5 Classics of Costa Rican Cookery


While  you’re luxuriating on the beaches of this wonderful Central American country, eco/adventuring in its rainforests, or sampling the culture and nightlife of capital San José, you’ll have plenty of chances to tuck into some tasty Tico treats morning, noon, and nighttime, too.  And here´s a heart quintet to watch for:

Gallo Pinto, a Breakfast Staple

“Spotted rooster” (top) is a tasty mixture of rice and beans flavored variously with onions, peppers, herbs, and spices, and can be accompanies by sides such as eggs, avocado, and sweet fried bananas. And along the Caribbean coast you might see a slight variation involving coconut milk and hot peppers.



Casado, a Lunchtime Favourite

This hearty platter bears the named “married” because it weds a protein – beef, chicken, fish, or pork, prepared in various ways except for fried – with rice, beans, sweet fried banana, and some kind of greens, either a vegetable or a salad (lettuce or pasta). Lunch is traditionally Ticos´ biggest meal of the day, and the casado does a bang-up job of getting them fed and through the rest of the day.



, Especially Around Christmastime

The tamal is a wedge of banana-leaf-wrapped, steamed or boiled cornmeal– a pre-Columbian legacy shared with Mexico and other Mesoamerican countries which have different variations – stuffed with braised or stewed chicken or pork along with rice, carrots, and sweet peppers. It´s ubiquitous during the holiday season from November to January,




The Local Take on Ceviche

Though most associated with Peru, this tangy, iconic mix of raw seafood cured in lemon or lime juice is popular in various Latin American countries with Pacific coasts, and Costa Rica is no exception. Here it´s centred around white fish – for example croaker, sea bass, mahi-mahi, tilapia, or marlin – and seasoned with ground black pepper, onions, cilantro, and minced sweet chili peppers. It, too, is especially popular during Yuletide and the end of the year.




And for a Sweet Finish, a Chilly Churchill!

Originating in the Pacific-coast city of Puntarenas in the 1940s, this is a kind of snow cone in a cup or dish, in which the shaved ice is tarted up with chunks of fruit, condensed milk, kola syrup, and sometimes ice cream.And that curious name? Apparently the bloke who came up with it looked a fair bit like Sir Winston (who of course was still around back then)!