Vigorón, the official dish of the city of Granada, Nicaragua, is a street food made with soft boiled yucca, crispy fried chicharròn (pork skin), and curtido, a vinegar-and-chili-soaked salad of cabbage and a tangy local fruit called mimbro. The three crunchy, salty, sour layers are served on a banana leaf and always eaten with one’s hands.
The street snack was the invention of Maria Luisa Cisnero Lacayo, nicknamed La Loca (“the Crazy Woman”). In 1914, Lacayo was a vendor at the local baseball stadium and came up with the dish as a way to stand out from the typical offerings of boiled corn and sweet tamales. After seeing a poster for a health tonic called “Vigorón,” she took the name for her game-day snack. A century later, her creation has become the most iconic food of her city. It’s even gained a reputation for causing bad manners: Locals say it’s so addictive, you can’t help but suck every last bit from your fingers.
Need to Know
In present-day Granada, new characters dominate the vigorón scene. The most famous vendor goes by El Gordito (“The Little Fat Man”). His most formidable competitor is just a few blocks away, run by La Pelona (“The Bald Woman”).