Cocina Tradicional Costarricense
Food is an important aspect of Costa Rican culture, and family gatherings and celebrations are often centered around meals.
Costa Rican cuisine is mostly savory and always satisfying. Lacking the spice of Mexican food, Costa Ricans prepare their meals basically from scratch. They have little notion of the processed food industry, having access to fresh produce all year round with veggies and fruit of many kinds, local farmer´s markets every weekend, and bakeries for fresh-baked bread all day long.
The basic diet of Costa Ricans is rice and beans in every meal, with combinations of sautéed or veggie preparations, and some meat. There is some Afro-Caribbean influence in the cuisine of the Atlantic zone, with the use of the milk of freshly grated coconut.
The basic traditional Costa Rican diches include:
- Gallo Pinto. Traditional Costar Rican breakfast. Mixed Rice and Beans stir-friend together served with hand cooked corn tortilla, and a selection of fried plantain, sausage, meat in sauce, sour cream, cheese or eggs.
- Traditional lunch. Freshly cooked beans and rice, served side by side with some type of meat (fish, chicken or pork chops or beef). Picadillos (sautéed chopped veggies), fried sweet plantains, and a fresh salad.
- Olla de Carne. A traditional beef pot and bone hearty soup, with root vegetables like cassava, potatoes, sweet potatoes, green plantain, and corncob.
- Arroz con Pollo. Traditional party or gathering dish. Rice with chunks of chicken breast, corn, green peas, carrot and green beans, condimented with the traditional local Lizano sauce.
- Local appetizer consisting of raw fish and seafood that can include octopus, shrimp, shellfish, tilapia, dorado, and sea bass. The raw seafood is soaked in lemon juice, which «cooks». It is then mixed with seasonings such as coriander, onion, garlic, cilantro, and chiles
- Pico de Gallo. Traditional fresh salsa snack served with tortilla chips.
- Coffee, is one of the largest exports of Costa Rica. It is generally strong and of high quality.
- Agua dulce is a common Tico drink made of raw cane sugar dissolved in hot water
- Batido Fresh chunks of fruit blended in water or milk
- Frescos. Fruit pulp dissolved in cold water are papaya, mango, watermelon, cantaloupe, pineapple, strawberry, blackberry, banana, carrot, tamarind, guanábanaand cas, a sour fruit native to Central America
- Agua de pipa. Literally a green coconut with a straw to drink the water found inside.
- The most commonly served alcoholic drink. Imperial and Pilsen are the two most widely popular brands
Sweets and desserts
Although Costa Ricans don’t have dessert with every meal, which a very healthy tradition. Parties or family gatherings always have the traditional
- Tres Leches, translated to «three milks» in English. It is a angel food wet cake composed primarily of milk, evaporated and condensed milk.
- Fruit salad is another simple, yet traditional, dessert eaten in Costa Rica.
- Arroz con Leche. Rice pudding.