Visiting a country is not all about the the sight seeing and the location, is also about the food. A lot of travelers will visit a country thinking ahead of the food they will have and the restaurants they will visit. Something certain is that we all experience with our senses, we see, we hear, we touch and we taste. Each of these senses will transport us to far lands and will trigger our memories.Each country around the world has their own flavors, dishes, trends and traditional foods. For all food lovers like me, food plays a major role of the experience when visiting a certain country. We all know about Italian cuisine, famous for pastas and pizzas or what about France? all the love for cheese and wine. Everywhere that you go from China with their noodles to India with their curries, food takes you through a taste bud journey!
So what is the journey that Costa Rica will take you? Lets explore their gastronomy and lets tantalize our taste buds.Costa Rica’s cuisine is known for being flavorful, yet fairly mild, with high reliance on fresh fruit and vegetables. Rice and beans are a major staple of all traditional dishes as well as corn based meals. So what exactly are Costa Rican dishes? let me explain in some of the most traditional dishes of Costa Rica:
Gallo Pinto: translates to “spotted rooster” is consider the national dish of this country. Is made by mixing rice and beans with some bell pepper and onions and is served for breakfast. This dish is accompanied by egg, ham or cheese. A really hearty breakfast to start the day!
Casado: translates to “married” is served in every households of the country for lunch. This dish consists in rice, beans a vegetable stew, salad, meat and fried plantain. Is a very healthy and wholesome meal!
Tortilla: is the basic accompaniment for all dishes. Is like bread for the french. Tortilla is made with corn and the ticos will eat them with practically anything. People would often fill tortillas with whatever they are eating and eat it in the form of a “gallo”, direct translation: “rooster”, resembling soft Mexican taco.
Tamal: When the weather starts to change mid- November in Costa Rica, it is a sure sign that the holidays are coming. Ticos begin to get ready for the massive preparation of the tamal a delicacy of native origins. The tamal consists of corn dough cooked with spices and filled with a variety of vegetables from carrots to potatoes and stewed pork meat, wrapped in plantain leaves and then boiled in hot water. This tradition will bring the family together and neighbors and friends will gather together to eat tamales.
Drinks: having tropical weather has a great advantage and that is having fresh fruit all year round. Costa Rica favorite drink for lunch time is called “frescos” and consist of liquefied fruits diluted in either water or milk and sweetened to taste. Coffee is essential as well, ticos surely love their coffee. Is common to have coffee for breakfast and then in the afternoon around 3:00pm accompanied by friends and some sweets. Finally horchata, a rice based drink mixed with vanilla and cinnamon, a refreshing drink for hot summer days.
There you have it, the most traditional dishes of this beautiful country. Costa Rica’s food is delicious and caters to many different tastes, on the contrary to many believes, Costa Rica’s food is not spicy at all. The main ingredients are a lot of fresh ingredients like vegetables, spices like cilantro and oregano and the main ingredient that shouldn’t be missed in any cuisine is “love”! So make sure you come and try some gallo pinto with coffee or a flavorful casado for lunch.