Oftentimes people think of taking an ingredient, like a potato or piece of meat, and frying it. Gutierrez' Latin American Street Food, takes an entire dish and fries it. These tacos ticos resemble taquitos, but as you can see, the best part of enjoying them are the toppings.
Click here to see 13 Things You Didn’t Know You Could Fry
* For the cooked meat, simply boil a 1-pound piece of beef roast or flank steak in salted water until it’s cooked through. Cool and shred. Shredded rotisserie chicken works well, too.
- 5 Cups shredded cabbage
- 2 1/2 Cups cooked and shredded beef*
- Mayonnaise, for serving
- 12 warmed corn tortillas
- Vegetable oil, for frying
- Mustard, for serving
- Ketchup, for serving
- 1 1/2 Teaspoon salt
Calories Per Serving208
Folate equivalent (total)15µg4%
20 Mouthwatering Costa Rican Dishes You Have To Try
If you’re curious as to what exactly Costa Rican food is like, check out this post. We included 20 of our favorite Costa Rican dishes and recommendations for our favorite local restaurants called sodas.
Since Yeison is Costa Rican, I’ve had the privilege to try a lot of different Costa Rican dishes. So here are our favorite Costa Rican dishes that we highly recommend. Additionally, the best part about eating at a Costa Rican soda is that it’s usually much cheaper than eating at a touristic restaurant!
Good eats: Costa Rica’s best bar food
Costa Rican cuisine has an unfortunate reputation for being bland, boring and uninspired. Some Gringos think that Tico food is just rice and beans, fried chicken and starchy plantains. This is unjustified and unfortunate, and in fact, there are many traditional dishes that are unique and enjoyable. Comida típica (traditional cooking) which includes such dishes as olla de carne, tortilla aliñada and pescado entero (pot of meat, cheese tortilla and whole fish) is not only delicious, but also intriguing. These typical foods are more laborious to prepare and are not as commonly found on menus. They may also be suffering from competition with Gringo fast food.
A good way to explore the more interesting and varied side of Costa Rican cooking is to start with bar food. Tantalizing and unusual, small dishes (bocas) are there for the tasting in countless small establishments around the country. You don’t even have to commit to a large meal to try them out. Remember that part of the fun is that they are a little different every place you go: Be adventuresome! You should consider your research into this topic a service to culture and humanity.
The offerings are endless and varied. Many bar-restaurants offer very complete menus, including half portions of regular meals along with standard side dishes. Following are a few of my favorite bocas:
Chifrijo – In my humble opinion, chifrijo is the king of Tico bar food. A good chrifrijo will attract a steady crowd of eager patrons. Even confirmed teetotalers will sneak into a disreputable gin mill to enjoy the culinary delights of this dish.
It is the only boca that I am aware of that has had a patent taken out by its inventor, Miguel Ángel Cordero. He developed this heavenly recipe in the 1990s at his bar and restaurant (Cordero’s) in Tibás, just north of San José. Chifrijo is uniquely Costa Rican.
The name was suggested by one of the first customers to try it and is a composite of “chi” and “frijo,” the first three letters of three ingredients (chicharrón, chile and chimichurri) and frijo, from frijol.
It is a layered dish, so proportion and structure are important. Harmony among the component layers is critical. Chifrijo is constructed in a bowl as follows:
A foundation of white rice is laid down on the bottom of the bowl.
Next comes a thick layer of cooked savory beans. Originally frijoles tiernos, or red beans, were used, but frijoles cubaces (large beans) are sometimes used as well. The beans are cooked in spices and are the heart of the dish.
The beans are crowned with a portion of chicharrón. Commonly, this is the Costa Rican version of chicharrón, small, cooked pieces of meat (chicharrón de posta). Chicharrón crocante (or chicharrón de pellejo) is the crispy pork skin which may also be used.
The meat is then smothered in chimichurri or pico de gallo, a chopped blend of tomato, cilantro, onion, sweet pepper and lime juice.
Tortilla chips are served on the side or tucked into the sides of the bowl.
