized margaritas from the pool bar, so we decided to give them a try and we were glad we did.
Overall we had a great time in Nicaragua and the food was a real change from the every day. We typically eat five to six smaller meals in a day, however, it was quite difficult to do here. And while it’s not impossible to be vegetarian in a country like Nicaragua, it would be quite difficult to be vegan (and make tasty meals). I had more meat and dairy on this ten day trip than I think I’ve had in the past ten months…so I’ll definitely be taking part in the Waterloo Cleanse next month!
Thanks for following us on our food journey through Nicaragua.