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Dear food lovers,

This entry is for you. As you all well know, food needs to be taken seriously. And I know you’re curious. So here goes: Nicaragua - the food.

NOTE TO NEW READERS - This entry has been updated with a spate of new information. Follow this link for all the latest info on eating in Granada, Nicaragua!

We have been a bit spoiled so far, because we have been in big towns and have therefore encountered lots of variety and choices. So here’s a run down on the whole experience:

Managua

- covered it. Saltless pasta (should be punished!), and American style food at Jirafe Joes. However, breakfast was included at the hotel - so we got a selection of fruit, rice and beans, scrambled eggs, and bread. Not bad. But rice and beans isn’t one of those dishes I’m likely to say “rice and beans! I could just eat that the rest of my life! What food would I choose if I could only eat one food again? Rice and beans, obviously!” about.

Granada:

Breakfast - our favourite breakfast place is called NicaBuffet. It’s not a buffet, but it has MASSIVE breakfasts for about $2.50, and free coffee with your breakfast. (And it’s not instant. Today I was told I would have to wait for coffee, and fifteen minutes later I got brought out Nescafe instant. Hmph.) And NicaBuffet is run by this great swiss guy called Edward, who has lived in Nica for five years and before that lived in Costa Rica. He just loves the whole Nica experience, and is informative and friendly and theatrical and good value with breakfast. He has it all sorted - hangs out in his breakfast restaurant from 6am to midday when it closes, then has the rest of the day off. There is also Kathy’s Waffles, which has wireless internet, but DOESN’T have a little Swiss guy and has lots of Americans. NicaBuffet has less - because it has less tables.

Lunch and Dinner:

Best: El Restaurante Meditaranien, which had the biggest tapas and the most amazing seafood paella. AND excellent waitstaff.

Best value for money: Tele pizza. You can get a pizza for $5, and it’s massive and covered in cheese. As pizza should be.

Most fun: some little unnamed local cafe. Noone spoke English, and it was traditional Nicaraguan - two torillas with cheese in the middle covered in sour cream and onion pickle. And when the guy found out we were Australians he wanted to chat… Spare my screaming arteries…

Best pasta: Cafe DecArte, which becomes PastaPasta! at night. It is super elegant, with lots of wrought iron and a fountain with lawn in the centre, and the menu says “we accept vegetarians and Canadians, eh?” down the bottom which is cute. When it becomes PastaPasta! the red and white checked table cloths and candles come out and the board with a painted tuscan scene tastefully hides the kitchen, and it’s the best stereotype of italian kitch ever. The food’s pretty decent too. And the waiters are nice and want to try out their English.

Best mexican: yes mexican, and no they aren’t the same thing… there is an ACTUAL mexican guy who owns Tequila Vallata (Oh I can't spell...). He likes to speak really fast English, and makes fabulous, and spicy (a rarity here) burritos - the best I’ve ever had. It puts Zapatas to shame!

Best food period: Jimmy Three Fingers at Nuestra Casa. If you're in Granada, do it do it do it! The portions are huge, and the food is... AMAZING. The shrimp is amazing, the fish picata is amazing, the pasta is amazing... there is bread and salad and fabulous service and great cocktails and if you're in Granada and missing the western style food due to an o.d. on rice and beans, get your arse to Jimmys! It's "expensive" by Nicaraguan standards... meaning a full meal will set you back maybe $10, $15. DO IT.

Home cooking:

Rice and beans, fried cheese, and mashed potato is the staple fare that our mum makes us. It’s difficult when you’re catering to vegetarians, and rice and beans as long as we both shall live…

Esteli:

Most fun: Okay. So we only ate out once. But what a once! We went to a chinese restaurant. Veronica and her mum Sandra were a bit hesitant - they’d never had Chinese before. (although I would say they still haven’t - they’ve had, as Brian said, ChiNica…) But as it was all that was open at three in the afternoon for lunch we were daring. I wish I’d photographed the menu. Picture it anyway. Entrees - wontons, springrolls, fairly standard. Mains and Lunch - Fried rice, chow mein, Chop suey. Fine. Other dishes - Some meats, some fish… okay. Next page - sandwiches, french fries, burgers… and when you order they bring white bread and butter to the table. I don’t know that an ACTUAL Chinese person had ever set foot in there, but it was excellent fun, the bill for five people came to about $20, and the vegetarian fried rice and noodles actually tasted really good.

Oddities:

In Nicaragua, there are no fresh mushrooms. They all seem to be out of cans. This distresses me somewhat, as you can probably imagine.

Coffee here is bloody weird. You have to ask for black coffee with a little milk, or you get half coffee half hot milk, and the hot milk is ALWAYS BURNED. I’ve asked for coffee with a little milk and nine times out of ten they bring you a jug of hot burned milk to accompany your black coffee. WEIRD.

The bread ain’t that great. I guess because they mainly have rice and maize, the bread’s all quite light. What I wouldn’t give for a piece of ginos italian loaf…

There don’t seem to be licensing laws. You can buy alcohol pretty much anywhere and drink it pretty much anywhere. And it’s ridiculously cheap. For example, we went to a bar that has wireless internet the other day, and dave had a triple of rum for $1 and I broke the bank with a $2.50 marguarita.

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Comments

No one puts Zapatas to shame, thank you.

Ross

Except for Zapatas themselves…

Luke

well Bridg you just going to have to show them wat making coffee is all about!!!! Go Ginos coffee, and bread.

The two tortillas with chesse in the middle and sour cream and pickled onions. What you described is called a quesillo. The best you can find in a La Paz Centro is a small city between Leon and Managua. Just thinking about it makes my mouth water.