With its name encompassing a sentiment of ‘The Rich Coast’, green sprouts without an effort in Costa Rica. Agriculture is still the most profitable industry in the nation, understandably so. The traditional cuisine reflects rich, ever-growing vegetation.
With tourism becoming another profitable industry, it is easy to find international foods, while traveling up and down the pacific coast. Many foreigners have brought tastes from other continents, in their pursuit for less chaos and more relaxation.
Although there are many great restaurants, serving a variety of foods, Costa Rican originals still tend to be our favorites. It is recommended that you taste authenticity, as it represents the freshness eternally exhaled from this beautiful country. Tico are known for incorporating fruits and vegetables in nearly each meal. Most meals also consist of black beans, rice, or both.
Figures, this dish is literally rice and black beans. Let us not dilute your interest though, as it is typically served with breakfast. For people accustomed to English or American breakfast, this will feel rather odd. Believe us, it is worth each bite.
Traditionally, it is slow cooked with cilantro, peppers, garlic, onions, and spice. While it is a mild dish, it is rich with flavor, and in substitute for bread, it pairs well with eggs.
During the mixing process, the delicious dish takes on a different color, as beans make the rice appear spotted. Translated, Gallo Pinto actually means speckled rooster.
Gallo Pinto does not have meat product, as most breakfasts are served vegetarian. With so much vegetation, Costa Ricans do not unnecessarily add many meats; it is usually saved for dinner.
Casado is not a singular dish, but rather a combination of different dishes, served together. Tasting a casado is mandatory. One cannot travel to this piece of the earth without at least trying one heaping plate whose name literally translates to ‘marriage’.
A married plate; a cohesive dining experience. While each local restaurant serves their own variation of casado, most times, a person can assume four things: it will consist of black beans, rice, some type of green salad and plantains. In addition, there might be chicken, pork, fish or cheese, depending upon where you are traveling through. In Costa Rica, it is customary to live off of whatever the land or water around provides.
Look for ‘mom & pop’ shops on the side of winding roads, most frequently called ‘sodas’. These places provide good food at a reasonable price. You can assure it will be freshly cooked, and it might even come with a freshly squeezed juice. Enjoy!
Sopa Negra (black bean soup)
Ticos value soup. One of the most notable of them is Sopa Negra, made from….you guessed it–black beans! It is traditional served as a creamed soup; flavors consiting of converging pureed beans, cream or milk, tomatoes, onions, peppers, hot sauce and cilantro. Sometimes served with an egg overtop, but usually just as is.
Along with black bean soup, Costa Rica knows what they are doing with other types of sopa as well. Most made vegetarian with ripened vegetables, they are great starters, a way to warm you up from the inside out. Some soups might use the extra pieces of pork left over from a dinner earlier on in the weak, as a way to add extra flavor.