With tropical climate all year around in Costa Rica you will always get the best raw materials in terms of fresh and ripe. Fish and meet are also always fresh and of absolute top quality straight from the ocean or the butcher. The food in Costa Rica is delicious and suits most people as it is not too spicy and has a lot of natural flavors from the great natural raw materials. The Costa Rican kitchen is typical Latin American as they eat a lot of rice and beans cooked in different ways.
In Costa Rica you can eat everything, even salads, ice cream, fresh fish and seafood such as lobster, shrimp, tuna, Dorado and not fear food poisoning. This is because of the country having the two great oceans the Pacific and the Atlantic on each side. This gives Costa Rica the freshest products from the ocean and great raw materials. The sushi is great and prepared with the freshest and best fish and seafood.
The most famous and common sauce in Costa Rica is Salsa Lizano. It´s a ready to eat sauce made with a secret recipe based on mustard. It is delicious and is used both to add flavor for preparing certain dishes as Gallo Pinto and rice with chicken. It´s found at almost every table in Costa Rica and it´s a big part of the Costa Rican kitchen.
If you want to eat really good and home made Costa Rican food for a low price we strongly recommend that you visit a “Soda”. These are typical, family run restaurants with traditional Costa Rican food that are to be found in every Costa Rican village and city. You can get everything from fish, chicken, pork and beef. It´s often that you can also be served a burger, sandwich, soups and more. These are the most common and popular restaurants in Costa Rica.
Gallo Pinto for breakfast
Gallo Pinto is the traditional breakfast in Costa Rica and it´s a combination of rice, red or black beans mixed with vegetables such as onion, bell pepper, celery and cilantro. It´s served with scrambled or fired eggs, sour cream, cheese and fried plantain.
Casado for lunch
The casado is a plate with rice and beans yet not mixed with each other, boiled vegetables or salad, fried plantain and your choice of beef, pork, fish or chicken. The meat can be grilled beef, slow cooked meat and the chicken can come in the choice of fried fillet or steamed chicken with sauce. The casado sometimes is served with mashed potatoes or beet salad.
Rice/shrimp with chicken
This is one of most popular dishes in Costa Rica and it´s rice that´s being fried together with vegetables and chicken or shrimp. Some restaurants offers it with fish or seafood. It´s commonly served with French fries and coleslaw.
Ceviche is a favorite in the Costa Rican kitchen as well as in many other Latin American kitchens and it´s marinated in lime and it can be made of fish, seafood and vegetables.
You choose the product of your liking such as fish, shrimps or octopus and cut in half inch cubes and mix them with chopped bell pepper, onion, chili and cilantro and then cover it in lime juice that marinates the fish or vegetables. You can also splash a little ginger ale in to it. This is a must while visiting Costa Rica!
Rice and Beans (Caribbean style)
This course is not to be mixed with Gallo Pinto as it is prepared differently and origins from the Caribbean side of Costa Rica. This is rice and beans that are boiled in Coco fat and served with slow cooked chicken or fried fish with plantain fried in honey. It´s delicious!
Tamale is a traditional course all over Latin America and it´s boiled in banana leaves and comes served as a green package on your plate. When you open up the banana leaves you will find the actual food that is corn flour cooked together as a paste mixed with different fillings such as vegetables, meat, chick peas, rice or beans. This is mainly prepared for Christmas and a lot of families prepare them as a family activity on Christmas eve.
Fruit and berries
Costa Rica has amazing fruits and berries and you really have to try them when you visit. You can choose from fresh bananas, watermelon, cantaloupe, papaya, mango, strawberries, blackberries, passion fruit, guanabana, starfruit, litchifruit and many more different kinds available everywhere to a low cost.
A very popular dish made of pork meat that you boil in oil for a long time and then eat it either cold or warm with fresh pressed lime juice on top and a bean mash. The chicharron is also mixed in to a lot of other traditional courses as Chifirjo and Casado.
Pico de Gallo
Is a mix of tomato, onion, cilantro and lime that is served as a side dish to a lot of traditional courses and also very popular to order with nacho chips and guacamole.
It´s a mash of beans flavored depending on family recipe but almost always contain Salsa Lizano and sometimes also Coca-Cola and coffee. It´s also considered a popular dip that is served warm and brought out with traditional courses and nacho chips.
This is a bowl that contains a mix of rice, beans, sauce, pico de gallo, avocado and delicious chicharron. Then you add chili depending on your pick and mix it and enjoy this perfect combination of Costa Rican classics with nacho chips.
The plantain looks like a large green banana and it´s used in several different areas in Costa Rica. The most common ways to cook it is frying it in a pan with either oil, sugar or honey to make it sweet. You can also boil it and have it in stews but the most popular way is to cut of a peace of the plantain and mash it to half an inch peace and deep fry it so it gets crispy on the outside and soft in the center. This are called Patacones and are often served as appetizer with Gallo Pinto and Frijoles molidas.
It´s very easy to travel around as a vegetarian in Costa Rica as the main food is rice, beans, salad or hot vegetables. So to eat a plate of Casado without animal meat is a tasty, healthful and vegetarian dish. If you eat fish and seafood your options are almost limitless. And don’t forget all the wonderful, fresh and ripe fruits and berries!