If you want to dive into the culture of Costa Rica you have to try its food. Costa Rican food is tasty rather than spicy. Costa Rica travel is not complete without having tried the national dish Gallo Pinto, a dish of black beans and rice with onions and cilantro. This meal is traditionally served for breakfast, with fried eggs or scrambled eggs, tortillas and sour cream. As you make your way across the country, you will soon discover the variety of fruits and vegetables available.
A casado is a bowl of rice, red beans or black, and a choice of meat, chicken or fish and vegetables or salad. Try the many pies and pastries filled with chicken or beef with spices. Another option are roosters, containing wheat flour tortillas stuffed with corn, meat, cheese or beans. Traditional tamale, which is served for Christmas, is also available throughout the year. Do not forget to try the “ceviche”, an original dish of Peru. It includes raw fish cooked in lemon juice with ginger, onion and cilantro served with hot chili sauce.
Costa Rica Food, An Authentic Experience
The reason that food tastes so fresh and healthy in Costa Rica for foreigners is because it is so fresh and healthy! Food in Costa Rica is not too spicy and usually composed of ingredients that have never seen the inside of a can. Pinto and beans are a staple of Costa Rica and common denominator among different culinary tastes in different regions of the country. As a whole, the three most famous dishes of the country are Casado, Gallo Pinto and Arroz con Pollo.
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The word casado means married (or caught) in Costa Rica. Casado is what a family meal is expected to appear on any table or kitchen counter for lunch. There is no eternal commitment to the plate because it varies according to the tastes of each household. Some even prefer to add some snacks like tortilla chips to their lunch. It is made mostly of rice and beans, one or two slices of fried sweet plantains, vegetables, coleslaw and an omelet. Usually it is complemented by steak, chicken, fish or pork. There are also vegetarian variations with some fresh avocado, eggplant or white cheese.
The casado is a fundamental meal in the tico diet. Casados are relatively easy to make, cheap and filling. It became popular in the past because larger families without a lot of money could feed everyone with ingredients they usually already had in their houses. The traditional casado also energized the people who built Costa Rica. You’ll never leave the table hungry after eating a casado. They are full of proteins, vegetables and carbohydrates that will keep you going all day!
Arroz Con Pollo
Arroz con Pollo is a favorite dish throughout Central America. In Costa Rica, it is popular as a birthday party meal that can feed the masses. It is made of chicken rice – a mixture of yellow rice, peas, carrots, corn and chicken strips. The rice is colored with Achiote (Bixa Orellana) and is best served with mashed black beans, french fries or chips.
Gallo Pinto y Café
Gallo Pinto – meaning spotted rooster – is by far the favorite food of Costa Rica. It is so good that is served everywhere after 10:00 am with a cup of coffee. What makes it so good if it’s just mixed rice and beans? Each Costa Rican has its own way to prepare Gallo Pinto. It can include bananas, eggs, tortillas and fresh sour cream. Some use copious amounts of cilantro (coriander) while preparing Gallo Pinto, others use onions and garlic. But what makes it so unique is the special sauce: Lizano.
Salsa Lizano is Costa Rica’s favorite condiment, thanks to the Lizano company. This brown sauce goes well with anything: White rice, eggs, toast, meat, beans and anything you could add salt to. Salsa means sauce and Lizano’s the family name this sauce is named after. Salsa Lizano is so delicious and widely used in Costa Rica that it has become patrimonial to the country’s identity. Some cooks will not consider a dish as Costa Rican cuisine unless Salsa Lizano® is added to it.
Ever wondered what the traditional Christmas dish is for Costa Rica? The authentic Costa Rican tamales include rice, beans and potatoes served on banana leaf. They can also include meat like beef, chicken of pork.
Costa Rica Desserts
Costa Rican Desserts are another level of sweetness. You will love the different flavors. Check it out!
Sweets of Costa Rica
Costa Ricans have a desire for sweetness. They tend to enjoy sweet desserts based on milk (pudding in the UK) like tres leches and arroz con leche. Tres Leches is a very sweet soft pastel made of three types of dairy products: evaporated milk, condensed milk and whipped cream. Moreover, rice pudding is a mix of some of the sweetest ingredients.
Aqua con Leche
When it comes to beverages, Costa Ricans like to take advantage of all varieties of tropical fruits that grow in the country. There are two ways fruit drinks are consumed here, with water or with milk. You have to consider that not all fruit goes well with milk. The favorite fruity milkshakes in Costa Rica are Costa Rican Blackberry, soursop, strawberry and banana. In addition, there are a lot of fruit drinks which are usually prepared without milk: Cas (endemic guava), pineapple, mango, cashew fruit, soursop and many others. Lime juice can be added for an extra bit of punch.
Costa Rican Food, Caribbean Delight
You can find the most interesting food on the Caribbean side. Much of the kitchen there has a Jamaican influence. You will love the chicken and delicious coconut rice and beans, as well as the famous Rondon, a spicy fish stew prepared with the catch of the day! Fruits are also particularly abundant on the Caribbean side and you will find many different smoothies and milkshakes. Caribbean food is reminiscent of the essence of the Caribbean, full of flavor and color.
Type of foreign cuisine
Today in San Jose and the main tourist destinations, you will see an infinite variety of traditional and international cuisine. Italian, French, Spanish, Chinese, Japanese and Indian restaurants are easy to find everywhere throughout the country. Sushi has proved very popular since it was introduced in the country, while Indian food is still a growing trend. Pizzas and pasta, tapas bars and traditional French cuisine, are of excellent quality. Top chefs, seduced by the beauty of the country and the growing demands of tourists and residents alike, settled here to stay and the choice have become extraordinary.
Costa Rican Food and Drinks
Costa Rica produces some of the best coffee in the world. However, Costa Ricans do not like strong coffee. Cappuccino or espresso are also available throughout the country. Fruit juices come as “soft”, “natural juices” and “shakes”. Passion fruit, pineapple, guaba, mango, banana, guava, carambola, jocote, watermelon and pejibaye are just some of the many fruits available here. Finally, the wine list has grown here in Costa Rica. Not only will you find an extraordinary choice of elegant Cabernet, Syrah, and Merlot from Chile and Argentina, but current wines from France, Italy, Spain, South Africa, California and Australia are common in supermarkets and excellent restaurants.
There are so many choices. You will only find the best food in Costa Rica!
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