When Jonathon lived in China Town back in San Francisco, our favorite type of food to eat obviously became Chinese food. We were sad to think that we would not be able to get Chinese food when we moved to Nicaragua because, well, it’s Nicaragua. However, when we were living in Masaya, imagine our surprise when we found not one, but two Chinese food restaurants in town! And they’re GOOD. We hadn’t seen any sort of Chinese food in our travels throughout Nicaragua, so we were stoked. We were a bit skeptical at first, but we were craving that salty, MSG yumminess of Chinese food so badly we didn’t even care.
The first place we ate at was the place that would become our most frequently visited restaurant in Masaya as it was just across the street from our place, Yuan Lin. The big red building is hard to miss (see above) with Chinese writing and paintings of chowmein and fried rice on the front. We got the family meal, which included chicken chowmein, white rice, sweet and sour chicken (agridulce pollo on the menu), two chicken egg rolls (chino tacos) and a whole liter of Pepsi. Sounds absurd right? We ate right through the whole thing.
By far the largest meal we could get in Masaya for just C$220 ($9.22) and one of our absolute favorite. The place also has the best beer deals we’ve ever seen: you can get a liter of Brava for C$24 ($1.00). It’s the perfect ice cold beverage to share together after a long day of work in the heat.
We later found out, by going to the retaruant so frequently, that the place is actually owned by a Chinese woman who was raised here by her parents when she was little. She moved away, came back and started the restaurant in her old home town–and we’re so glad that she did! Her food is authentic and so yummy.
There is another Chinese restaurant just down the street and around the corner from us that we love as well called Joshy Chinese Restaurant. The place is owned by a local Nicaraguan family, so the dishes aren’t like the ones we were used to in China Town, but they are delicious, come in very large portions and inexpensive.
Its a big place where a lot of locals come to hang out after work, drink a couple of Toña liters and then order one huge dish of shrimp & chicken fried rice (arroz chino on the menu) or chowmein for just C$65 ($2.70) to soak up the beer before heading home. Jonathon and I love this place because we can share a dish of fried rice or chowmein and be full, which makes the meal a whopping $1.35 each. It’s so yummy, the family who owns it is awesome and the atmosphere is relaxed.
Who would have ever thought we’d have choices of Chinese food in Nicaragua? Not us, but we’re thankful that we do. Both serve up great food, are inexpensive and will curb your travelers craving for Asian cuisine in one meal. If you’re ever in Masaya, check them out and enjoy the weird feeling of having Chinese food in Central America.
The article in photos: