What do you eat in Costa Rica?
Rice and beans are the staple foods in Costa Rica. Even the typical breakfast is made from rice and black beans. It’s called Gallo Pinto and it’s the country’s national dish. Usually there is also scrambled eggs and a plantain, sometimes toast, cheese or a small bowl of sour cream (natillo). Gallo Pinto translates as “spotted rooster”, although it does not contain any meat. But the mix of rice and beans makes the dish look “spotty”. It is often just called pinto for short.
Not only the Gallo Pinto, but also many other things, is seasoned with a thin brown sauce that is similar to the Worcestershire sauce from England and is known in Central America as Salsa Inglesa (English sauce). According to programingplease, the variant in Costa Rica was invented in 1920 and is commercially available as Salsa Lizano. It can also be found on the tables of restaurants.
Casados for lunch
Casados, the name for typical lunch dishes, taste good at lunchtime. They consist – of course – of rice and beans! This time they are not mixed, but served side by side. They come in numerous variations, for example with beef, chicken or fish, with plantains or other vegetables. Often there is also a salad. Those who don’t eat at home can get them in a soda, a small restaurant.
What tastes good on the Caribbean coast?
Coconuts and their products such as coconut milk and desiccated coconut are popular on the Caribbean coast. Rice is also cooked in coconut milk. Fish is of course particularly popular on the coast, where it comes fresh from the sea. Patí, a meat pie, is also typical.
And what are tamales?
Tamales are also popular in Costa Rica. They are typically eaten at special festivals such as Christmas. You cook corn dough in a banana leaf, other ingredients are meat, rice and vegetables. The Chorotega Indios prefer turkey, pumpkin seeds, tomatoes and peppers in their filling.
A typical dish in all of Central America is also ceviche (pronounced: Ssewitsche). It is prepared with raw fish soaked in lemon juice. It is seasoned with coriander, onion, garlic and chillies. Of course, you have to eat it fresh because the fish is not cooked.
Beef and pork are the most popular meat, but also chicken. Plantains are very often used as a side dish. They can also be fried in oil as slices, then they are called patacones. There is also a dip made from beans or avocados. Potatoes are also part of the food. Fresh fruits, as they grow everywhere here, are of course also eaten with pleasure. Cakes and other sweet things are also popular in Costa Rica, such as the buñuelos, which are fried in fat.
Bocas or Boquitas
Small appetizers are often served in restaurants, bars or at large celebrations. Typical are, for example, patacones or small rolled tortillas with a filling. Chicharrón is crispy fried pork. When Chifrijo it with beans served (frijoles), plus there is rice and tortilla chips.
What to drink
One likes batidos. Fresh pureed fruits are prepared with water, milk, yogurt or ice. Coconut water is called pipa and you drink it straight from the fresh coconut. Otherwise you also like water or lemonades. Not only the adults like to drink coffee, which is supposed to be particularly good here – children also like the black drink made from coffee beans.