The Best of Costa Rican And Nicaraguan Cuisine

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As sister nations, Costa Rica and Nicaragua share many similarities, including some traditional food. And if you’ve visited both countries (or have plans to do so), you’ll realize you can find many similar dishes that are still definitely unique from your home cuisine.

1. Gallo Pinto


Gallo pinto is a typical meal in both Costa Rica and Nicaragua. It is made of rice and beans, mixed with onion, sweet pepper, and cilantro.
Overall, the gallo pinto of Costa Rica and Nicaragua are very similar. The difference is that in Costa Rica, it’s normally consumed at breakfast, and Lizano sauce is added. In addition, it is accompanied with eggs, ripe plaintains, or natilla.
In Nicaragua, gallo pinto is made with vegetable oil and is served as accompaniment for other foods.




This traditional food of indigenous origin is usually prepared from corn flour and a variety of mixed ingredients. They are wrapped in banana leaves and cooked. In Nicaraguan cuisine they are known as “Nacatamales”, The consistency of the dough is oilier than that of Costa Rica and they tend to contain more ingredients, making the final product larger.
In Costa Rican cuisine, the tamale is eaten for breakfast, and is drizzled with Lizano sauce.


3. Vigorón


This traditional food comes from Nicaraguan cuisine, specifically Granada. It is a fresh dish, made of a banana leaf, which you top with yucca, pork, and a salad of cabbage and tomato.
However, you can also find this dish in Costa Rican cuisine, often prepared by Nicaraguans.

4. Casado

This Costa Rican meal has it all: It consists of rice, beans, salad, ripe plantains, and your choice of meat. There are more variations, which can also be accompanied by macaroni, eggs, or some hash.
It is a fairly inexpensive and delicious option, and is usually consumed during lunch.


As you’ve noticed, the traditional food from these countries is incredibly varied and delicious.

Have you tried Nicaraguan or Costa Rican cuisine yet? What was your favorite?


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