From rondon to nacatamal, we're eating our way through Nicaragua. Join us for a foodie's introduction to the country.
“We Nicaraguans have a tendency to view life in full color, not in black and white,” said Cristina Gomez, executive chef of Restaurante El Segundo in Managua, Nicaragua. “That's exactly how we approach our food, too. It is the closest bridge that allows us to reach pleasure and happiness.”
Gomez, whose love of all things culinary–from the pleasures of cooking to the rituals of eating with family–began at an early age, explains that for a relatively small country, Nicaraguan food is colorful, complex, and diverse, though it's often mischaracterized as unsophisticated.
In addition to homegrown produce, such as corn, and fish and seafood caught right off its own coasts, Gomez explained that Nicaraguan cuisine has always been enriched by the products and influences that have passed through the country because of its geographical location.
“Our food is as picturesque as the country's landscapes,” she said, “full of many tastes, smells, and textures.” Dishes draw from local ingredients, such as achiote, pork, and tomato, as well as coconut milk and root vegetables, such as yuca. “We're blessed as a country,” Gomez said, “surrounded by water, with fertile land, and people who continue to uphold a love for the land.”
We asked Gomez to take us on a tour of Nicaraguan cuisine, showing us three of the country's most iconic dishes. She did one better, taking us on a literal recorrido of Nicaragua, where favorite meals are inextricably tied to particular places.
Next, where you can enjoy three classic dishes…