One of the pleasures of visiting a foreign country is the food: new and exciting aromas, ingredients that you’ve never even heard of, or maybe strange combinations that you wouldn’t have thought appetizing. A new cuisine is always part of the experience of traveling, and it can tell you just as much about a culture as a visit to a museum. The beauty and richness of Nicaragua is definitely reflected in its dishes, and one thing that no tourist should miss on a trip to this country is the street food. So for the sake of your taste-buds, here’s a short guide to street food in Nicaragua.
One of the most often see dishes on the street is vigoron, a dish that originated from Granada. Vigoron consists of boiled yucca roots topped with chicharrones (fried pork rinds, meat and skin), wrapped in plantain and topped with a mixture of chopped cabbage, tomatoes, onions, and chile marinated in vinegar and salt. Vigoron is traditionally eaten with the fingers even if you have it at home, so it’s a perfect street food, and it’s very filling too!
Gallo Pinto is probably the most widespread dish in Nicaragua, and it is easy to find at street vendors. This is a very simple yet delicious meal, made of rice and beans cooked together. Gallo Pinto can be eaten as a side to any sort of dish, any time of the day. The servings you get on the street are usually big enough for two people, or one very hungry tourist.
Plantains are used as an ingredient in many Nicaraguan dishes, but oftentimes they are eaten on their own. Tostones are slices of unripe plantain fried in oil until they are golden, and then pounded flat with a special instrument, after which they are fried again to a brown color. The resulting chips can be eaten with salt, or dipped in a delicious garlic sauce.
Vaho is the delicious end product of the mingling between indigenous, afro-Nicaraguan, mestizo and Spanish cuisines. Vaho is made of piece of meat, green plantain and yucca root, wrapped in plantain leaves and then cooked. The steaming mixture is then topped with cabbage and tomato salad with vinegar and lemon juice.
This soup/stew found at many stalls, especially on Sundays, is a treat for meat lovers. It contains cubes of beef tripe and knuckles, cooked slowly with yucca root and bell peppers, onions, carrots, cabbage, celery, tomatoes and whatever other vegetables the street vendor has. A serving of this hearty stew will keep you full for a long time.