Andrew Zimmern, “El Pelón Comelón,” opens wide in Nicaragua

prens2.jpg“STOMACH OF STEEL” read the headline on the front page of yesterday’s La Prensa, featuring renowned culinary traveler, chef, and host of Travel Channel’s “Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern.” The “pelón who eats worms,” as everyone here refers to him (“pelón” means “bald guy”) is well known in Nicaragua. I’ve been traveling with Zimmern and his crew as their “location specialist” in Nicaragua, helping them find the most interesting sites and dishes. While visiting the Land of Lakes and Volcanoes, Zimmern is sampling bus food, market food, fritanga food, Creole food, fair trade coffee, and a few pleasant (and not-so-pleasant) surprises along the way.

juan.jpgZimmern has traveled to the culinary boundaries of dozens of countries with his show, but this is his first time in Central America. In fact, “Bizarre Foods Nicaragua” will be the premiere episode of the third season; the show is seen in 70 countries around the world and the Nicaragua episode is scheduled to air June 2, 2009.

The La Prensa article, entitled “Chanfaina o Moronga?” (which means “Pig guts stew or blood sausage?”) by Geiner Bonilla is very well written and reported, undescoring Zimmern’s main point: that eating local food with its people is the best way to get to know a country and that “disgusting” is a relative term. Of course the show is about much more than just “bizarre” dishes of Nicaragua; it is about the food, people, and natural beauty that make this country unique in the region and the world. This includes high-quality coffee, baseball games, and Nicaraguans’ ability to continually rebuild and reinvent their country. I can’t wait to see the end result, but first, we have a few more volcanoes and restaurants to hit…

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