3 Delicious Dishes You Should Try When Visiting in Costa Rica

February 4, 2015 Updated: April 23, 2016

Right now, there are plenty of people planning their vacation packages to Costa Rica; and one of the things that most people care about when traveling is the cuisine of the country they are going to visit. Each place has its own cuisine style and it’s important to know more about it before you decide to spend some days in a place where definitely you will have to eat.

If you are planning a trip to Costa Rica, there are some important things you should know about the local cuisine. What do they eat for breakfast? What is the most popular dish for lunch? How they combine rice and beans depending on the region? Well, these and some other questions may find an answer in this article.

First thing you have to know is that they eat a lot of fruits and vegetables. This is obviously not surprising, as agriculture is one of its main industries of the country and the exportation of fruits such as pineapple and banana is an important source of income. This is the reason why they have salads in almost every meal and natural juices made of tropical fruits such as star fruit, blackberry and passion fruit, among others, are very popular in the country.

Besides this, it’s also important for you to know that some restaurants have their own organic gardens where they cultivate some vegetables such as lettuce, tomatoes, carrots, and some spices and herbs such as peppermint and cilantro. This is an amazing practice as it means that all the products they use to prepare the meals are fresh and free of chemical products.

Also, depending on the region you visit, the cuisine has its variations. For example, if you are visiting the coasts you will find a lot of dishes made of fresh fish. Ceviche, for example, is a very popular appetizer and it is made combining fresh raw fish marinated in lime juice with finely diced herbs. In Costa Rica, ceviche is made with local tilapia or white sea bass and cilantro, garlic, hot pepper, onion, and celery.

Top 3 Costa Rican dishes you should try

Well, ceviche was a bonus! Now, we are going to talk a little about the 3 dishes you shouldn’t miss while you are in Costa Rica (spoiler alert: you will be hungry when you finish reading):

Gallo Pinto

Gallo Pinto is the typical dish for breakfast in the country. It’s very simple to prepare it and you will see it in every single restaurant you go in the mornings. Gallo Pinto is the result of rice and beans mixed together with diced onion, pepper and cilantro; and it’s often served with scrambled or fried eggs, cheese, sausages and bread or tortillas.

Of course, a cup of one of the best coffees of the world, is the perfect combination for this delightful breakfast.

Casado

Casado is the word in Spanish for married man; and it’s also the name of the most popular dish for lunch. It’s made with portions of rice, beans, fried plantains, a choice of meat between chicken, fish, pork or steak, and of course a salad (sometimes made of lettuce and some others with cabbage, tomato, onion, cucumber, etc.). Also, there are some places where they will serve the casado with a fried egg, a slice of cheese or a tortilla.

A natural juice is the perfect combination for this dish.

Rice and Beans

What? There is a dish named rice and beans? Well, yes. In the Caribbean side of Costa Rica, there is a delicious meal prepared mixing rice and beans with a sauce made with coconut milk, ginger and Panamanian pepper; and it’s accompanied with a piece of chicken or fish, fried plantain and salad.

As you could see, rice and beans are very popular in Costa Rica! But of course, this article is about local cuisine, you will find international food restaurants throughout the country.