As you travel across Nicaragua, you’ll see the same dish noted on menu after menu: the Nica Breakfast. Every restaurant offers its own version of this traditional morning meal, so you’ll have to order it again and again (and again!) to make sure you try every possible variation of this vegetarian-friendly Central American favorite.
A Nica Breakfast (written in Spanish as Desayuno Nica) starts with Nicaragua’s iconic staple – gallo pinto. Inspired by its namesake, a spotted rooster, gallo pinto consists of cooked rice that is speckled with black or red beans. Some chefs like to mix in a few vegetables (including tomatoes, bell peppers and onions) while other like the simplicity of perfectly cooked rice and beans.
The rest of your plate is where you’ll find all sorts of interesting variations. At Hotel Guardabarranco, a charming boutique hotel in Granada, the Nica Breakfast shown above came with a heaping pile of scrambled eggs (cooked to order – I could have had them fried if I’d wanted), sour cream, a slice of hard, salty cheese (known as queso seco, or dry cheese) and sweet fried plantain. At other restaurants I was offered alternatives such as fresh corn tortillas (perfect for scooping everything up, breakfast taco style!) and spicy salsa on the side.