Costa Rican culture revolves on food. While its origins may be traced back to pre-Columbian times, current Costa Rican cuisine has been heavily impacted by Spanish and Afro-Caribbean culture throughout the colonial period.
Costa Rican food is often robust and savory, with fruits and vegetables playing an important role. Costa Rican food lacks the spiciness of Mexican cuisine and the unapologetic meat eating of Brazil or Argentina, but it retains its own distinct flavor. Pork and beef are the most popular meats, although chicken and fish dishes are also popular, particularly around the Caribbean coast.
Remember that in Costa Rica, breakfast and lunch are the main meals of the day, with evenings being lighter affairs eaten after the sun has set and things have cooled down.
Here we provide our favorite Costa Rican foods found at most Sodas – learn more traditional Ticos idioms here – which are simple family-run restaurants found across the country, frequently on roadside stalls:
It’s so prevalent that we couldn’t begin our list without mentioning it. Gallo pinto is a Costa Rican morning classic (desayuno costarricense or tradicional). It’s made out of sautéed rice with spices, frijoles (black beans), and sometimes tiny bits of vegetables. Then you may add eggs, ham, sausage, or natilla (a kind of sour cream/cheese).
Although this meal may be requested at any time of day, a real Tico is dubious of seeing it on their plate for lunch or dinner since it is only cooked in the morning and has been lying about all day by the time supper rolls around.
Casado is a traditional Tico meal. While it shares certain components with Gallo Pinto, it is very distinct. It consists of beans and rice with finely chopped red bell peppers, fried plantains, cabbage salad, tomato, carrot, and meat (may be chicken, fish, hog, or steak) with grilled onions.
Olla de Carne
This delectable beef stew is also one of the country’s most popular recipes. It includes a variety of beef cuts (short ribs, chuck, and flank) as well as a variety of locally cultivated items such as cassava, carrots, maize, plantains, and taro roots. Despite its popularity, this meal is not available everywhere, so order it as soon as you see it on a restaurant’s menu.
Even while ceviche is most often associated with Peru, Costa Ricans like it as well. The abundance of seafood off their shore results in several exciting instances of this delectable boca (appetizer).
Fresh raw local tilapia or corvina (white sea bass) marinated in citrus juice with finely chopped herbs, vegetables, coriander, garlic, hot pepper, onion, and celery is what Costa Rica’s ceviche is made of. Ceviche made of fruits, such as mango, may also be seen sometimes, with the fruit substituting for the fish.
Tamales in Costa Rica are considerably different from those in Mexico. Boiled plantain leaves loaded with maize meal mix, saffron rice, pork, and a variety of beans and veggies make up this delectable delicacy. Tamales are traditionally cooked for special events like as Christmas or weddings, but they may also be found at local farmer’s markets.
This delectable indigenous recipe produced by grilling slices of beef on a skewer over an open fire is not found only in Costa Rica but is nonetheless highly popular. Grab a portion between two tortillas to eat.
Costa Rica’s Caribbean side has its own flavour when it comes to specialty cuisine. In reality, it’s the same dish served everywhere in the nation, but with coconut milk, curry, and ginger added. It tastes fantastic.
Costa Rica has to be one of the top nations for freshly squeezed juice in the world. An extraordinary range of tropical fruits, half of which most of us have never heard of (Anona, Caimito, Mangosteen, Pejibaye, Naseberry…), allow for a limitless variety of drinks that are both sweet and healthful!
From street corners in San Jose to roadside kiosks in the heart of the country, you’ll find merchants selling fresh food.
As a provider of some of the best coffee in the world, when visiting, look for options from smaller, organic farmers rather than the ubiquitous and sometimes uninspired Britt brand. Ask for café negro if you want black coffee; café con leche if you want milk. A bean-to-cup demonstration, followed by a taste of the finest brews, is highly recommended at a coffee plantation.
This drink is supposed to alleviate indigestion, gastritis, and constipation by combining dry black Chan seeds in water with honey. It’s also worth noting that Chan leaves may be made into an infusion and have been shown to aid with high blood pressure. An all-around wonder worker.
Arroz Con Leche
Rice and milk are the simplest method to explain arroz con leche. But the flavour is much more complex and exquisite than that description suggests. Sugar, salt, lemon zest, and cinnamon sticks are also called for in the recipe – see, I told you it was great!
Sopa Negra (Black Bean Soup)
While dessert is my favourite and breakfast is a close second, I am also delighted to declare that I am a soup connoisseur!
Sopa Negra is no exception, and this classic soup from my homeland is guaranteed to fill you up. This soup is ideal for vegetarians, and some variations may accommodate other dietary constraints, such as gluten-free.
If you’re searching for a delicious dinner or snack, chifrijo is the way to go. Served at local events, farmer’s markets, and restaurants. The name combines the two primary ingredients: chicharrones and frijoles.