Nicaragua’s culinary history is as rich as the country’s itself, dating all the way back to pre columbian times. Their was transformed by colonization and is a delightful fusion of Nicaraguan and Spanish flavors unlike anything else in the world. This unique marriage of the two cultures’ ingredients and spices is known in Spanish as “criollio.”
Here are a few plates you have to try.
Sopa de Mondongo
This soup—popular in the region of Masaya—is made from the slow-cooked intestines of a cow, but don’t be alarmed. It’s actually quite delicious! Plus, according to Nicaraguan folklore, it has healing powers.
To prepare this soups, intestines are soaked in bicarbonate, orange and lemon then cut into small pieces and cooked with vegetables. The vegetables and spices used vary from region to region. The soup is thickened with ground rice and often served with avocado and tortillas.
Nacatamals are essentially the Nicaraguan version of mexican tamales. They are made from dough prepared with a special type of corn flour known as “masas de harina”—which can be found in Nicaraguan markets—and butter. The dough is stuffed full of sliced chicken, rice, tomatoes, potatoes, peppers and onions then wrapped in plantain leaves. The whole thing is then tied shut and boiled for several hours until it reaches toasty perfection.
More cheese please! If Nacatamals are the Nicaraguan version of tamales, then quesillos are the Nicaraguan version of grilled cheese. And oh boy are they ever delicious! The main two ingredients in a quesillo are warm corn tortillas and cheese. The cheese is layered on top of the tortilla then topped with onions, vinegar, and sour cream. You can find these scrumptious bites at stands all over the country. They are especially popular in Leon.