When you think of Costa Rica, food might not be one of the first things that come to mind. Despite this, it is one of the great culinary options in Latin America. In this article, we go over 10 of the best Costa Rica food options.
10 Best Costa Rican Food Treats
1 – Tamales
You’ve probably had tamales before. Well, the Costa Rican version of them has its own twist. They are much more popular during the Christmas holiday season.
This video gives some background information on the delicious Costa Rican tamales:
2 – Plantains
Plantains are very much like large bananas. I actually thought they were fried bananas until recently. Plantains differ from bananas in that they cannot be eaten raw.
Of course, Costa Ricans have their own twist on plantains. They are delicious as either a dessert or a side dish with a meal.
Here is a recipe for patacones (plantains):
3 – Rice and Beans
If you know anything about Latin American food, you know that rice and beans are a big-time option. The Costa Rican version of this has Jamaican and Spanish influence.
The dish is made with white rice and red beans cooked in coconut milk and Panamanian pepper. It may seem very simple, but do not underestimate it. Is is a very flavorful dish.
4 – Ceviche
Ceviche is a raw fish dish. The Costa Rican version of ceviche adds in peppers and is often served with soda crackers and lettuce. This is different from many other version of ceviche as it is very common for lemon or lime juice to be used.
5 – Tres Leches Cake
It’s time for another dessert! As you can tell, Costa Rican food contains a lot of sweet treats.
Tres leches cake is a great way to finish any Costa Rican meal. It’s unclear where this dish originated, but it is sold all over Central America as well as all over the world.
To learn more about the ingredients in it and how it is prepared, check out this video:
6 – Casado
When you translate Casado it means “married man.” It is perhaps the most popular Costa Rican food dish there is and can be found in just about any restaurant.
So what’s in Casado? The ingredients commonly used are tortillas, black beans, plantains, rice, and salad. You can often find different meats such as beef, fish, chicken, and pork on the plate. Also, some people opt for adding a dash of avocado to the dish.
7 – Batido or Refresco or Natural
No matter which of these names you go with, this is a Costa Rican fruit shake. As you may expect, these are made with fruit and either ice or milk. Commonly either mango or maracuya (passion fruit) are used to make a delicious Batido.
Although this video is not in English, it gives you a great feel for the creation of a mango Batido.
8 – Gallo Pinto
Gallo Pinto is Costa Rica’s national dish. Anywhere you go in the country, you will see it. It is similar to rice and beans as it also contains rice and beans. So what’s the difference? Gallo Pinto does not contain any milk.
Check out this video for a great Gallo Pinto recripe:
9 – Pejibayes
Pejibayes are a Costa Rican fruit. They are a peach palm variety, to be specific. They are very commonly boiled and served with mayonnaise. It’s very common to spot locals as you can find them snacking on pejibayes and drinking coffee.
Here is a video on harvesting, cleaning and cooking pejibayes.
10 – Arreglados
Arreglados could be described as the Costa Rican version of a sandwich. Translated, the word means arranged. Just as you would imagine, it is a stack of meat, cheese and vegetables. Finally, it is topped with a puff pastry made from corn flour.
Costa Rican Street Food
Costa Rican street food is a must-try for anyone visiting the country. The street food scene in Costa Rica offers a wide variety of options that are both delicious and affordable. One of the main advantages of Costa Rican street food is that it is safe to eat, even fresh fruits and vegetables since the water is drinkable. This means that you can indulge in the flavors of the country without worrying about getting sick.
Some of the most popular street food options in Costa Rica include Patacones, which are fried plantains that are crispy and savory, and Taco Tico, a beef and French fry taco that is a must-try. Soups and stews like Sopa Negra, made with black beans and vegetables, and Olla de Carne, a beef stew with vegetables, are also popular options. The casado is the main dish of Costa Rica, consisting of beans, rice, salad, plantains, and a tortilla to go along with a piece of either fish, chicken, or beef.
In Costa Rica, street food can be found everywhere, from food trucks to street vendors and markets. Some of the best street food markets and stalls can be found in San Jose, the capital city of Costa Rica. The Central Market in San Jose is a must-visit for foodies, offering a wide variety of street food options. The market is also a great place to try traditional Costa Rican dishes like Chifrijo, a dish made with rice, beans, pork, and avocado. Overall, street food offers a part of Costa Rican cuisine that should not be missed out on.
Costa Rican Desserts
Costa Rican desserts are known for their rich and indulgent flavors. The country’s cuisine is influenced by a variety of cultures, including Spanish, African, and indigenous, which has resulted in a unique blend of sweet treats and desserts. One of the most popular desserts in Costa Rica is Tres Leches cake, a sponge cake soaked in three types of milk (evaporated, condensed, and whole milk) and topped with whipped cream. This cake is a staple at celebrations and is considered the national dessert of Costa Rica.
Another popular dessert in Costa Rica is Arroz con Leche, a creamy rice pudding made with cinnamon, sugar, and milk. This dessert is often served cold and is a refreshing treat on hot days. Costa Rican cuisine also features a variety of fruit-based desserts, such as Chiverre Empanadas, which are fried pastries filled with a sweet squash filling, and Carambola Pie, a tart made with starfruit and a buttery crust.
Arroz con Leche
Coconut is a common ingredient in Costa Rican desserts, and one of the most popular coconut-based desserts is Coconut Flan. This dessert is a tropical custard tart made with eggs, condensed milk, vanilla, fresh shredded coconut, and evaporated milk. The batter is poured into a caramel-lined dish and then baked until golden brown. Another coconut-based dessert is Cajeta de Coco, a sweet coconut candy made with coconut milk, sugar, and cinnamon.
In addition to these traditional desserts, Costa Rica is also home to a variety of modern and fusion desserts. For example, Churros are a popular dessert that originated in Spain but have become a favorite in Costa Rica. These fried dough pastries are often served with a side of chocolate sauce for dipping. Other modern desserts include ice cream and gelato shops that offer unique flavors like passionfruit, guava, and mango.
Costa Rican desserts are a delicious and indulgent treat that should not be missed. Whether you’re looking for something traditional or modern, sweet or fruity, there is a dessert in Costa Rica that will satisfy your cravings.
FAQ Section about Costa Rican Food
What are some delicious Costa Rican foods?
Some delicious Costa Rican foods include gallo pinto (rice and beans), casado (a typical plate of food with rice, beans, salad, fried sweet plantains, and a protein), ceviche (raw fish marinated in citrus juices), and arroz con pollo (chicken and rice).
What are some traditional dishes in Costa Rica?
Some traditional dishes in Costa Rica include gallo pinto (rice and beans), casado (a typical plate of food with rice, beans, salad, fried sweet plantains, and a protein), and chifrijo (a dish made with rice, beans, pork, and pico de gallo).
What is a typical Costa Rican breakfast?
A typical Costa Rican breakfast is gallo pinto (rice and beans) with eggs, fried plantains, and often a side of cheese or sour cream.
What is the most popular traditional Costa Rican dish?
The most popular traditional Costa Rican dish is arguably gallo pinto (rice and beans). It is a staple food that is commonly eaten for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
What is the history of traditional Costa Rican dishes?
Traditional Costa Rican dishes are a mix of indigenous Mesoamerican food cultures centered around corn as the main ingredient and techniques from African, Asian, and European cuisines. Over time, these influences have combined to create the unique and delicious Costa Rican cuisine that we know today.