Additionally, there may be a topping of jalapeño pepper or slices of avocado. Along with this plate, you will invariably be offered a chilera. This is a homemade concoction of chopped hot peppers, carrots, cauliflower, onions, green beans and sweet peppers that have been pickled in vinegar for several weeks. Don’t let an unattractive, well-used container put you off this treat. Use the spoon in the jar to scoop out some chunks of spicy vegetables. Tabasco sauce is also commonly used. Chifrijo itself is not picante (spicy hot), but you are free to turn up the temperature.
As with all bar food, variety in ingredients, size and presentation is the norm. Commonly, a bar will offer two sizes of chifrijo, a smaller bowl as a boca and a larger version that makes a decent light dinner.
Ceviche – Chifrijo may be king, but ceviche is the standard by which Tico bar food is judged. It is a dish popular over a wide area of the world, especially Central and South America. Perú considers it part of its national heritage and has a holiday in its honor. Costa Ricans are very passionate about their ceviche and it is sold in almost all bars, on the street, at roadside stands and in bulk at seafood outlets. You can even buy ceviche in sealed plastic bags in liquor stores and supermarkets. If you find yourself in an establishment that does not offer it, you may want to reconsider your choice of watering holes.
The serving dishes and portions vary widely. Some places offer a small glass while most serve it in a small bowl. Some even have the option of a medium-sized dish that, with chips or crackers, will prove a heartier snack.
Essentially, ceviche is chopped up raw fish and spices that are “cooked” or pickled in the citric acid of lemon or lime juice. A rough standard recipe:
Cut fresh white fish into small cubes. Many species are used including sea bass, tilapia, marlin, shark, etc. A variety of shrimp, octopus, squid, clams and other seafood can also be added making it mixto. Ceviche made of just shrimp is also popular.
Mince some onion (red is elegant), sweet pepper, cilantro and garlic.
Combine the ingredients and cover them with lemon or lime juice. Add salt and pepper to taste. Cover and keep refrigerated for at least two hours, longer for mixto.
Ceviche is served with tortilla chips or soda crackers. For picante lovers who usually do not like the vinegar base of Tabasco, this is an exception: the vinegar blends wonderfully with the citric base.
Tacos and Gallos – Tico tacos are hard tacos and almost always use a wheat-flour tortilla. They can hold anything in the way of meat, chicken, fish, cheese, beans, etc. Most are made with the tortilla completely rolled around the contents, while others are partially open like taco shells. They are generally fried along with the filling and may have an additional topping of ground beans, cheese, sour cream or salad. Some bars offer fried mini-tacos using corn tortilla wrappers. If you are not a big ketchup and mayo fan, you should stipulate that you would like them on the side.
A boca that generates considerable confusion among visitors is the gallo. This is simply a soft, warm corn tortilla with pieces of chicken or meat inside. Many foreigners make the mistake of thinking that the Costa Rican gallo is a taco. Any Tico will quickly set you straight that the tortilla used in a taco wraps all the way around and overlaps itself, while the tortilla in a gallo folds like a slice of bread the edges come together evenly and must be held upright between the thumb and the forefinger. It resembles a tortilla hammock or sling. If you have a fondness for losing arguments, try telling a local that it’s really a taco. In truth, only one thing matters regarding gallos: they’re delicious.
Huevo de Tortuga – The consumption of huevo de tortuga or turtle egg is controversial. There is a legal harvest of Olive Ridley turtle eggs on the Pacific coast. Only the early nests are raided on the premise that these eggs do not survive the heat of dry season and subsequent waves of nesting females. Another argument for this practice is that it reduces the price of turtle eggs and discourages poaching. It provides income for local residents and has contributed to town improvements.
In fact, demand far exceeds the legal supply and there is a thriving black market for poached eggs. Recently, there was an armed robbery of eggs from a turtle conservation station on the Caribbean coast, where all harvesting is illegal. There are regular reports of poachers being caught transporting large quantities of contraband eggs.
