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.

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 the 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.

Costa Rican food is simply delicious.
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.

Gallo Pinto is one of the most traditional dishes served as breakfast in Costa Rica.
Gallo Pinto

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.