A common Nicaraguan meal that you will find throughout the country often includes a meat portion such as chicken or pork, deep-fried plantains (platanos), rice and beans (gallo pinto) and a cabbage salad. Many people may find that Nicaraguan food is very oily. However, do not let it scare you off from trying some of their delicious and unique traditional dishes.

a typical Nicaraguan meal of plantains and beans and rice

These food notes from Nicaragua were made during a week-long trip to the country in March 2005. These are just our food experiences and you may have a totally different experience depending on your budget, where you travel and where you eat.


Gallo Pinto – a traditional and typical dish (also a common dish in Costa Rica – link to Costa Rico food page). It is composed of a mixture of fried rice with onion and sweet pepper, red beans boiled with garlic. The ingredients are mixed and fried all together.

Market Food in Nicaragua
Freshly cooked street food

Platanos – a green banana served in many different ways as an accompaniment to a meal or on its own. Similar to a potato, you can thinly fry them, thickly fry them, boil them or mash them.

Typical Nicaraguan meal
typical meal

Picante – a tasty tomato chili salsa used as a sauce with many meals.

Quesillo – another traditional Nicaraguan food, originally from the regions of La Paz Centro and Nagarote. It is a tortilla with cheese, a dash of salt, pickled onions, cream and rolled up for take-away.

Transport Snack
I think it is food on offer on the bus

Sweet ice drink – shaved ice with fruit syrup poured on top, served in a plastic cup with a spoon or in a plastic bag which you can bite the corner off and suck. Refreshing for a hot day, but very sweet like many Nicaraguan drinks.

Ice Drink
This cold drink did not last long

La Victoria Beer – Nicaragua is not known for quality beer, but the weather is just right to enjoy a crisp larger.

La Victoria Nicaraguan Beer
Feeling homesick with a beer with the name of my home state

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