Turtle eggs are traditionally seen as enhancing male virility, so they are consumed almost exclusively by men. The main market also seems to be the Central Valley. Normally, they are served raw with sangrita, a tomato-based drink that may also include orange juice, hot pepper, other fruit or ginger ale. The egg is then swallowed in one gulp.
My opinion: buying illicit drugs supports cartels and terrorism buying turtle eggs promotes illegal poaching and threatens turtle survival. Until they are truly regulated, I will not partake of the leathery little globes.
Patí – Patí is a small pastry filled with a mixture of ground beef, onion, spices and a touch of hot pepper, often the hot Panama chile, all cooked in oil. It is not really very hot, at least not to my picante-loving mouth. You will find them in rectangular and half-round shapes. They are very oily and you will quickly see evidence of this if you buy them in paper.
Patí is another snack like enyucados and burritos that you may have to find near a bar, rather than inside. They are very common street food on the Caribbean coast and you can find them there well into the evening, in small stands with glass cases. Any festival in Limón province will have multiple patí venders. Central Valley bakeries also sell them, usually in small paper bags of two.
Vigorón – Vigorón is a dish centered around a mound of cabbage salad. The cabbage is dressed with a sauce of tomatoes, onions, cilantro and lime juice. Salt, pepper, sugar and cumin may be added to the dressing as well. Arranged around it, usually in a nice star pattern, are long pieces of cooked yuca (cassava) and chicharrón crocante, or crispy pork rinds.
This is a very different plate that can make a fairly good meal. In some countries it is used as a late dinner or a very early breakfast.
Chalupas – This is a messy delight that you should attack with fingers, fork, knife and several reserve napkins. The foundation of a chalupa is a crispy, fried corn tortilla. The superstructure is varied, but often consists of a hearty first layer of ground beans, refried beans in Gringo-speak. The beans are followed by a tier of meat, chicken, cheese or chicharrón. This is crowned by a big pile of lettuce or shredded cabbage, and it will likely be slathered with ketchup and mayo.
Interestingly, the term “refried beans” is a mistaken translation, one that will never be remedied. In fact, the beans are only fried once in the process. The prefix re- in Spanish means a repetition, just as in English. However, the word re is a modifier that means very or well. The proper translation from Mexican Spanish for frijoles re fritos (three words) is really well-fried beans. This problem is moot in Costa Rica as here they are called frijoles molidos or ground beans.
Morcilla – Morcilla is blood sausage, blood pudding (British), moronga (Mexican) or blutwurst (German, older German-American). It is not as popular in Costa Rica as in Spain or Mexico, but you will find it on many bar boca menus. Any source of blood can be used, but pig is by far the most common.
Tico morcilla is milder in taste and less aromatic than other varieties, but still very good. It is usually served chopped up and fried with onions, sweet peppers and other flavorings. You can have it served on rice or in gallos. It is a rich, dark mixture that makes for a comforting and filling meal.
Many people cringe at the thought of eating blood, but travel eating is supposed to be an adventure: Try splitting a plate with a companion or ask for a very small serving. It cannot possibly be worse than the unmentionables that go into hot dogs.
Yuca – Yuca, or cassava, is a common component of bar bocas, as it is in vigorón. However, it warrants some special attention as probably the best belly ballast for imbibing you can find. A little yuca in your system will help you soldier through the toughest pub crawl.
Yuca frita is simply small chunks of yucca, deep fried. It does not take up the oil like French fries and sits very comfortably in your stomach. It is also far tastier, and a small plate can easily be shared by two or more people.
Enyucados are not always sold inside bars, but can often be found nearby in small sodas or stands with glass cases on the street, even well into the evening. This is a fried ball of cassava dough that may have a meaty center. It’s not very greasy and is quite substantial. This delicacy gets my vote for the best street snack or finger food in Costa Rica.
Burritos – A burrito is a fried envelope or packet of wheat tortilla stuffed with beans, meat, cheese, chicken, chicharrón, etc. It can be a bit greasy, but makes a good medium-level snack. Often you will have to satisfy a burrito craving from a stand near the bar of the same sort that sells enyucados.
