The cuisine of Costa Rica tends to be mild and is based around fruits and vegetable. Rice and black beans are the staples of the diet and are served up three times a day. With the country being a major tourist destination, all nationalities of food can be found especially in the cities.
Rondon soup is a Caribbean dish that is eaten in the country. It consists of a basic spicy coconut soup and then the ingredients will depend on whatever the cook had available. It is a typical dish for the locals who lived on the coastline as whatever had been caught in the water would be added to the soup. It also includes tubers like sweet potato and yucca. The soup is left simmering over a fire for hours with the dish completed with the addition of Panamanian chilies.
Fish is popular in the country as a result of its two coastlines. Ceviche Tico is when a fish such as sea bass is cut into tiny cubes. It is then mixed with diced red onion, cilantro and red pepper. The addition of citrus juice results in the acid from the juice cooks the fish and the dish are often served with fried plantains.
The Pargo Rojo is similar to the Red Snapper and is the most common fish in the country. It can either be fried or grilled and being a mild fish, it does need to be seasoned before being eaten. The Pargo Rojo is often accompanied by the county’s favourite dish the Gallo Pinto. Gallo Pinto is a mixture of rice and black beans. It is fried and can be served for breakfast where it is accompanied by eggs, sour cream and cheese. The secret of the dish is the seasoning with the addition of red pepper onion and Salsa Lizano.
Casado can be found in most small restaurants. This is a mixture of small dishes with the major part of the plate being the meat such as grilled chicken or pork chop. The accompaniments include white rice, savoury black beans, a vegetable side dish, plus sautéed onions. Traditionally working men would take this meal for their lunch wrapped in banana leaves.
The most popular dish in the capital city, San Jose is Chifrijo. This is layered fried crispy pork with rice, beans and Pico De Gallo. It is served with tortilla chips and is served in many bars. Fruits are found in abundance in the country and play a major part in the local people’s diets. The Cacao Fresco look like yellow footballs and when eaten gives a sweet, tangy and “chocolatey” taste. When it is ground down and roasted it produces cocoa powder.
These Cacoa plantations provide tours for visitors who can learn about the role that chocolate has played in Costa Rica’s history. On roadsides small stalls sell locally produced cocoa butter. There is an abundance of tropical fruits within the country. The banana and the pineapple are the best-selling fruits that are exported abroad, yet there are a number of other fruits that are consumed on a daily basis by the local population. Mangos, guava and the cashew fruit are all part of the Costa Ricans staple diet. With the climate being ideal for the growing and ripening of various fruits the eating of fruit consists of high percentage of consuming locally grown produce.
The Costa Rican population has a wide and varied cuisine. In a country of such lush vegetation and ideal climatic conditions it is not surprising that the availability of food is not a problem. The country has taken advantage of these factors to produce a healthy and delicious cuisine.