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Food, Food, and More Food in Costa Rica!

In Costa Rica, food signifies so much more than a meal to satisfy hunger – it’s about love and care between people, a way to communicate emotion. When someone offers you food, it is seen as disrespectful to refuse it, and leaving food on your plate is considered impolite. During meals, people make space to talk and share stories, and time doesn’t seem to matter when engaging in conversation over food. One of my favorite dishes in Costa Rica is gallo pinto, a typical breakfast consisting of rice and beans, often served with a side of tortilla, eggs, and natilla (a type of cream cheese). Many families serve gallo pinto every morning, in part because it’s easy to make with leftover food and also because it’s a favorite meal for many. “Casado” is another popular and delicious meal comprising of tortilla, cheese, beans, a form of meat (pollo, carne, or pescado), salad, and platanos maduros (pan-fried ripe plantains). This dish can be found at most restaurants/cafes and is usually quite cheap, costing about 3,000 colones (less than $6). Depending on where you are in the country, popular dishes change as well; on the Caribbean coast near Limón, “rice and beans” is a well-known dish made with coconut milk, and it’s a must-try if one is ever in that area. Whenever and wherever you travel, I recommend trying as much of a variety of food as possible and always keeping an open mind, because you never know what might become your new favorite meal!

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