Condiments – Mayonnaise and ketchup are universally offered and used, liberally, on almost everything. Two things to remember: The yellow squeeze bottle is mayo, not mustard Costa Rican ketchup is much sweeter than the U.S. version. Homemade chilera is common, as is Tabasco sauce. Chilero (hot sauce) is often available as well. Salsa Lizano is a ubiquitous table sauce that is made from “natural spices and vegetables” according to a secret family recipe. Lizano is a little sweet and sometimes compared to Worcestershire. You may have to request salt or pepper.
Costa Rica may never have the reputation for its small dishes that Spain does for tapas, but it’s time for Tico bocas to step out of the shadows and let the world know how good they really are.
Costa Rica Fish Tacos
Nothing says tropical like fish tacos. With cilantro sauce no doubt. And now my husband touts a great skill of homemade tortillas, so we combined efforts and out came Costa Rican fish tacos. The one thing that we definitely agree on is more more more cilantro. So, in the following recipe, you’ll see that there is no shying away from our favorite herb. You can also check out Frugal Antics, who is also on the cheap food mission with their interpretation of similar homemade corn tortillas.
(Serves 2, but easy to double or triple)
1/4 C. Mayonnaise
1/8 C. finely chopped fresh cilantro
1 tsp powdered cayenne pepper
a liberal amount of fresh ground black pepper
Mix ingredients in a small bowl until well blended. Cover and refrigerate until serving.
2 C. finely sliced green cabbage
2 Tbl coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
1 Tbl honey
1 Tbl olive oil
juice from half a lime
Toss cabbage in a medium-sized bowl with cilantro, honey, olive oil and lime juice just before serving.
2 C. Maseca (corn flour)
1 C. Warm water
1 Tsp salt (to taste)
1) Mix all ingredients adding more water or flour as needed until the dough doesn’t stick to your hands. Make a golf-ball sized dough ball and using a tortilla press, flatten into a 7″ corn tortilla and repeat until the dough is all used.
2) Place a dry skillet on medium-low heat and another dry skillet on medium-high heat. Start the tortilla in the medium-low skillet for 1-2 minutes and flip into the medium-high skillet for 1-2 more minutes and briefly flip one more time in the medium-high skillet until fully cooked but not crisp.
1 large tilapia filet
1/4 C. soy oil
1/8 C. flour
2 Tbl soymilk (or regular)
1) Slice the fresh (thawed) fish filet into 1″ pieces and coat with flour.
2) Break egg and wisk into a wide, shallow bowl. Dip fish pieces into egg and coat with bread crumbs.
3) Heat oil in a skillet on medium-high heat and fry battered fish pieces for 2-3 minutes turning frequently or until cooked through.
1) Spread a spoonful of cilantro sauce onto a corn tortilla
2) Place 3-4 pieces of fish in the center of the tortilla
3) Cover with citrus slaw and enjoy!
Ticos and Tica - the Culture & Food of Costa Rica
Costa Rica’s name, “Rich Coast” was coined by Columbus when he stopped near present-day Limon and saw the indigenous people wearing “golden mirrors around their necks.” As a destination, Costa Rica is rich in cultural and eco-tourism wildlife experiences with the added allure of the beautiful beaches of the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea. Best of all, Costa Rica is only a few short hours away from the East Coast by air. The time difference is only one hour making a visit here a breeze!
The Switzerland of the Americas
Costa Rica’s culture was influenced by the Spanish settlers that built their lives in the Central Valley, and today, this area has a rich agricultural heritage. Farmers and ranchers still play an important role in Costa Rica’s national identity and no festival in the country takes place without a nod to the cowboy culture. This culture is ubiquitous to Costa Rica - and, the “Ticos” are proud of this heritage.
After World War II Costa Rica abolished their army and recruited many teachers and forest rangers they invested in their country and it has paid off. Today, Costa Rica has a literacy rate of 97%, the lowest infant mortality rate in Latin America, and is second to Cuba in preserving its landscape. This small country that is about the size of West Virginia conserves more than 26% of its verdant landscape by law. Costa Rica has not been involved in civil turmoil like its neighbors and has enjoyed peaceful elections since 1948. Noted for its’ peaceful mission, President Sanchez of Costa Rica was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1987. Today, the country serves as the seat for the United Nations University of Peace which has given the country the moniker “Switzerland of the Americas.”
