One question we get from people consistently is, "What was the food like in Central America?" We blame ourselves, we planned on doing food posts, but failed. More food posts will be on our lists of things to improve upon for our upcoming travels.
The food in Central America was pretty simple. When I think of Latino food, I usually think spicy. Central American cuisine was surprisingly pretty mild, borderline bland. I found myself reaching for the hot sauce whenever possible. This was not done to mask the flavors, I just like a little heat. All in all I enjoyed the food and its simplistic approach.
Although each of the six countries we visited has a specialty of some kind, there is a common thread to all the countries' comida typico. It was a plate of rice and beans, plantains (either sweet and grilled, or the starchy and deep fried), a wedge of white crumbly cheese, salsa, sour cream and a protein. I say "a protein" because this dish is served at all times. Add eggs, you have breakfast, add seafood, chicken, pork or steak you have any other meal. I went half way through Nicaragua and all the way through Costa Rica eating this dish almost exclusively, it was always a safe bet.
Another interesting thing is the heated national rivalry between the Central America countries on who came up with rice and beans. In Nicaragua its called Gallo Pinto and in Costa Rica they call the dish described above as Casado. A good rule of thumb, whatever country your in, theirs is the best. There is a ton of patriotism in Central America on pretty much everything from rice and beans to rum to the way they speak Spanish. Again, theirs is the best. I totally get this concept, I say Colorado's skiing is the best and Meggan says you can't beat Texas' beef brisket.
Other honorable mentions of the food of Central America would be cevieche and El Salvador's Pupusas. I had great cevieche in Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama. I would say Panama's was the best. Most them were made with was sea bass, shrimp, avocado and plenty of the orange colored limes, very refreshing. The Papusas of El Salvador are a great street food. They are basically stuffed and grilled thick corn tortillas. Most were stuffed with cheese and a meat or squash. They were often topped with cabbage and a pickled pepper and tomato sauce. It makes a good quick meal and or late night snack after several Suprema beers.