Typical Costa Rican food, which includes rice and beans as a part of all three meals a day, is served in small, informal restaurants called sodas. Anywhere you travel in Costa Rica you will see many sodas alongside the road. Sodas are small, open air restaurants and are often adjacent to the owner’s house providing a unique taste of Costa Rican culture along with a tasty meal.
Gallo pinto is a typical breakfast that consists of a mixture of rice and beans often seasoned with a little onion and green pepper. Eggs, a meat and a tortilla complete the gallo pinto. For lunch or dinner a popular choice is the special of the day that is called a casado and consists of rice and beans, cabbage and tomato salad, fried plantains, and either chicken, fish or meat.
Bocas are Costa Rica’s version of appetizers that you will find served in bars with drinks and as starters in many restaurants. Gallos (tortillas filled with meat, chicken, cheese, or beans), tamales, patacones (fried plantains) and fried yuca are typical bocas.
Having two coasts means that fresh seafood is plentiful, especially fish. Corvina (sea bass) and pargo (red snapper) are two types of fish found on many menus. Dorado ( mahi mahi) and fresh tuna are also often available.
Many will say that the ceviche in Costa Rica is the freshest in the world. There are roadside stands throughout the country that sell ceviche, made from fish caught overnight and then prepared in the morning. Costa Rican ceviche has a secret ingredient, just a bit of ginger ale, that gives the normally tart dish a little hint of sweetness.
Some of the more unique vegetables found in Costa Rica include; plátanos, yuca and pejibaye. Ripe plátanos fried and served as a side dish will definitely appeal to your sweet tooth. Fried yuca is a tasty alternative to french fries. The pejibaye is a form of palm fruit that is boiled and eaten alone or with a bit of mayonnaise. Boiled pejibayes are often sold from street carts.
Costa Rica has a wealth of colorful and delicious tropical fruits. The most common are mangoes (the season begins in May), papayas, pineapples, melons, and bananas. Other fruits include marañón, the fruit of the cashew tree and has orange or yellow glossy skin; granadilla or maracuyá (passion fruit), mamón chino, the bright red fruit that looks like a bit like an alien; and carambola (star fruit).
Pipa fria is the freshest and purest coconut water you will ever enjoy. Roadside stands sell chilled pipas that come along with a bit of entertainment. The vendor deftly uses a large machete to cut the top off the pipa and insert a straw so that you can drink right from the coconut.
Another very popular type of beverages are frescos, refrescos, and jugos naturales. These drinks are a mixture of either water or milk and one of the many types of fresh fruit found in Costa Rica (papaya, mango, pineapple passion fruit, guanabana or starfruit, to name a few). Refrescos are sometimes included with typical meals.
Costa Rica is known for coffee and has a wide array of local brands to suit a variety of tastes. Beans are grown in various locations contributing to the uniqueness of the various coffees. A chorreador is a Costa Rican coffee making device where hot water is poured over coffee grounds to make a cup of coffee. You are likely to find the chorreador used in sodas throughout the country.
There is another morning beverage, agua dulce, or sweet water in English. It is made from melted sugar cane and served alone or with milk or lemon.
Costa Rican beers include the brand names; Bavaria, Imperial and Pilsen. A michelada is a very popular drink for a hot day. It is beer over ice and with a generous amount of lime juice added and salt around the rim of the glass. Microbreweries are beginning to have a presence in Costa Rica and offer additional varieties of beer.
Guaro is known as the national liquor. It is a cane liquor often mixed with either tonic water or a soft drink. For some it is enjoyed as a shot followed by a bite into a fresh lime covered in salt. Centenario Rum is a popular locally brewed liquor and there is also a variety of locally produced coffee flavored liquors.
You will also find many options for fine dining available in Costa Rica. Ojochal, in the Southern Zone of Costa Rica, is known as one of the finest culinary destinations in the country. It offers an amazing array of restaurants and cuisines not to be missed when you visit the area. There are choices of Mediterranean, French, Italian, Mexican, Thai and Indonesian cuisine along with a number of typical sodas described in this article
Yes, Costa Rica is the land of rice and beans, but do not miss out on the fresh tropical fruits, locally grown vegetables, freshly caught seafood and internationally inspired cuisine also available. There is something for every palate in the land of Pura Vida.
Contact the Osa Topical Properties team for to further explore Costa Rica. We would be honoured to help you find your piece of paradise.