One of the first things I learned during my first visit to Costa Rica is that they are proud of calling themselves Ticos and Ticas. It is important to understand what this word means to the warm people of this Central American country.
Women are referred to as Ticas, men refer to themselves as Ticos, and the general population is called Tico. When visiting you will hear the word Tico every day because it is added as a diminutive to the end of many words. In general when Tico is added to a word it may refer to smallness, and can also imply affection or fondness. The term Tico is not sarcastic, racial or negative, as the Tico Times noted: ” Tico is an endearing term, free of sarcasm and prejudice of racial slurs, and it’s what they call themselves.”
Another term that visitors should be familiar with is Pura Vida, a special slang term that translates to “pure life,” and, loosely translates into “enjoy life.” In Costa Rica, the phrase Pura Vida is used interchangeably with “what’s up”, “take care,” “goodbye,” and other greetings. The word “mae” is also a common slang word meaning “bro.” So, pura vida, mae is standard slang! Costa Rica is known for its lush forests, beautiful beaches, rainforests, wildlife and its laid back lifestyle that is defined by its national motto, Pura Vida!
For me, eating is a way to relate to the culture and is one of the perks of traveling. I love to taste something new and different. In general, the food of Costa Rica is fairly mild and uses locally grown fresh fruits and vegetables that grow here in abundance, with rice and black beans being a staple.
To experience the Tico culture, don’t miss out on the national dish, Gallo Pinto. The origin of this dish points to the tiny town of San Sebastian where a local resident, Don Bernabe was saving his prized spotted hen for the town’s Christmas celebrations. As people from the town heard of this prized hen, they descended on Bernabe’s house eager to try the spotted hen. To accommodate the crowd, Bernabe fried up large amounts of white rice and black beans that had the appearance of being spotted so that everyone had something to eat.
Today, Gallo Pinto consists of rice and beans stir-fried together and paired with red bell peppers, cilantro, onions, and Salsa Lizano. When all these ingredients are stirred together, the rice takes on a speckled appearance which is how this dish got its name which means, “speckled rooster.” It is often eaten for breakfast I found it to be hearty and delicious.
Salsa Lizano is a Costa Rican condiment developed in 1920 by the Lizano Company and is often used with Gallo Pinto and tamales. It is the Costa Rican equivalent of HP or Worcestershire sauce and has a slightly sweet and acidic flavor with a hint of spiciness.
Another traditional must-try dish is called “casado,” which means “marriage.” In a sense when your plate arrives this dish successfully marries the flavors of rice, beans, picadillo, salad, tortillas, fried plantains, and, either pork, beef, fish, or chicken. Whatever you choose you will fall in love with this dish that varies from region to region.
Don’t miss out on the tamals of Costa Rica. They are unusual because Costa Rican tamals are wrapped in banana leaves in Mexican and Tex Mex cuisine they are usually wrapped in cornhusks. I think that the Costa Rican tamals are a milder version of the spicier Mexican and Tex-Mex tamal… it is a delicious change of pace and something not to be missed.
If you love fruit, Costa Rica doesn’t disappoint, it has a number of unique tropical fruits such as cas fruit found almost exclusively here. This small green fruit is known as the Costa Rican sour guava. It is a natural juice staple and a favorite for drinks and jams. Cas fruit is like a mix between a lemon and white grapefruit and with a little sugar added, it is surprisingly refreshing on a hot afternoon. Cas is rich in antioxidants and has health benefits similar to blueberries.
If you like chocolate, break open a yellow cacao pod to find out what chocolate tastes like before processing. The tender white flesh encasing the cacao beans (that are used to make cocoa powder) are tangy and sweet at the same time and will give you a new perspective on chocolate! As you travel through the small towns of this pristine country, keep your eyes peeled for roadside stands or markets selling homemade cocoa butter, it is divine!
