From the homes of locals to fancy international restaurants, authentic Costa Rican food is found most everywhere in this small country. Costa Rica is an agricultural society and as such has meals that rely on a fresh supply of local produce. Staple ingredients include meat (chicken, pork, and beef), fish, rice, beans, plantains, and tortillas.
Known as “comida typica” (typical food), this food is served in small restaurants called “sodas.” Locals and foreigners alike gather at sodas to eat and chat—it’s a fun and friendly environment.
You’ll come across “gallo pinto” most everywhere you go. Offered during breakfast, gallo pinto means “spotted rooster” in Spanish, a reference to the speckled appearance of the rice and beans that are served alongside eggs and tortillas. Gallo pinto is a tasty and filling option.
The most notable lunch/dinner dish is the “casado.” This meal includes rice, beans, plantains, meat, and a small salad. The name casado means “marriage” in Spanish. The etymology of this word is widely debated, but most people think that it hints at the “marriage” of its various ingredients.
Costa Rican food isn’t the most unusual food you’ll ever eat, but it is yummy, especially at good restaurants. While traveling in Costa Rica, be sure to sample the country’s many culinary specialties.