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Nicaraguan cuisine

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Vigorón, a traditional Nicaraguan dish
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Nicaraguan cuisine includes a mixture of Mesoamerican, Chibcha, Spanish, Caribbean, and African cuisine. Despite the blending and incorporation of pre-Columbian, Spanish and African influences, traditional cuisine differs from the western half of Nicaragua to the eastern half. Western Nicaraguan cuisine revolves around the Mesoamerican diet of the Chorotega and Nicarao people such as maize, tomatoes, avocados, turkey, squash, beans, chili, and chocolate, in addition to potatoes which were cultivated by the Chibcha people originating from South America and introduced meats like pork and chicken.[1][2][3][4][5] Eastern Nicaraguan cuisine consists mostly of seafood and coconut.


Main staples[edit]

Corn is a staple food in Nicaragua

As in many other Latin American countries, corn is a staple. It is used in many widely consumed dishes such as nacatamal and indio viejo. Corn is not only used in food; it is also an ingredient for drinks such as pinolillo and chicha as well as in sweets and desserts. Other staples are rice and beans. Rice is eaten when corn is not, and beans are consumed as a cheap protein by the majority of Nicaraguans. It is common for rice and beans to be eaten as a breakfast dish. There are many meals including these two staples; one popular dish, gallo pinto, is often served as lunch, sometimes with eggs. Nicaraguans do not limit their diet solely to corn, rice, and beans. Many Nicaraguans have small gardens of their own full of vegetables and sometimes incorporate flowers into their meals.[citation needed]

Commonly used ingredients are peanuts, cabbage (shredded in vinegar, this is called "ensalada" and used as a side dish, sometimes with carrots and beets added), carrots, beets, butternut squash, plantains, bananas, fresh ginger, onion, potato, peppers, jocote, grosella, mimbro, mango, papaya, tamarind, pipian, apples, avocado, yuca, and quequisque. Herbs such as cilantro, oregano, and achiote are also used in cooking.[6]

Typical Nicaraguan dishes[edit]

Gallo pinto
Arroz a la valenciana


Refrescos (drinks)[edit]

Chicha morada served with pipeño

Nicaraguan cuisine makes use of fruits, some of which are only grown in that particular region due to their location. Many fruits are made into drinks known as frescos, the Nicaraguan name for what are called "aguas frescas" in other Latin American countries. Common flavors include melon, tamarind, papaya, guayaba, guanábana, coconut, pineapple, and pitahaya. Pinolillo is very popular among Nicaraguans, as many times they refer to themselves as pinoleros, which means "pinolillo drinkers".[7] Many drinks are also made from grains and seeds, mixed with milk, water, sugar and ice.[8]

Alcoholic beverages[edit]

Rums, such as Flor de Caña and Ron Plata (both produced by Compañía Licorera de Nicaragua, S.A (CLNSA)), are both a popularly consumed beverage in Nicaragua and a crucial export product.[9][10]

Popular rum-based cocktails include the "Nica libre," a regional re-naming of the Cuba libre (itself a variation of rum and coke), and the "Macuá" (containing orange, guava, and lime juices).[11] The "Macúa" originated in 2006, when it won a Flor de Caña-sponsored competition to determine a marketable national cocktail representing Nicaragua, and was created by a pediatrician from Granada.[12][13]

Beer is also a common alcoholic beverage consumed in Nicaragua. Popular brands include Toña and Victoria, two former competitors both now produced by Compañía Cervecera de Nicaragua, as of a 1996 merger.[attribution needed]

Other drinks[edit]

Postres (desserts)[edit]

Tres leches cake

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Fowler, 1989
  2. ^ "Chocolate in Mesoamerica A Cultural History of Cacao" (PDF).
  3. ^ "Costa Rican Archaeology and Mesoamerica" (PDF).
  4. ^ Bergmann, John F. (1969). "The Distribution of Cacao Cultivation in Pre-Columbian America". Annals of the Association of American Geographers. 59 (1): 85–96. doi:10.1111/j.1467-8306.1969.tb00659.x. JSTOR 2569524.
  5. ^ "Bringing Home the Flavors of Nicaragua: A Provisional Guide to Great Nicaraguan Cuisine".
  6. ^ "Try the culinary delights of Nicaragua cuisine". Nicaragua.com. Retrieved 2006-05-08.
  7. ^ "El pinolero y su canción de sangre y esperanza | Maradona | Derechos Humanos. Órgano Informativo de la Comisión de Derechos Humanos del Estado de México" (PDF). Juridicas.unam.mx.
  8. ^ Ellis, Stefanie. "Fritanga: Welcome to Nicaragua". STLToday. Archived from the original on 2007-11-22. Retrieved 2007-06-07.
  9. ^ Dara, Jillian (16 October 2019). "Drink Like a Local: Fair Trade Rum from Nicaragua". MICHELIN Guide. Retrieved 2022-09-07.
  10. ^ Webber, Jude (2015-06-26). "Nicaragua's Flor de Caña rum pays healthy dividends". Financial Times. Archived from the original on 2022-12-11. Retrieved 2022-09-07.
  11. ^ Lacey, Marc (2006-10-05). "Hold the Mojito and Margarita, Nicaragua Has el Macuá". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Archived from the original on 7 September 2022. Retrieved 2022-09-07.
  12. ^ "Coctel nicaraguense cumple su decimo aniversario". El Nuevo Diario (in Spanish). 22 March 2016. Retrieved 2022-09-07.
  13. ^ El-Bez, Quentin (2009-02-04). "Découverte - Le Macuà¡, cocktail national du Nicaragua". Alambic Magazine (in French). Retrieved 2022-09-07.

External links[edit]