It’s time to discover the food of Nicaragua – are you ready?
Nicaragua is the largest country in Central America, and it’s primarily made up of rainforest. That means that the country produces a ton of fruits, vegetables, and other delicious goods – Nicaragua heavily relies on agriculture for income. They’re huge importers of coffee, sugarcane, and bananas.
Though it has a very similar culture and cuisine to other countries in Central America, Nicaragua is very unique. The culture is made up of European (mostly Spanish), Caribbean, Latin American, and African influence. The cuisine, as a result, is a combination of these cultures – dishes are primarily of Creole and pre-Columbian origin.
The geography of Nicaragua also affects the cuisine. While throughout the country rice, beans, and corn (especially corn!) are considered to be staples, and fruits and vegetables are used liberally (hello! It’s a tropical country!), the cuisine changes from coast to coast. On the Pacific coast, more corn and fruit-based dishes are consumed, while on the Caribbean coast, more coconut and seafood-based dishes are consumed.
Some popular ingredients in Nicaragua include: corn, rice, beans, mango, papaya, banana, yucca, cilantro, coconut (and it’s products like oil and milk), oregano, pickled onions, cheese, and chilli peppers. Due to economic difficulties, Nicaraguans also eat many other things that many may consider to be a bit shocking, such as: cow belly, guinea pigs, lizards, snakes, turtles (and their eggs), and tapirs.
Gallo pinto, Nicaragua’s national dish, doesn’t have any of those ingredients – it’s actually quite simple to make (and even simpler to eat!). Click here for a recipe.
On Wednesday we’ll be making a Nicaraguan dish – have you ever been to Nicaragua? If so, do you have a favourite dish? Let me know!