In Nicaragua you will experience a mixture of Creole style food and pre-Columbian dishes. Rice and beans are the country’s staple diet. The tropical climate also provides a myriad of fruits, including mango, papaya, banana, passion fruit, and pineapple.

Customs around eating

Nicaraguans prepare their food from scratch, so preparation can be lengthy. Lunch, the largest meal of the day. Meals in Nicaraguan homes are generally informal in setting. Among the Central American countries, Nicaragua is known for its wide variety of natural beverages made from cacao, bananas, passion fruit, papaya, oatmeal, corn and many other ingredients.

Common dishes

Gallopinto – Nicaragua’s national dish consists of rice and red beans. Gallopinto, which translates into “spotted rooster,” earns its name from the specked appearance the rice acquires when combined with the beans. On the Caribbean coast, coconut or grated coconut is added to form a variation of the dish.

Nacatamal – A Nicaraguan tamale is much larger than the typical tamale of other Central American countries. The dough is made from corn meal and milk mixed with ground potatoes, green peppers and onions, while the filling consists of pork or chicken, tomatoes and rice. After being assembled, it is wrapped in plantain leaves and steamed. Two or three very small hot chili peppers are often mixed in with the other ingredients; you’ll want to keep an eye out for them.

Pinolillo – Ground, toasted corn and a measure of cacao are used to make this traditional drink. Served with water or milk, sweetened or unsweetened, the beverage generally has a gritty texture. Pinolillo is found exclusively in Nicaragua, and for that reason Nicaraguans are commonly called “Pinoleros.”