What We Eat
After writing my blog Cost of Living in San Juan del Sur, I realized we spend a lot of money on groceries. Although food here can be quite affordable if you eat only local fruits & vegetables, eggs, rice & beans, and Nica cheese, my family demands more of a variety and a lot of protein.
Shopping can be quite a chore in Nicaragua because to get the freshest ingredients you have to go to several stores. I do a meal plan every week and attempt to get all the grocery shopping done on one day. I go to the main grocery store (Palí), a bakery (panadería) for bread, the fish market (Acopio), the vegetable market (el mercado), and a store that sells “Gringo” items aka ingredients not found in typical Nicaraguan food (Miscelanea Sanchez).
It is expected to offer your domestic help lunch if they work during lunch hours, so we feed our house cleaner, Juanita, lunch 6 days per week. Most of these days, she also prepares the meal and we are able to sit down as a family and eat lunch together…even during the work week.
There are a few grocery items that I use regularly that I notice are quite a bit more expensive than in the United States. (*US prices from Walmart.com)
|Item||Cost in Nicaragua||Cost in USA|
|Soy Sauce 15 fl oz||$4.92||$2.28|
|Rice Vinegar 20 oz||$6.44||$2.41|
|Sesame Oil 218 ml||$8.14||$4.15|
|Olive Oil 25.5 oz||$8.64||$5.74|
|Jif Peanut Butter 16 oz||$5.93||$2.48|
|Cheddar Cheese 32 oz||$10||$6.47|
|Hunts Traditional Tomato Sauce||$2.54||$1|
When we first moved to San Juan del Sur I found cooking to be very frustrating because there were always ingredients on the recipes I found that were unavailable here. Then I discovered a Facebook group that was created for people here to share their recipes and often explain where to find the obscure ingredients or what was used as a substitute. This changed everything! Listed below are a couple of the meals we ate recently with links to the recipe if I used one.
Eggs and toast
Bagels & Cheese
Spicy Peanut Noodle and Pasta Salad
Chicken Breast Wraps
Shredded Beef with Rice
Chicken Breast with Rice & Beans and Cabbage Salad
Ground Beef Tacos
Fried Chicken with Rice & Beans and Cabbage Salad
Coconut Kale with Roasted Fish and Coconut Rice (substituted a white fish instead of salmon)
Curried Lentil Soup
Spaghetti alla Carbonara
Caramelized Pork Tacos with Pineapple Salsa
Parmesan Chicken & Pasta
Pork Fried Rice
Kale & Butternut Squash Lasagna
Creamy Lemon Parmesan Chicken (substituted lime and lemon essential oil)
Brown Sugar Glazed Pork Chops & Pureed Cauliflower