Sometimes, nothing quenches your thirst on a hot day like a beer. Imperial is the most commonly served beer in Costa Rica that has been produced since 1924. It is a pale, light lager that can be compared to Coors because it is not bitter and has mild malts and modest alcohol content of 4.6%. The beer is golden in color and a perfect thirst quencher on a hot day. Another popular beer, Phisen, can be identified by its’ red and white label that has been around since 1888. It is the second most popular beer served here. Like Imperial, it is a light lager but it has a fuller body and is a little heavier.
Check out Tours of Distinction’s The Flavors of Costa Rica that is ideal for exploring the diverse and rich culture, heritage, and beauty of this country that is so close by.
Can I make this in a Dutch oven? &ndash Yes! I haven&rsquot fully embraced the Dutch oven yet, although I want to try making my pork carnitas in there when I get one someday. I would just place in cooking liquid and bake at 425 for one hour.
What&rsquos the best way to reheat this recipe? &ndash I usually reserve about 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid. Then I place the shredded meat in a saucepan, add the cooking liquid and heat, covered, on medium-low until hot. I stir it occasionally so the meat doesn&rsquot burn to the bottom of the pan.
Our most popular Costa Rican recipes:
Costa Rican-Style Tacos for Retirees
One of the most enjoyable activities for retirees living in Costa Rica is savoring the variety of local foods.
Tacos are without a doubt the most popular Mexican dish worldwide. Many countries like Costa Rica have adopted this food as part of their cuisine but have their own local variety.
According to one expert in Mexican cooking, tacos were invented by someone looking to make life easier —a dish that was prepared quickly and served without a lot of trouble. However, the taco really predates the arrival of Europeans in Mexico. There is anthropological evidence that the indigenous people living in the lake region of the Valley of Mexico traditionally ate tacos filled with small fish.
The first taquerías began to appear in San José, Costa Rica during the 1950s and 1960s as a result of the spread of Mexican culture through music, the theater and television. In case you don’t know, a taquería is a Mexican restaurant that specializes in tacos as its name indicates. Other Mexican dishes like burritos are also served at these establishments.
In time las taqueriás become part of the local cuisine, but eventually the classic taco came to be referred to as a gallo. Basically, a gallo is a folded tortilla with any ingredient inside. In the 1970s in the working-class neighborhoods of San José the typical folded taco evolved into the famous version called a Taco Tico. The big difference between the local version and the folded Mexican version is in the preparation of the tortilla that is fried in hot oil, browned and rolled up like a tube with almost any ingredient inside. The end product is similar to a Mexican dish called a flauta.
Tomato sauce, share added lettuce, mayonnaise, spicy tabasco sauce, mustard, natilla (a type of sour cream) or salsa inglesa (similar to Worcestershire Sauce) are usually served with these Costa Rican-style tacos. The versatility of this dish is unlimited since just about any type of meat, chicken or cheese can be stuffed inside of the rolled tortilla.
Here is an easy recipe for Tacos Ticos (Costa Rican Tacos). More can be found on line.
- .5 kilo cooked and shredded beef
- 20 corn tortillas
- 2 cups of shredded cabbage
- 2-3 tomatoes, cut in cubes
- fresh coriander, finely chopped
- half cup of grated cheese
- Tabasco sauce
- 1/2 cup ketchup
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 1 teaspoon mustard
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1/2 tablespoon Worcester Sauce
Blend all the sauce ingredients together first. Then fill each tortilla with meat, roll half way and hold it with a toothpick. Fry in oil until golden and drain in paper towels. Top with the tomato cubes, cabbage, cheese and the sauce. Tabasco sauce if you like it hot.
Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 20 minutes
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Gallo Pinto (beans and rice) Recipe
1 lb (450 gr.) Black beans. Fresh are best but most likely you’ll find them dried.
8-10 sprigs cilantro (coriander leaf) fresh or frozen, not dried!
