Costa Rica Travel - Best Foods to eat in Costa Rica
With all its lush rainforests and picture-perfect beaches, the considerable culinary scene of Costa Rica often gets overlooked. Costa Rican cuisine is not about tacos, quesadillas, and burritos, like its Latin American cousins, but is a perfect blend of comforting, healthy food with a heavy influence of rice and beans. With Latin and Caribbean flavor-bursting fare, this is a sensory experience your taste buds will remember for a long time.
Connect with Costa Rican travel experts who can squeeze a culinary tour into your action-packed itinerary.
Here are some of the not-to-be-missed dishes while exploring the land of Pura Vida.
Editorial copyrights: Merly Diaz Bustamente
Dubbed for whatever the cook can run down for a meal, Rondon is a hearty soup tracing its roots to the Caribbean coast. Though there is some variance in its ingredients, Rondon typically consists of fish along with corn, sweet potato and yucca stirred in coconut milk for hours over a wooden flame. If you prefer it fiery, toss in some Panamanian chilies.
Editorial copyrights: Roberto Rodriguez
A popular Costa Rican dish usually served in bars, Chifrijo is a bowl of rice and black beans topped with fried pork bits, avocado and pico de gallo (tomato salsa combined with onion, cilantro, and lemon). A perfect accompaniment to your ice cold beer, Chifrijo is best had with fresh tortilla chips.
Editorial copyrights: joan
Originally a Peruvian dish, Ceviche occupies a soft spot in the heart of the Costa Rican cooking scene. A perfect delicacy for any seafood lover, Ceviche has its own version in Costa Rica and is usually composed of tiny cubes of fish (local tilapia or white sea bass), red diced onion, cilantro, garlic and hot pepper, all of it marinated in lime juice. The acidic lime juice blends perfectly with the fish meat, giving it a tender and flavorsome taste. Best had with soda crackers or fried plantains.
Oddly translated as “married man”, Casado is one of the famous Costa Rican plates found in almost any soda (small family-owned restaurants in Costa Rica) across the country. While there are all sorts of variations, a typical Casado includes white rice and black beans with salad, fried sweet plantain, and a protein ingredient - either fish fillet, grilled chicken or a pork slice, mixed with sautéed onions. Some of the Casado versions also come with a slice of cheese, French fries or grilled vegetables, which makes it an entire meal hugely loved by the Costa Ricans.
Olla de Carne
Originating from the finest of Costa Rican food traditions, Olla de Carne is a nutrient-rich beef stew, similar to a pot beef roast. This slow-cooked food is packed with chunks of beef, potatoes, yucca, carrots, chayote (Costa Rican squash) and green plantains. Widely found on the menus of most restaurants, this nourishing stew is a must-try.
Editorial copyrights: Chris Goldberg
Given the abundance of green plantains in Costa Rica, Patacones are served as appetizers, peeled, sliced and fried crisp. Sprinkled with lime and salt, they are usually accompanied with fried beans, guacamole, and cheese, adding to the delight of vegetarians.
Editorial copyrights: Alessandro
In elevated zones of Central Valley, the temperatures are lower than the rest of country; it is these pleasant climes that makes a bowl of Sopa Negra taste heavenly. A traditional black bean soup, Sopa Negra is composed of garlic cloves, onions and finished with finely chopped coriander. Typically served with hard boiled eggs and corn tortilla, Sopa Negra is a heartwarming stew for the foodie soul.
Editorial copyrights: Marcy
Chorreadas is a Costa Rican concoction of corn pancakes, and makes for a perfect breakfast or mid-afternoon snack along with coffee. Made by mixing mashed kernels of corn with milk and spices, and then poured over a griddle, Chorreadas tastes grand when dribbled with honey and served with natilla cream (similar to a creme brule).
Editorial copyrights: Pedro
Another scrumptious snack in Costa Rica’s food universe, Chicharrones are usually found at fiestas, family gatherings and similar celebrations throughout the country. Paying little attention to fat content, Chicharonnes are heavenly chunks of juicy fried pork garnished with spices like cayenne and paprika to make it savory. It is so well-loved in the country that an annual Chicharrones fair is held in the town of Puriscal.
No Costa Rica food list can be complete without mentioning Gallo Pinto, also touted as the national dish of the country. Traditionally served as a breakfast, but also had at lunch, Gallo Pinto is a marriage of rice and beans with onions, red peppers and cilantro. Add-ons include eggs, fried chips, and corn tortillas.
Tempting enough? Start planning your itinerary with a travel expert here that will include a guided tour of these mouth-watering delights.