Typical Costa Rica Foods with Recipes
The literal translation of Costa Rica is rich coast and when it comes to food, it lives up to its name. While visiting, we suggest focusing on the traditional goodies the country has to offer. Costa Rica caters to tourists with foods they are familiar. In most places you can buy a cheeseburger or have a pizza, but we think you may be missing out with these options. There is something special about immersing yourself in another countries culture, and food plays a large part in that experience.
Typical Costa Rican cuisine is fairly mild, with rice and beans an important staple of the cuisine served with each meal. Inspired by other Latin America cuisine, it stands out as healthier, as it highly relies on fresh fruits and vegetables. The traditional dishes of the country are a comfort food and found in any grandmother’s recipe list. Served at family-owned restaurants known as sodas, these tasty treats may be your favorite part of visiting or living in Costa Rica.
If you are visiting Costa Rica and haven’t tried Gallo Pinto, then you didn’t do justice to the food there. Gallo Pinto is the traditional food of Costa Rica. Basically, a breakfast meal it is a blend of rice, beans, red peppers, cilantro and onions. The meal is served with eggs, fried cheese, corn tortillas and sweet plantains. Yum! The meal is full of energy to get you through the day.
SOPA NEGRA (BLACK BEAN SOUP)
Most think of Costa Rica as a normally hot place overall, but some areas such as the central valley, have a moderate temperature which can be chilly. There, they serve a black bean soup, served with two hard boiled eggs, a cup of rice and corn tortillas. Abundant in proteins and carbs, not only is it a delicious meal, it is also served to those under the weather to boost their health.
Arroz Con is another traditional dish in Costa Rica, made with rice, chicken, vegetables and seafood. The dish has annatto (derived from tropical fruit), that makes the rice yellow, then added in are vegetables like peas, carrots, bell peppers and celery. In Spanish the word “con” means “with”, this is where the customer decides what type of meat or vegetables to add. A flavorful dish because of the variety of ingredients, it is rich in carbs and fat.
Again, starting with a base of rice and beans, Casado adds finely chopped bell peppers, onions, fried plantains, and a cabbage salad with carrot and tomato. It usually contains a grilled or sautéed meat, which is a choice between chicken, fish, pork or steak, along with grilled onions.
OLLA DE CARNE
For meat lovers, Olla de Carne is the best treat for the taste buds. It is a slow-cooked stew packed with flavorful and rich ingredients. The stew comprises chunks of beef, potatoes, sweet potatoes, sweet and green plantains, carrots, chayote and yucca. This dish is a hearty, rich meal filled with flavor and taste, for when those hunger pangs strike.
Costa Rican Tamales are similar to Mexican Tamales, but in Costa Rica are often less spicy than their Mexican counterparts. They consist of a dough called masa which is steamed in the banana leaf instead of in a corn wrap, which gives a slightly different flavor than what you may be used to. The filling inside can consist of meat, cheese, vegetables, chilies, and fruits. They are often paired with beans and can be served as a meal or as an appetizer.
Patacones are deep fried heaven for people who love fried food. It is served as a snack or paired with other food and is made by frying flat plantains twice. Made from unripe green plantains, the fruits are peeled, sliced, smashed and fried two times until they are crisp and golden brown. Sometimes served with mashed black beans or an avocado dip, they make a great appetizer.
FLAN DE COCO
For a great desert, Flan de Coco is a variation of typical flan, made around the world. The custard like dessert is made by mixing the milk, vanilla, sugar and eggs, cooked in pan lined with caramel. The difference in Costa Rica, is the addition of coconut, making it a tasty local desert.
ARROZ CON LECHE
For people with a sweet tooth, Arroz con Leche serves well. The dessert is best described as rice mixed in milk, but the taste is not as plain as it sounds, the taste flavorfully combines lemon zest, sugar, salt and cinnamon sticks. Give it a try, for its sweet, yet natural healthy flavor.