I then went to the La Union supermarket where I purchased a kilo of corn flour, a kilo of oatmeal, hot sauce, Salsa sauce, a box of green tea, 2 bags of bean paste, a small can of corn and a few cans of chick peas, large bag of rice and a small bag of red beans, a bag of 12 soft tortillas and finally 18 eggs. Total cost 406 Cordoba or $19.17. Needless to say my days at the supermarket are numbered Total Food Purchase for the trip $21.77
Here are my 5 basic meals that I made at home.
A Pupusa is a traditional Salvadoran dish made of a thick, handmade corn tortilla that is usually filled with a blend cheese cooked and seasoned pork meat ground to a paste consistency and re-fried beans. The greatest thing about a Pupusa is you can fill it with anything and have it at any time. Today's breakfast was banana and cinnamon drizzled with honey. My skills at the pupusa culinary arts are still rudimentary but the job gets done.
Gallo Pinto is a traditional dish of Nicaragua and Costa Rica made with rice and beans. Gallo Pinto literally means Spotted Rooster so anytime I can eat something named Rooster I feel incredibly vindicated.
It is usually served at every meal. I like to eat it for breakfast with a few fried eggs, slices of pineapple or avocado and tortillas. Like anything making real Gallo Pinto takes time to learn. The secret is to cook the rice in the bean juice. Who knew?
Quetzal Tacos so named as the standard healthy post Volcano Boarding and other adventures snack of Quetzal Trekkers of Leon. I dice up all my veggies into a big bowl and add a can of corn. Again your veggie mixture can be anything but this week mine are tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, corn, and peppers. Using a soft tortilla shell smear it with a decent helping of Ducal bean paste. Add 3 heaping spoons of the raw veggie mixture. Drizzle with Hot or Salsa sauce and for a bit of crunch, crush a few Doritos on top. Roll into a taco/burrito and dig in. I have eaten 8 of them in 2 days and have not made a dent in my veggie mix. It should easily last a week.
Fried Egg and Bean Past Tortilla Wraps are my Buffalo Chicken Wing of Nicaragua. It's as simple as it sounds. Take a soft tortilla and smear it with bean paste. Fry an egg and lay that bad boy on the paste. Hot sauce to kick it a kick, roll and eat. As with everything else you can add anything else and a bit of avocado usually does the trick for me.
Oatmeal yes the good old standard. Cooked with any combination of bananas, honey, cinnamon, apples or any odd new fruit I dare to try. I find myself eating oatmeal for dinner often.
Now this is not to say that I do not go out to eat. There are amazing stalls that sell a plate of BBQ chicken/Pork or lamb, gallo pinto, coleslaw salad and a tortilla for about $3, They are called Frutungas and nobody knows why.
There is any myriad of baked, BBQ or deep fried chicken dishes, Burrito trucks (holy mother of god these are amazing) or hamburg hot dog carts. Bakeries and coffee shops have all the indulgences. Restaurants galore that serve up anything you want for no more that $10 - $12 (very top end). You seriously could eat out 3 meals a day and not break the bank.
I have given myself a personal challenge of a $100 a month food budget for November. To many Nicaraguans live on $100 - $200 a month to cover all their expenses. I believe its the least I can do to try and assimilate. However I do have the option of running down to the night market for BBQ chicken and a cold drink when bean paste and raw veggies are not cutting it, where as many Nicaraguans don't.