The “gallo pinto” from Costa Rica stands out in the top 20 of the best dishes in the world prepared with beans. This is a list prepared by the international culinary travel guide Taste Atlas.The typical national dish – also rooted among Nicaraguans – is ranked 19th and this is what Taste Atlas says in its most recent update:
“Gallo pinto is the traditional national dish of Costa Rica and Nicaragua. Although there are many variations of the dish, in its most basic form it is a mixture of cooked and fried rice and beans, combined with herbs and vegetables such as cilantro, peppers, celery and onions.
“The name of the dish means spotted rooster, in reference to the fact that the combination of beans and rice gives it a speckled appearance. It is usually served as a side dish for breakfast (along with eggs or meat), lunch or dinner, and sometimes with all three meals of the day.
Preparation in different regions
In Costa Rica, this dish is also usually prepared with sweet chili and onion, and there are those who add Worcestershire sauce.The “Recetas de Costa Rica” website expands on the different ways of preparing gallo pinto.
“In the Central Valley the main characteristic of the gallo pinto is that it acquires a more humid and less greasy character. It is seasoned mainly with onion, cilantro and chili, which gives it a particularly spicy flavor.
“On the contrary, in the Guanacaste region, the gallo pinto has the uniqueness of being more toasted and fatty. This is due to the greater amount of butter that is added.
There garlic and onion are usually added, but the use of cilantro is ruled out. In some places in this region, it is very common that before using the rice for cooking, they let it dry in the sun for a while, as the Spanish did in ancient times to prepare rice in a casserole.
The other region where they specialize in cooking ‘gallo pinto’ with a very own identity is on the Caribbean coast, exactly in the province of Limón. Here the touch of distinction is provided by the addition of coconut milk and habanero chili – or Panamanian chili.
But, in addition, Taste Atlas highlights the five best places in Costa Rica to eat a good “gallo pinto”:
These are sodas that are recommended by, among others, the Lonely Planet travel guide and travelers. One detail is that two of the five sites are located on a beach in Puntarenas.
La Naranja in Montezuma
Víquez in thetown of Tabacón de La Fortuna
Mima in La Fortuna de San Carlos
Tapia in San José
Montesol in Montezuma