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Typical Foods and Beverages

It is a tradition of the towns located on the plateau, from Masaya to Nandaime, to feed pilgrims and promisees during the festivities dedicated to the town’s patron saint. Most of the dishes derive from maize. Jinotepe, Diriamba, and San Marcos are famous for their festive dishes called “picadillo, ajiaco, and masa de cazuela or indioviejo”.

In Masaya, they go all out with corn pastries, foods, and drinks called rosquillas, chicha de maiz, corn with ginger, nacatamales, arrozaguado, pig’s head, pork with casaba and oxtail soup.


Corn: Our Root 

Legend attributes the discovery of maize to Quetzalcoatl, a mythical-historical figure, hero of a civilization and guide of the Mesoamerican peoples, said to have placed a grain of corn on the lips of the first man and woman, so that, while eating it they may “work and think”.

Corn is one of the basic staples of the Nicaraguan diet. A large part of its culinary culture incorporates corn into its recipes as a sole or mixed ingredient. A vast variety of foods, drinks, and desserts are made of maize and form part of the Nicaraguan’s daily diet.


Nacatamales and other types of tamales are born of this dough, among the tamales we have: tamal de masa and tamalpisque with the advantage that they may be kept for a few days without refrigeration, and are popular for long trips.

Tamales can be stuffed with many ingredients, but the best of all, is the Nacatamal. There are different types of Nacatamales: The cacique Indio (The Indian Chief), big, pure, with no foreign additives, with lots of chili and spices. The Ladino, (The Crossbreed); mixed with potatoes, rice, and a few olives. The Nacatamal for Parties “High-Life”: With prunes, raisins, capers in thinned dough that disappears in four bites.

Corn mixed with a little bit of cheese opens a vast horizon of delicatessens. The classic albondigas (dumplings) eaten especially during lent, the delicious buñuelos with honey, perrerreque, rosquillas, hojaldras, viejitas, and the rellenas, everything that is known as “Cosa de Horno” (Baked Stuff); and, last but not least of the baked corn goods: the Jinoteganpupusas.

Humble and modest is the pozol, boiled and ground corn, with a piece of alfeñique (made from sugar cane molasses), it turns into a drink capable of competing against tiste de panecillo, or any cola drink.


A Guide to Nicaraguan Dining 

 Platos Tradicionales  

Baho             ----Nacatamales   ----
Indio viejo      ----
Caballo bayo   ----
Gallo pinto     ----
Cuajada         ----
Lecheagria     ----
Vigorón         ----




Tostones        ----
Tajadas         ----
Maduro          ----
Ensalada        ----


Bebidas y 
(Re) Frescos


Tiste             ----
Pinol             ----
Pinolillo         ----
Horchata       ----
Chicha          ----




Flan            ----
Sorbete        ----
Helado         ----

                                          Traditional Dishes 

Plantain and beef stew
Meat-filled corn tamal, wrapped and boiled in banana leaves
Beef, veggie, and cornmeal mush
A sampler’s plate of traditional dishes
Red beans and rice, generously doused in oil and salt
White, farmer’s cheese
A sour cream- yogurt combo
Pork rinds with yucca and coleslaw, served on a banana leaf




Thick, fried, green plantain chips
Crunchy, thin strips of green plantain
Ripe, sweet plantains fried in their own sugar
Shredded cabbage, tomatoes, and a toasted white corn


Drinks and 
Fruit Juices


Toasted cooked corn with cacao, pepper, and cloves
Toasted, milled corn
Pinol with pepper, cloves, and cacao
Toasted and milled rice with spices
Rough-milled corn with vanilla and banana flavors, sometimes fermented




Ice cream