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Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Nicaragua: Reflections on Nicaragua and the Cuisine That Isn't

Someone at the next table said, "There are forty restaurants on Omotepe, and they all have the same menu."
Worse, that menu isn't much different from a tipica menu in the rest of Nicaragua, or in Costa Rica, or in Panama. Honduras and Guatemala?

However, in Nicaragua it's more of a problem for me, because there is very little else. In other places you might find an Italian restaurant or two, maybe a Greek place. But in Nicaragua, it's tipica. It's actually bland tipica, with fewer spices, a limited variety of vegetables, and little variation in preparation.

When you consider the discovery of a hot dog place a major event, you are in trouble gastronomically. When you are served gallo pinto (rice and beans) with pancakes, you are doomed.

So one of the things I enjoyed most about Panama City is the variety of food available. OK, there are tipica restaurants, and they have the standard menu. But on my first day, I saw a lunch place offering bratwurst, then an Italian restaurant, followed by a Chinese place, and a Greek taverna.

Variety isn't necessarily extremely expensive, either. There's a Sushi Express at the food court in the mall. The bratwurst was being served at a small coffee shop.
No wonder I hung out there for months.

Note:  I found this post floating around my documents file, along with a couple of others.  I'm not currently in Nicaragua.

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