Start off with yellowfin, snapper, or sea bass, grilled or fried. Conch, when tenderized correctly, is soft and delicate, less briny than other seafood but with a soft texture. Or enjoy a lobster al vapor, bulging with delicate white meat you can pull from the shell with your fingers, and drenched in butter and lime.
Mixed soup is served in a helmet-sized bowl choked with crab, lobster, conch, and fish marinating in coconut milk. Not hearty enough? Then reach for rondón, or rundown, a thick stew of fish (or endangered turtle), vegetables, and coconut milk thickened with starchy tubers and plantains. In August, don’t miss the Corn Island Crab Soup Festival, when Costeños cook tons of soft crabmeat into a festival you won’t forget. Atlantic coast crabmeat is particularly soft, with a delicate flavor unique to the tropics.
You don’t have to stick to seafood to eat well on the Atlantic coast. Even the gallo pinto tastes better here: That’s because it’s cooked in sweet coconut oil. Between meals, fill up with coco bread, football-sized loaves of soft, rich wheat flour cooked up with coconut and served hot out of the oven. Another treat is kind of like cinnamon rolls but without the cinnamon: hot coconut bun is sweet and sticky.
Excerpted from the Sixth Edition of Moon Nicaragua.