1 small or medium onion
½ small red or yellow sweet pepper (optional)
3 cups (700 ml) chicken broth or water
2 cups (350 ml) white rice
½ teaspoon (2.5 ml) salt
1 Tablespoon (15 ml) vegetable oil
1-3 Tablespoon oil to fry the Gallo Pinto
Gallo Pinto-Cook the beans, cook the rice
If beans are dried, cover with water and soak overnight, if they are “fresh” (still dried, but only from laying out in the sun like they do in Costa Rica), just rise them off. Drain the beans and add fresh water to an inch (2.5-cm) above the top of the beans and bring to a boil. Cover the pan and reduce heat to very low simmer until beans are soft (
Chop cilantro, onion, and sweet pepper very fine.
Add 1 Tablespoon oil to a large pan and sauté the dry rice for 2 minutes over medium high flame then add half of the chopped onion, sweet pepper and cilantro and sauté another 2 minutes. Add water or chicken broth, bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat to simmer until rice is tender (20-35 minutes). This is also the recipe for Tico rice used in other favorites like tamales.
Once the rice and beans are cooked you can refrigerate or freeze them. Make up small batches of Gallo Pinto when you want it by simply sautéing them together.
Gallo Pinto-Cook them together
Keep a significant amount of the “black water” with the beans (½-1 cup 120-240 ml). This is what gives the rice its color and some of its flavor. Sauté the rice, beans reserved chopped onion, sweet pepper and cilantro together in vegetable oil for a few minutes. Sprinkle with a little fresh chopped cilantro just before serving.
Gallo Pinto con huevos fritos
In Guanacaste they sometimes use small very hot red peppers instead of or in addition to the sweet. Some people add a tablespoon or so of salsa Lizano or Chilera to the beans while they’re cooking. Our friend Mercedes always simmered the beans very slowly all-day and preheated the water or chicken broth for the rice.
The Amazing “Tico” Food
In our gastronomy, cultural influences such as the aboriginal, European, and African are characterized as heterogeneous since they join the flavors of many countries of the world. Different continents including Europe, Africa, South America, Asia, and even countries of Central America of which we are part, as well as Jamaica, Cuba, and even the United States, set the “table” to enjoy delicious food.
We are a biological and cultural bridge of the north and the south of America. Thanks to our flora and fauna, we have produced a great amount of food, especially seafood, since our coasts are bathed by 2 oceans. It should also be noted that both indigenous and conquerors created all of our dishes which are liked in every nation of America. Not in vain, we produce a lot of vegetables, cocoa, beans, seeds, among other food products.
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Our culinary history
Spices and dressings. These condiments come from China and the Caribbean, whereas others, which come from British cuisine, marked the first steps to our evolution at the gastronomic level.
In 1960, the opening of the first supermarkets in the central valley began by promoting t h e import of products and different types of ingredients. Today, this has influenced the globalization of our food. Believe it or not, our food seafood in the rest of the world.
Casado – Costa Rican typical dish
In fact, Costa Ricans continue inventing new dishes that over time become traditional. Such is the case of the well-known “chifrijo”, which is prepared by making the combination of pork rinds with beans, rice, cassava, tomato, and lemon. This variation makes it be one of our people’s favorite dishes.
Traditional dishes on our coasts
We have coasts in the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean, so we have gastronomy based on fish and shellfish. Among the species of fish that we use the most are tuna, croaker, cod, mackerel sardine, among others. Also, in the Gulf of Nicoya, large amounts of crustaceans and mollusks are caught. Consumption of shrimps, squid, clams, oysters, and a large variety of fish stands out.
Also, the popular “ceviche” is made of corvines or shrimp cooked in lemon juice, onion, and coriander. Other dishes, like tuna, rice with garlic or butter, paella, grilled lobster, breaded fish, and the Caribbean squid are usually cooked with coconut milk and seasoned with the Panamanian chili.
Our traditional condiments
In our cuisine, we use aromatic herbs and spices, as well as those of our own, which are brought from different parts of the world. The best known are the coriander with American variant, garlic, achiote, cumin, coyote coriander, and a variety of hot peppers. It should be noted that ginger, nutmeg, pepper, celery, vanilla, mint, thyme, saffron, and curry are used to make a fusion of our dishes.
