Best of Nicaraguan Cuisine

Learn of the best Nicaraguan dishes.  There are great restaurants in Managua that feature some of the best of Nicaraguan food and cuisine.   There is anything from rice and beans (gallo pinto) to quesillos, vigoron and more.   Great Nicaraguan food can be enjoyed at many of Nicaragua’s best restaurants including Cocina de Doña Haydee.

Nicaraguan cuisine is simple and yet very unique at the same time.  Many in the US assume any Latin American food is like Mexican food.  That could not be further from the truth.  Each country has their unique dishes.  On your trip to Nicaragua you are likely to try many new things you have never even heard about before.  You will get the opportunity to try fruits like jocotes, papayas, nancites, pitayas and many more.  You probably will not be afraid to try the fruit.  On the other hand traditional Nicaraguan cuisine you may find a little odd.  For that reason we created a short list of many of the popular Nicaraguan dishes.  Leave a comment telling us which is your favorite Nicaraguan dish.

Nicaraguan Ceviche with Plantain Chips

Arroz a la Valenciana:  This is a rice and chicken dish.  They are prepared separately and then cooked together on a frying pan with butter, onion, carrots and red pepper.  Many times it will come with diced sausage.

Cacao:  Cold chocolate drink made from cacao beans. 

Carne Asada:  Literally translated as grilled meat.  Many times the meat is first marinated overnight in lemon marinade.  Carne asada will usually be served with gallo pinto, cheese, and a cabbage salad.

Ceviche:  You can usually find this dish in any restaurant along the coast.  It is a citrus marinated seafood served with crackers.  It makes for great appetizer choice. 

Gallo Pinto:  This is a Nicaraguan staple for most meals. It is cooking fried rice with red beans, onions, garlic and salsa inglesa (Worcestershire sauce).  Many Nicaraguans will eat gallo pinto 2 or 3 times day.

Indio Viejo:  This a shredded meat dish prepared with vegetables (onions, peppers, tomatoes).  The meat and veggies are then fried together with tortilla dough and juice made from sour oranges.

Nacatamal:  It is Nicaragua’s version of tamal.  It is much larger than ones made in other countries.  It is a dough made with corn flour, and lard.  Mixed in the dough there is onions, garlic, green peppers, and sliced potatoes.  It also comes with a filling that usually includes pork or chicken, rice, tomatoes, garlic, onions, and potatoes.  It is then wrapped with plantain leaves and steamed or pressure cooked for several hours.   The end result is a delicious meal with a unique taste.

Pio Quinto:  A Nicaraguan cake drenched in rum, covered with a custard, topped off with cinnamon and raisins.  It is a popular dessert after a holiday meal.

Plátano Frito:  Fried plantains.  They are usually fried once the fruit is ripe and they are usually served with rice and beans.

Quesillo:   A warm tortilla is wrapped and placed in small, clear plastic bag.  Inside the wrapped tortilla there string cheese, sour cream, onions and salt.  You can either choose to eat the quesillo through the opening in the bag or tie a knot, turn upside down and bite a small hole in the bottom corner.  You can taste more of its flavor that way.

Rondón:  A dish traditionally from the Caribbean town of Bluefields.  It is a meat dish (turtle meat, fish, red meat or pork).  One or a combination of those meats is cooked with peppers, herbs, onions, yucca, bananas and quequisque (related to an arum plant).

Sopa de Mondongo:  It is soup that is from the town of Masatepe.  The soup consists of slow cooked tripe (cleaned cow stomach).  The tripe in the soup is diced and also comes with veggies.

Tajadas con Queso:  This is a dish that includes plantain chips with local Nicaraguan cheese.  Many times it will come with a fried cheese.  It can be served as an appetizer for a meal or served as an entrée with carne asada and a cabbage salad.

Tiste:  A tortilla and cocoa drink.  It is mostly served in restaurants that serve quesillos.

Tres Leches:  This is by far one of the best deserts around, not just Nicaragua.  The literal translation is Three Milks.  It is soggy (extremely moist) yellow cake.  The moistness comes from a mixture of evaporated milk, sweet & condensed milk, sour cream and Nicaraguan rum poured over the cake after it has been baked.  It is then placed inside a refrigerator to cool before serving.

Vigorón:  This meal originates from the city of Granada.  A plate is lined with plantain leaves.  It consists of a cabbage salad with tomatoes, onions and chile.  The cabbage salad is marinated with vinegar dressing.   It has boiled yucca and chicharrones (fried pork).

*Comment below and let us know what you think of the magazine and what you would like to see added.


  1. Christa says:

    Gallo Pinto was my favorite dish, together with frieded eggs – delicious! I love your Homepage – congratulations!

  2. Millie says:

    I like the way quesillo is drescribed. It´s hillarious how it´s said to tie it up and eat it up out of the little hole in the bottom of the bag. It´s true, tastes better that way. Congratulations for your site. It´s a good source of info when needing to tell about our food to foreigners.


  1. [...] of those moist deserts.  If you are unsure what these dishes consist of check out our article Best of Nicaraguan Cuisine.  The article describes what many of these dishes consist [...]

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