Please describe "typical Costa Rican food"

Old Jun 28th, 2005, 07:32 AM
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Please describe "typical Costa Rican food"

What is "typical Costa Rican" food? I know it's a broad question, but please try to educate me. If you stopped in a little roadside restaurant, what would likely be on the menu? If you were in a touristy area, what would likely be on the menu?
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Old Jun 28th, 2005, 08:07 AM
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It really depends on where you will be. In some touristy areas, you will have fast food restaurants, in the northwest, Guanacaste area, I found because it was a big cattle area that alot of places seemed to carry steaks or beef. Rice and beans are a staple everywhere as well, but you will find all types of spanish/mexican food that to me was good.
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Old Jun 28th, 2005, 09:14 AM
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Your answer, missypie, is getting closer. I don't claim to have the perfect answer on this one...

Search here for the word soda or sodas. These are the roadside restaurants that are seemingly everywhere.

Juicy, smoky, Chicken or beef, rice, beans, lightly fried or seared platinos, heart of palm with vinaigrette, Coke, Imperial beer... I'm getting hungry.
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Old Jun 28th, 2005, 09:47 AM
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Gallo Pinto is a typical breakfast (and very, very yummy IMO), it consists of eggs, black beans & rice, usually tortillas and sometimes cheese & sour cream. A variation for lunch is the casado (also yummy!) which is more black beans & rice, tortillas, a meat such as beef or chicken, usually a small salad and plantains and sometimes a black bean paste. Try some fried yucca, tastes just like french fries! In a touristy area you can find pretty much the same things you find at home.
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Old Jun 28th, 2005, 06:35 PM
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I thought gallo pinto was the name of just the rice and beans dish? I know huevos revueltos is scrambled eggs. Anyhow, that's on target for typical Costa Rican food. Ten years ago that was all you could get to eat in Costa Rica period, and I was so tired of casados by the end of my vacation. Now I'm happy to report they have "normal" food you'd find anywhere at most restaurants--i.e. ham and cheese sandwich, pasta, hamburgers, etc.
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Old Jun 28th, 2005, 06:58 PM
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Gallo Pinto is beans, rice, onion, bell peppers, cilantro, and salsa lizano. It's server for breakfast, lunch and dinner. It's the national meal of Costa Rica.

I've had some of the best pizza I've ever tasted in Costa Rica!
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Old Jun 30th, 2005, 12:50 PM
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Hi,
Typical Costa Rician Food:

First, start with beans and rice.
No gravy, just pain rice. Some areas of the country use black beans and others use a red bean.

At lunch, "Casado" is the way to order your food. A "Casado" is a marriage of beans, rice, a salad (usually made of cabbage with a tomato slice on top) and some sort of other vegetable. Chayote (a green squash type vegetable generally made into a hash with corn and a little onions). These items all make up the plate of "Casado" ..... we would think of it as the "Plate of the day." YOU get to choose the meat.
You may usually have grilled chicken,roast beef, fish or a pork chop. You order like this:
Casado con pollo..... Give me the plate of the day, with chicken. Or Casado con carne en salsa.... Give me the plate of the day with roast beef.
You will not have a huge portion of meet.

Sometimes, you get the drink included in your Casado. That is almost always fruit juices. In water, or in milk.
For example: Mango en agua. Or Mango en leche. Mango juice in water or in milk. The price difference is tiny!

Guananaba is good. Soursop (sp?) A huge green fruit with prickly little things outside and a watermelon look inside but white. Like Peach a little. Good, very sweet. In milk or in water.

So now you have the Casado.... desert?
Flan (custard.... with or without coco, coconut) 3 milks. Tres Leches. Yummy yellow cake with 3 different milks poured over it and a sweet icing.
Tiramisu (need a spelling class in English) Not many choices for desert.

Taco.... not like Taco Bell, but comes fried, with cabbage type coleslaw, mayo and catchup over it.

Now, about those beans and rice.
BIG huge pot. Cooks for hours. Lots of left overs for breakfast. Put the beans and rice together, add a little Lizano sauce (A1 type thing) and some chopped onions, some add a little bell pepper. AWESOME. Gallo Pinto. Spotted Rooster. No poultry in the thing, but that is what it is called.

I am sure you won't want to gain any weight on your trip but the Natilla or sour cream in Costa Rica is runny, probably not fattening at all. So, order some sour cream, that might bring a piece of french bread.... dip it.... add it to the Pinto.... with coffee !!!!!!!!!

What's a Gallo? It's a bite.

Tortilla... small one, like we have in U.S. grocery stores up north. About maybe 4 inches. with maybe a little cabbage.... and a piece of sausage, chorizo, or a piece of wierd hot dog, salchicha, or a little of that roast beef... carne en salsa.

Prinsa: Just a bite. Two tortillas with a piece of white cheese inbetween, grilled.

Don't forget to ask for La cuenta! The bill will be less than $5. Casado, can be as little as $2.50.

There, you can eat everywhere..... that is the same food they serve every day of the year except Christmas. If you are going at Christmas, e-mail me.... that's extensive!

HOP
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Old Jun 30th, 2005, 05:33 PM
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Bravo!

By the way, Taco Bell is like nothing else. I was glad to see your comparison. I'm told the only thing real about Taco Bell is the marketing.
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Old Jul 2nd, 2005, 11:09 AM
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I love the creamy soups they have. My favorite is the chayote which is a type of squash. chayote origionated in mexico but has taken hold in costa rica as well. I am thrilled when I can find it in the states. very mild tasting.

the white pineapple....I kept looking for it when I got home but could only find the yellow. what a difference! It is not a commercial fruit yet in that it is not exported.

Cheryl mentioned the guanabana....wow is it sweet! so good but not easy to find. a homestay that I did had them growing in the yard but they weren't ripe, bummer .

the milk drinks with fruit. I personally like the blackberry. Mora con leche.

Pizza in costa rica can be wonderful. Pizza marguerite is my favorite. Often it is cooked in a brick oven. reminds me of little italy back east where I grew up.

empanadas are found in the little local places. I don't care for the costa rican empanadas but if you find an argentine restaurant they are pretty good.

The touristy areas would have some of the above mentioned as well as vegetarian and lots of international type dishes in the nicer restaurants. seems like many of the higher end hotels/lodges and restaurants are in competition for the best gourmet food in the area.
believe it or not you can even find Pizza Hut and KFC. Hamburgers, yes even mc donalds. fortunately those places are few and far between.

do ask about the beef tenderloin. It can be very good or very bad. there is a way that the locals fix it where it is hammered down to a pancake thickness and is very tough. Other places like el novillo in the arenal area have wonderful garlic soaked thick cut tenderloins-very inexpensive.

Fish is a common entre in most places. Often, in the coastal hotels it is fresh caught by the guests.

bon apetit
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