When you fly to another country the most important is to let go part of your routine and experience the culture and the local cuisine. In the case of Costa Rica, there are several local dishes that are typical for a "tico"* or "tica"*, and that we love and eat then regularly.
Here are some extra special dishes that are very typical in restaurants, sodas and in the house's of Costa Ricans, keep an eye out for them and don't miss them :
Picture courtesy of https://stripedspatula.com/gallo-pinto/
This dish is a popular breakfast in Costa Rica, a flavor-packed dish of black beans, rice, peppers, onions and herbs. If you want to follow tradition, serve it with a fried egg on top and caramelized plantains on the side. The literal translation of gallo pinto is “spotted rooster.” The name refers to the appearance of the rice – spotted with black beans and bits of red pepper. The main ingredients Rice and Beans are very popular in Latin American cooking. They’re served at breakfast, lunch and dinner. Gallo pinto in a house normally uses the leftover rice and beans from the night before, and are mix with onions, peppers, cilantro and spices, and adds eggs and fried plantains, for a very delicious meal.
Picture courtesy of https://www.bookmundi.com/t/best-costa-rican-food
The Casado dish is the traditional dish for lunch or dinner. The term itself translates to the word "married," which aptly describes the smorgasbord plate displaying Costa Rica's best offerings. This dish normally it comes, of course with rice and beans, and we add a protein like chicken, meat, fish or pork chops. As well we add picadillo (made of chayote or potato, we will talk a bit later about this dish), and of course vegetables like green salad or cabbage salad, their cannot miss the fried plantains.
Although is not the recommendation of nutritionist, there is a gastronomic habit in Costa Rica and Latin America cultures to eat fry food. We love it!
In our country, small restaurants called sodas sell many types of empanadas, which can be arreglada (this is that they add cabbage and sauces like ketchup, mayonnaise and mustard). You can find them in different flavors from: meat, chicken, fried beans, cheese and potato. These are the most know flavor for empanadas. The empanadas are made of corn flour and filled with the different flavors, and cooked in oil.
This greasy but delicious "snack" can be enjoyed sitting in the park, walking, waiting in the bus and sitting int the small business.
Olla de carne
Picture from de Aleat88 - Costa Rica network food
The Olla de Carne is a traditional Costa Rican stew, which consists of a broth with meat in small to medium pieces and abundant vegetables. It is a traditional Costa Rican soup used mostly to consume for lunch or noon, or when is cold. Its a very powerful stew, due to its nutritional nature. It is thought that when the Spanish arrived they brought something similar called Adafina, but they did not found the same ingredients so it was modified, and they use the ingredients that were at hand or that were indigenous to the country, so this dish is prepared for more than 100 years ago.
The Olla de Carne it is very popular in the central markets of each province of the country, the central markets of San José, Heredia and Alajuela are popular among the people of the Greater Metropolitan Area (GAM) for the preparation of this and other dishes. In general, the dish is presented after three turns, dividing the vegetables in a large plate, the broth and the meat in a bowl and another medium plate with the rice. This technique is also widely used in homes.
Picture of Roberto Rodríguez
Chifrijo is a contemporary Costa Rican dish, it has been known to exist since the nineties and its origin is from the bars of the capital San José. It is very common in bars, canteens and restaurants. Its name is made up of the first syllables of its main ingredients: chicharrones, chimichurri(know also as pico de gallo) and bea