Our food production
Thanks to our geographical position, and the diversity of soils, this country produces a large amount of fruits, vegetables, and tubers.
A good amount of tubers such as yucca, arracache, yam, are cultivated. It gives us the possibility of creating various dishes, including ours zuchini, zapalla, eggplant, among others. We highlight the “chile relleno”, which is prepared on a sweet chili base, and it is filled with ground meat.
Our “Gallo Pinto”
It is one of the most important typical dishes of our country. This is also known as “Pinto” or “Patrulla” (patrol). Its beginning is tracked down to the colonial era so it is considered as a dish 100% mestizo. It is also one of the most traditional dishes made with rice and beans, complemented with the flavors of onion and sweet pepper. This also has great variations in its ingredients depending on the region it can be served greasy, toasted, and even with coconut milk and habanero pepper.
Usually, it is part of the Costa Rican breakfast, although it can be served at any time of the day. It is also accompanied with cheese, sausage, custard, corn cream, among others, and can be seasoned with Lizano sauce. This dish is consumed throughout the country, constituting 34% of our daily protein requirements. Additionally, it is considered our “flag” dish.
“Gallo Pinto” and its health benefits
It is one of the most well-known and common dishes in our kitchen, at the same time it is one of those found on the menu of any restaurant. In the family menu is the first option. It is mostly consumed at lunch. Its preparation consists of boiled rice, preferably white one, although it is also prepared with brown rice, garlic, onion, and peppers. There is some variation in the dish, being accompanied with red and black beans, any type of salad, mincemeat, beef, chicken, fish or a substitute, for which ground meat is not consumed.
McTico? How US fast food caters to Costa Rica
When you have more than 14,000 restaurants in 116 countries, you must accept a difficult truth: Not everybody eats the same thing. Some abhor beef, others abstain from bacon, and some would even forfeit the bun. McDonald’s may sling Big Macs everywhere, but they also have to appeal to local taste buds and traditions.
There’s nothing more ’Merican than fast food, but tourists often find U.S. chains in Costa Rica a little odd. Many familiar joints like Pizza Hut and Burger King are gigantic and immaculately clean the décor can be downright Space Age. The service is frequently fast and professional (read: less eye rolling from high school dropouts). Meanwhile, the menus may include some local flavor – or, you know, a global corporation’s idea of local flavor.
Thanks to the controversial Dominican Republic-Central America Free Trade Agreement (DR-CAFTA), fast food exploded in Costa Rica in recent years. (McDonald’s alone has over 50 restaurants in the country, from San José to Liberia). How do you translate U.S. junk food for local palates? Here are some attempts:
It seems that someone at Yum! Brands discovered the casado – Costa Rica’s signature mix of greens, rice, beans, and a meaty entrée. Over at KFC (née Kentucky Fried Chicken), you can find a hospital-tray version of casado, complete with plantains. You would think a Southern Colonel would conjure bad memories in Central America, but that doesn’t stop his statue from relaxing on Paseo Colón.
The sad truth is that most norteamericanos can’t tell the difference between Mexico and the rest of Latin America, and even culturally sensitive visitors may assume Tico cuisine means tacos and fajitas. Tex-Mex giant Taco Bell makes a halfhearted effort with its gallo pinto breakfast.
The McDonald’s breakfast is remarkably thought-out: you can find two fried eggs, gallo pinto and a pair of tortillas in almost any soda in Costa Rica, roughly like the one pictured. Making such a breakfast isn’t rocket science, but it’s about as authentic as a fast-food colossus can get. Not surprisingly, the Burger King version is practically identical. Missing: fruit picked from a neighbor’s mango tree.
You will have to decide how you feel about the “Tico.” On the one hand, Quiznos has included two Costa Rican staples, beans and Salsa Lizano. Carnivores will love the shredded beef and outlandishly low price. On the other hand, if a foreign company showed up in Oklahoma, threw some BBQ sauce on some meat and called it “The Okie,” would locals love it? Discuss.