Costa Rica foods and beverages are fresh, tasty and as diverse as the country itself. Our young writer Emilio gives you this insider’s guide that will help families to decide in every single menu throughout your trip!
One of the things that worry all kids when we go abroad is what are we going to eat. And no. It is not about if we want McDonalds or Kentucky, I don’t even like fast foods. I’d rather eat, for example, fresh seafood. But certain flavors are either too sharp, or too spicy and, well! Yes! Let’s face it! It is not easy for a kid or a teenager to say no to food without consequence.
So, thinking about people like me, I thought about the food in Costa Rica, that can be very varied depending on where you are. And which are the main things that you should try that won’t make you wrinkle the face.
Gallo Pinto is the base of the Costa Rica food and diet. In any Costa Rican house, from rags to riches you will find a pot of black or red beans and white rice. Some people eat it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner and here you can find a recipe of how to cook a great Gallo Pinto.
It is always cooked with Lizano is a condiment sauce that all Costa Ricans love to eat with Gallo Pinto, and that is as well used in the making of Gallo Pinto. It is also cooked with onion, garlic, and sweet pepper.
Gallo Pinto is eaten in different styles all throughout Latina America and the South of the United States (Hoppin John’), as it was first cooked by the African slaves and depending on where you are the name changes. (Find in the list our Caribbean version of it
Patacones are fried green plantains; they are very common in the Caribbean and the North of Costa Rica. They are one of my favorite foods!
The way to make them is with green (unripe) sweet plantains, which are peeled, sliced width-wise, and then fried for one to two minutes on each side until they are golden in color, and removed and patted to remove excess cooking oil. Afterward, they are pounded flat with a hinged utensil made for the task, or any kitchen appliance that has a large enough flat surface, for instance between two plates. The flattened plantain slices are then fried once again until they are crisp and golden brown.
They are usually eaten with mashed beans or one thousand islands sauce.
Its origin is also from the African slaves that came to the Americas, and they are eaten all throughout Latin America and the Caribbean.
3. Coconut Water
We call green coconuts “pipas” and inside they have clear sweet tasted water. You can find it in the Pacific-Coast beaches, Caribbean-Coast and even on San José. And you can also eat the inside.
Fresh coconuts are typically harvested from the palm tree while they are green. A hole may be bored into the coconut to give way to the water and meat.
Tortillas are made with white maize dough. There are commercial tortillas that are bought in the supermarkets and the most delicious that we call “tortilla palmeada” Palmed tortilla, made by hand and cooked in a special pan called “comal.”
There are a lot of varieties of tortillas in Costa Rica, like cheese tortillas, you can find them in Cartago, Heredia, and Alajuela. The tortillas vary from place to place. In Guanacaste, they are quite big while in the Central Valley they are very small.
5. Agua Dulce
For many years Agua Dulce was the second alternative as a hot beverage and after chocolate and later on, after coffee. So much to the point that in many Costa Rican homes they used to call it “bebida.” It is made from the sugar cane juice boiled until it is hardened in places called “trapiches.” The hardened sugar cane juice is put in molds, and it is made into what we call “tapa de dulce” (A circular mold made of hardened sugar juice is a tapa).
The tapa is usually bought in the town markets, and the way to make agua dulce is to take a little chunk of the tapa, and boil it in the water as you can see in the video above.
The Agua de Sapo is the Caribbean version of Agua Dulce, it has lemon, ginger and it is served cold.
6. Rice ´N´ Beans
Rice “N” Beans is, again, rice and beans cooked in coconut milk. And it is commonly found on the Caribbean Coast. You can see its preparation in the video above.
It is delicious and usually served with Caribbean chicken, also cooked in coconut milk. Usually, it is spicy, and sometimes they add hot chile to it.
Costa Rican coffee is famous all around the world, Costa Rica is a great producer of coffee, Costa Rican coffee is said to be one of the best in the world as Costa Rica is the single country in the world where it is illegal to produce any sort of coffee other than 100% Arabica—the highest quality of coffee beans.
This corn and cheese delicacies are found everywhere in Guanacaste and some parts of Puntarenas. Made with maize dough and cheese and baked in the oven.
- Arroz con frijoles. (2016, 28 de Octubre). Wikipedia, La enciclopedia libre. Fecha de Consulta: 17:52, Enero 26, 2017 desde https://es.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Arroz_con_frijoles&oldid=94611253
- Tostones. (2017, January 23). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 18:28, January 26, 2017, from https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Tostones&oldid=761624339
- Corn tortilla. (2017, January 20). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 18:46, January 26, 2017, from https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Corn_tortilla&oldid=760950379
- (2017, no-date). Agua Dulce. [Weblog]. Retrieved 26 January 2017, from http://recetasdecostarica.blogspot.com/2009/05/agua-dulce.html .
- (2017, no-date). 5 Reasons why Costa Rican coffee is the best. [Weblog]. Retrieved 26 January 2017, from http://www.cafebritt.com/experience-britt/coffee-101/5-reasons-why-Costa-rican-coffee-is-the-best .
Written by Emilio Hernández Chavarría for Camino Travel.
Emilio is a young writer for Camino Travel. However, and even if he is almost 12, he has already traveled around the World and extensively throughout Costa Rica and has developed a criterion that mixes his local knowledge and the perceptions of a family boy in his trips, creating articles that will be helpful for anyone traveling with kids and teens.
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